Wingdams are often common in big rivers to funnel the current towards the river channel to keep it deep for barge traffic.
They are rock structures that can protrude from the surface, or be a couple of feet below the surface.Wingdams that hold walleyes typically have a moderate current and clean rock. If a wingdam has too strong of a current, then it will be difficult to fish and the walleyes won't stick around it. Look for walleyes near wingdams when water conditions are either normal or low. If water conditions are too high, they may be dangerous to fish, or very hard to work. Most wingdam fishing occurs in the fall, because water levels are typically lower that time of year.
Wingdam current is slowest on the shore end and fastest along its channel end, either end could hold active fish, but they usually stick with an area where the current is to their liking. Usually this is on the upstream edge of the wingdam in the small eddy that is formed. If the walleyes are actively feeding, they could also be right on top of the structure.
It is possible to work the wingdams in a number of ways. Start with a 3-way rig composed of a 2 ounce-pencil weight on a 12" inch 12-lb. test dropper coupled with a minnowbait on a four-foot leader. Troll parallel to the upper lip of the wingdam, and make slight S-curves with your motor. This will help you pinpoint how far away the fish are from the structure. If you hook a fish, keep a mental note of how close it was to the wingdam, for future reference.
Once you have the fish closed in on the structure, you can use a presentation to get closer to the fish. Pitch jigs with curlytails to where you had success earlier. Or, if you didn't hook up with any walleyes before try this approach: pitch jigs to the top of the structure and slowly hop the jig all the way to the bottom of the wingdam. For boat control, you can either anchor upstream, or keep yourself near the structure with your trolling motor.
When selecting a jig for this method, make sure that you can feel the bottom with every short hop. If you cannot, then you will need a heavier jig. Most fish will hit when the jig is on the upper portion of the wingdam, and if you feel a tap, set the hook immediately.
If you happen to get snagged, there is an effective way to loosen your jig. Let out line so the current takes it downstream forming a large ‘U." When you have let a good amount of line, jerk your rod sharply, the pressure of the current pushing downstream helps pull your jig in the opposite direction of you, and should come free most of the time.
-Walleyes usually rest on the flat bottom above a wingdam. They move into the eddy on the front slope of the wingdam or right on top of the wingdam to feed. Walleyes in the downstream eddy are rarely active, and harder to reach.
-Current speed varies over the length of a wingdam. As a rule, the current is slower near shore and fastest at the channel end of the wingdam. The fish position themselves where the current is just right.
-Angle your casts downstream when fishing on a wingdam or along a riprap shoreline. Should you get snagged, feed line until a 10- to 20-foot belly forms downstream of your lure.
-Close your bail, let the current pull your line tight and then give a sharp jerk with your rod. This exerts a downstream pull that usually frees the bait.