Fishing the flats is very popular for catching walleye. Most bass anglers think of the flats as very shallow water, but the walleye fishing community will fish a flat in 5, 10 or even 20 feet of water. A flat is a large stretch of water with very minimal contour changes.
Shallow Flats Can Be Great in the Spring
Shallow water flats are great for catching walleye during low-light conditions. In clearer water, walleye may only visit the flats very early in the morning, late in the evening and at night. In murky water, walleye will move onto these flats during the same times, but they will stay there longer in the morning and come back onto the flats earlier in the evening. In the spring, you can often find a lot of bait fish on the flats as they move into the shallows for the warmer water temperature. Fish these flats during peak feeding times and you may catch some nice fish.
The Mud Flats Are Good in the Summer
The mud flats are great for walleye fishing during the summer because insets will hatch in the mud. Most people know about the mayflies and how difficult the fishing can be when the mayfly hatch is in full effect. The fish are actually feeding like crazy during the hatch while the nymph swims to the surface before emerging as a mayfly. Some fish gorge on them at the surface, however, walleye will be feeding on the nymph as it rises from the mud. Anglers will troll these mud flats to try and find active fish. Some anglers report a much better bite on worms and leeches during this time of year. The hatch may be in June on some bodies of water and as late as July on others. Some anglers choose to not fish during the mayfly hatch because fishing is tough, while others choose to troll the mud flats to catch their fish.
Deep Water Flats
Deep water flats can also be very good. Some will have mud, so you have the mayfly hatch to attract walleyes to these areas. Some flats will have some weeds or rock on them. On popular lakes, you will know if there is a good bite going on because you will see dozens of boats trolling and drifting these flats in the evenings. The deep flats will not always be productive. In deeper water, the drop-offs and reefs are usually better places to fish, but sometimes the flats offer something that the walleye like. If there are bait fish there, walleye will follow.