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How to Catch Walleye | Best Walleye Fishing Tips

Fishing for walleye may be a fun and fulfilling outdoor hobby. To catch walleye successfully, you need to understand how they behave and use the right methods. This article will share some great tips for walleye fishing to boost your chances of a successful trip and make the most of your time by the water.

The following information will assist you in learning the tricks of reeling in these treasured fish, regardless of whether you’re a weekend warrior or a serious angler. From choosing the right gear to deciphering their preferred habitats and feeding patterns, we’ll cover it all. So, grab your tackle box, prepare your bait, and get ready to embark on an exciting journey to become a proficient walleye angler.

Understanding Walleye | What is a Walleye Fish

Let’s learn a little bit about our elusive target, the walleye, before diving into the tips and tactics of walleye fishing. Walleye, scientifically known as Sander vitreus, are highly sought-after freshwater fish in the United States, prized for their distinctive eyes and challenging behavior. They prefer cooler waters and can grow impressively large.

When viewing a walleye, you’ll notice that in some lighting conditions, their eyes appear rather milky. This trait relates to the walleye’s superior vision in low light. Walleye are swimming around with the evolutionary equivalent of night vision goggles as yellow perch struggle to see as dusk falls. Walleye naturally makes use of this trait by actively hunting at night and in poor light.

One key to successful walleye fishing is their preference for low-light conditions. Dusk, midnight to dawn, and overcast days are prime feeding times for walleye due to their excellent night vision.

Walleyes come in different sizes, but they usually measure between 12 to 18 inches (30 to 46 centimeters). Yet, some can get much bigger, with certain walleye reaching over 30 inches (76 centimeters) in length and weighing several pounds.

Walleye is a sought-after catch for both recreational and commercial anglers in North America due to its combination of sports value and delectable meat. They are frequently prepared in different culinary ways, such as frying, grilling, or baking, and eaten as a result.

Best Times to Fish For Walleye

Fishing for walleye can be a fun activity, but being aware of the ideal moments to go after these elusive fish can greatly increase your chances of success. Understanding walleye behavior is essential because of their nighttime eating patterns and sensitivity to light levels. For the optimal times to fish for walleye, keep in mind the following:

For aspiring walleye anglers, timing is critical. Low-light conditions, whether cloudy days, dusk, dawn, or nighttime, are favored by walleye. Starting your fishing adventures during these periods increases your chances of success.

Dawn and Dusk:

Dawn and dusk, commonly referred to as the “magic hours,” are good times to catch Walleye. During these low-light periods, Walleye become more active and venture out from their hiding areas to look for prey. Early dawn and late evening are when their superior night vision provides an edge.

Cloudy Days:

Days that are cloudy or overcast are ideal for walleye fishing. They feel safer and are more likely to travel in quest of food when there is diffused light. On the other hand, intense sunshine may push them towards more shady regions.

Night Time:

Many seasoned Walleye fishermen favor night fishing. Since they are true nocturnal predators, walleye are most active just after dusk and just before dawn. To draw them out in the dark, use flashlights or specialized fishing gear with luminous lures.

Seasonal Changes:

Seasonal ChangesAdditionally, the time of year has a big impact. For walleye fishing, spring and fall are generally regarded as the ideal times. Walleye come to shallow waters in the spring to spawn, making them more approachable. They are busy feeding in the fall to get ready for the winter.

Underwater Structures:

Focus your efforts on underwater structures like rocky points, drop-offs, weed beds, and submerged logs. Walleye often use these structures as ambush points to prey on smaller fish.

Always keep in mind that walleye behavior can change based on the particular body of water you’re fishing in and the surrounding circumstances. It’s crucial to modify your strategy and tactics as necessary. A successful and fun fishing trip can be had by developing your abilities and learning the ideal times to fish for walleye.

Where to Find Walleye

Finding Walleye can be a rewarding challenge, as they tend to inhabit specific types of aquatic environments.  They can be found in reservoirs, far-flung back lakes, the vast Great Lakes, and even little streams and large rivers.

To increase your chances of locating Walleye, here are some common places where you can find them:

Understanding walleye behavior is essential because they are benthopelagic, using deep and shallow waters strategically. During daylight, they stay in deeper areas, while at night, they move to shallower regions to feed efficiently.

Therefore, there are certainly a ton of amazing walleye fishing hotspots nearby if there are walleye swimming in some of the waterbodies in your area.

Knowing their preferred habitats and the topographic features they tend to favor is key to a successful fishing trip.

Recognize the seasonal patterns.

One of the finest things you can do to improve as a walleye angler is to get knowledgeable about this species’ annual cycles and utilize that information to locate them on a particular lake, river, or reservoir. Here are some broad, high-level highlights.

Early in the spring, walleye lay their eggs on stony, shallow reefs and gravel shoals. They then remain at these locations to rest and take advantage of the plentiful feed available in the shallows at this time of year. In the summer, walleye are frequently seen following and eating on schools of baitfish while suspended in open water or positioned close to deeper structures.

How to Catch Walleye

Walleye fishing offers year-round excitement with opportunities in various environments, from lakes and rivers to reservoirs. Techniques like jigging, casting, and trolling can be effective with both live bait and artificial lures.

Bait Fishing for Walleye:

Bait fishing for walleye is a popular and effective method, enjoyed by both beginners and seasoned anglers. Minnows, nightcrawlers, and leeches are commonly used as live bait for walleye. But remember, using live fish as bait may not be allowed in all areas.

Many walleye fishermen choose live bait fishing because it often produces results in all conditions.

Select the Right Bait:

Minnows:

Live minnows are a classic and effective bait for Walleye. They should be hooked through the lips or just behind the dorsal fin to allow them to swim naturally.

Minnows perform best in the spring and fall when walleye are most active and likely to pursue a lively bait. The most fruitful minnows in the 3- to 5-inch size range include shiners, fathead minnows, and chubs. Minnows can be rigged on a worm harness rig, jigged, or fished beneath a slip bobber.

Nightcrawlers:

Nightcrawlers or earthworms are readily available and work well for Walleye. Thread them onto a hook, leaving some of the worms dangling to create enticing movement.

Even while nightcrawlers can lure walleye at any time of year, most fishermen use them in the summer because that is when the fish are more reluctant to bite.

The most conventional worm harness rig used to catch nightcrawlers contains one or two hooks, a series of plastic beads, and one or two spinning blades for flash and vibration.

Leeches:

Another type of live bait that walleye fishermen like is leeches. To keep them active in the water, hook them through the thicker, sucker end.

The Midwest is where leeches are most common, and there they are caught similarly to nightcrawlers. Most anglers fasten them to a worm harness rig and slowly reel them in, either on or just above the water’s surface.

Make sure to check and adhere to local fishing regulations, including size and bag limits, as well as bait restrictions. Conservation measures are essential for preserving Walleye populations.

Remember that successful bait fishing often involves experimenting with different baits, rigs, and techniques until you find what works best for the specific Walleye population and conditions in the body of water you’re fishing.

Lure Fishing for Walleye

Many anglers find that walleye lure fishing is an enjoyable and popular form of fishing. The elusive and frequent nocturnal feeding habits of walleye can be successfully targeted with a variety of lures. An instruction manual for walleye lure fishing is provided below:

Some of the best lures for walleye fishing are crankbaits, jerk baits, and blade baits.

Crankbaits

Crankbaits typically have strong bodies and mimic minnows. Crankbaits are excellent for walleye and are often composed of plastic or wood. The lure’s bill aids in the lure’s attaining a specific depth.

Reaching walleye-holding water is made easier by using deep-diving crankbaits, which operate at a depth of at least ten feet. You can either cast or trot these lures.

Jerkbaits

Jerkbaits are similar to crankbaits but have a thinner shape. They are also known as stickbaits or plugs.

In a variety of settings, jerkbaits are excellent for catching walleye, and most fishermen find that retrieving them slowly and steadily yields the best results. For walleye, jerkbaits between 4 and 6 inches long work well.

Sometimes a nightcrawler or a minnow head is added to the tip of a blade bait.

Blade bait

Walleye frequently strikes at blade baits and spoons as well. They work well for deep-water fishing since they sink swiftly. Sometimes a nightcrawler or a minnow head is added to the tip of a blade bait.

Jig Fishing for Walleye

Jig fishing for walleye is a tried-and-true method that consistently produces results for anglers. Walleye are known for their preference for jigs, making this technique a go-to for many fishermen.

The majority of anglers concur that jigs are the most productive lure type when trying to catch walleye. A jig is just a hook with a weighted head fashioned onto it at its most basic. It may have a variety of jig body styles linked to it.

In many regions of the country, hair jigs are a tried-and-true method for catching walleye, but some people think they’re a touch out-of-date. Many would consider soft plastic jigs to be the best walleye bait because they are more contemporary and frequently used.

A 4-inch curly-tail jig with a 1/4-ounce jighead may catch walleye in almost any circumstance. Having said that, it’s always a good idea to keep a variety of sizes and types on hand so you can adjust your strategy based on what the fish appears to be seeking.

Trolling for Walleye

Trolling for walleye is a popular and effective fishing technique that involves slowly moving a boat through the water while trailing fishing lines baited with lures or live bait. This method allows anglers to cover a larger area, explore different depths, and target walleye in various conditions. Here’s a guide on how to troll for walleye:

Fishing that involves dragging one or more baits or lures behind your boat is called trolling. Since you can cover a lot of water quickly and with little effort, it is most frequently used as a means of finding fish.

Trolling can make use of almost any of the aforementioned baits and lures. Adding exactly the correct amount of weight to your line to keep your offering at a depth close to the bottom is frequently the key to success.

The tried-and-true technique that appears to work for walleye wherever in the nation is trolling live bait on a worm harness rig.

This rig can be modified to include a weighted wire arm that bounces on the bottom, keeping your bait slightly raised to avoid some snags and maintaining the bait close to the walleye. This variation is commonly referred fish as a bottom walker rig.

Walleye Tackle

Selecting the right tackle for walleye fishing is crucial for a successful angling experience. Walleye can be finicky and selective, so having the appropriate gear can make a significant difference. Here’s a guide to the essential tackle you’ll need:

For walleye fishing, you need generally to use slightly heavier tackle than you would for bass fishing. For versatile walleye fishing, a 6-foot-6-inch medium-weight spinning rod with rapid action, bending mostly in the top third, is a smart choice. Pair it with an 8-pound monofilament line for most scenarios, though a thicker line might be necessary in rocky areas.

 Hook sizes 4, 6, and 8 work well for live bait and keep a range of 1/8 to 1/2 ounce slip sinkers on hand. While not essential, some anglers use a wire leader to protect against walleye’s teeth and rough terrain, though it can make your line more visible, potentially deterring cautious walleye.

Best Walleye Fishing Tips

Walleye fishing can vary depending on the time of year, water temperature, and specific location, so it’s essential to adapt your techniques and strategies accordingly. By applying these tips and gaining experience on the water, you’ll increase your chances of landing more walleye and enjoying a fulfilling angling experience.

Walleye fishing can be both challenging and rewarding, and success often depends on using the right techniques and strategies. Here are some of the best walleye fishing tips to help you improve your chances of landing these elusive freshwater predators:

1. Understand Walleye Behavior:

Learning about walleye behavior is essential. They are often more active during dawn and dusk and tend to be bottom-dwellers. Understanding their feeding patterns and preferred habitats can help you locate them more effectively.

2. Focus on Structure:

Look for underwater structures like drop-offs, points, submerged rocks, and weed edges. These areas often attract walleye as they provide ambush points for prey.

3. Low-Light Fishing:

Walleye are known to feed actively during low-light periods. Early morning and late evening can be prime times to catch them. Fishing at night can produce fantastic results as well.

4. Use Scent and Attractants:

Applying scent attractants to your lures or bait can make them more enticing to walleye. Scented soft plastics or bait oils can be effective additions.

5. Master Hook Setting:

Walleye often have soft mouths, so a gentle but firm hookset is crucial to avoid losing fish. Pay attention to minute nibbles or shifts in the tension of the line.

6. Practice Catch and Release:

Consider practicing catch and release to help conserve walleye populations. Handle fish with care, use proper tools like fish grips, and release them quickly to minimize stress.

FAQs

Which time is best to catch walleye?

Dawn, dusk, and nighttime are the greatest times to catch walleye, while gloomy or overcast days can sometimes be productive.

Why are walleye so hard to catch ?

Walleye are selective and elusive targets for anglers because of their careful feeding pattern, sensitivity to light, and capacity to detect fishing lines and lures.

What is Walleye fishing?

Many anglers often partake in the recreational activity of pursuing walleye fishing, targeting the walleye species of freshwater fish. These fish inhabit various North American waterways and are highly valued for their delicious taste.

Conclusion

Walleye fishing provides fishermen with an engaging and frequently difficult activity in freshwater settings. Understanding these elusive species’ behavior, utilizing the appropriate bait and lures, and using different fishing approaches are all necessary for success. There are many tactics to try, including jigging and trolling, adapting to low light, and concentrating on undersea structures.

Whether you possess considerable angling expertise or are just starting out in the world of walleye fishing, these recommendations are invaluable for improving your abilities and boosting your prospects of successfully catching these highly sought-after freshwater fish. So, venture onto the water, put these methods into practice, and relish the excitement of walleye fishing, all while upholding a strong commitment to both the environment and the sport.

A solid understanding of catch-and-release methods and ethical fishing also contributes to the conservation of walleye populations for upcoming generations of fishermen. Being a successful walleye angler requires patience, adaptation, and knowledge of the surrounding conditions and laws.

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