Walleye Fishing Tips: An Ultimate Guide To Help You Increase Your Chances Of Catching Walleye

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Walleye can be extremely difficult and tedious to try and catch but at the same time this is what makes them so exciting to fish for, especially when you land one. Learning the Walleye swim and spawn patterns can be a long-winded process but this guide will help you understand these as well as the bait, rods, reels and the fishing techniques used to enhance your chances of landing a Walleye. 



What Fishing Rods/Poles To Use To Catch Walleye?

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If you’re starting to fish for Walleye for the first time, you should consider purchasing a high-quality spinning combo. This will typically be of a medium power 6-7ft. Spinning rod and a medium sized 35 reel which gives you the versatility to fish for Walleye using most of the popular fishing techniques. It must be said, the jigging and rigging techniques are more successful when using a medium-light power rod. Therefore, if you can afford both rods, it will give you more opportunity and enhance your chances of catching Walleye. The medium rod will be suitable to fish with artificial crankbaits and soft plastics. If you’re learning to fish for Walleye, I recommend using a 6,6” medium rod in the region of $54.99-$74.99. 

Some recommended brands to search for are;

> St Croix
> Shakespeare
> Ugly Stik
> KastKing
> Plussino



What Type of Fishing Line Is Best To Catch Walleye?

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If you’re using the 6,6” medium rod combo, we’d recommend spooling it with 8lb. Monofilament line. If you’ve never spooled a reel before, check out our article “What Is The Best Fishing Line Spooler?” for some helpful gadgets. 
The 8lb. Monofilament line is trustworthy and offers a highly forgiving stretch which is helpful for landing those Walleye. It is also readily available on the market and very affordable. Using this mono line will give you the opportunity to use Live Bait as well as Artificial. 
If you’re using the 6’6” medium rod combo along with the 6” medium-light (ML) combo, it is a good idea to spool the reels with the ideal line to provide you with the maximum versatility. On the 6” ML combo I’d use a 12lb Fluorocarbon line. The fluoro line has minimal stretch, this allows you to feel and judge a bite easier. On the 6’6” M combo, I’d normally spool it with 10lb. Braid line with a 12lb Fluoro leader tied on. Braid tends to offer a smoother and more accurate cast compared to the fluoro line. 



Using Live Bait To Catch Walleye

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Having some live bait in your tackle box can be the key to success when fishing for Walleye. If you’re a beginner and fishing for Walleye for the first time, it is highly recommended that you use live bait. Walleye have strange swim patterns and fishing with crankbaits and soft plastics takes some advanced skills which will need a lot of practice. Therefore, live bait is the perfect option if you’re inexperienced or fishing for Walleye for the first time. Minnows, worms and leeches have been proven to be the most successful live baits when fishing for Walleye. 

Minnows
Minnows are arguably the most popular live bait for Walleye anglers. Shiner & Flathead minnows have been proven to be very successful and I highly recommend using these. The size of the minnows will depend on the size of Walleye you’re targeting. If you know you’re looking to target larger Walleye (25”+), you should be looking to use a 4-6” minnow. If you’re struggling to get a bite, you can always reduce the minnow size to target smaller Walleye. 

Leeches & Worms
Leeches and worms are also a popular choice of live bait for anglers that are fishing for Walleye. These types of live bait are popular in Walleye dominant waters, however if there are large numbers of other fish such as perch, crappie and other panfish, these will likely steal the bait and therefore make leeches and worms useless. 



Using Jigs To Catch Walleye



‘Jigging’ is one of the most popular techniques when anglers are attempting to catch Walleye, you can find more information on this technique towards the end of the article. If you’re using live bait, you should use jigs known as ‘Fireballs’ These are Walleye specialized jig heads that have NO lead barb on the bottom of the jig. The jig is tipped by the lips of the minnow or the head of the worm/leach so they can move extensively as you fish. Fireballs are the best option as bait rigged for jigging will not cover up the Barbed-jig’s shank. We recommend using the 1/4oz or 1/8oz Fireballs. For most of the time, you will rarely need a smaller & lighter or larger & heavier jig head as these will be out of the Walleye’s depth range (15-30ft). In regards to color, it really depends on the lighting below your chosen fishing surface, have a variety of colors to hand as it will be a trial and error scenario. 
Barbed jigs should always have a space in your tackle box, especially if you’re fishing with soft plastics. This is what the longer shanks and lead barb is used for on most popular jigs. Barbed jigs are widely used for most freshwater species, the size of the jigs tends to correspond to the size of the soft plastics that you’re using. As a rule of thumb, common 1/4oz jigs are usually sized for 4-6” soft plastics and 1/8oz jigs are sized for 2-3”. When applying your soft plastic, it should fully cover the barb and the shank should be long enough to poke through the plastic so you’re able to have a good hook set. 



What Walleye Fishing Rigs To Use

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Whether you’re fishing from the side, inside a boat or kayak, adding some rigs to your set up is the next thing of importance. Rigs are typically used when the Walleye bite is light and timid and jigging conditions are too aggressive. The three most popular types of Walleye rig are; The Slip Bobber Rig, Live Bait Rig and Walleye Spinners. Each of these rigs covers plenty of water but differ in the way they work. Read on to find out more. 

Slip Bobber Rig
If you’re just getting started on fishing for Walleye, we highly recommend using slip bobber rigs in your set-up. The main positive of using slip bobbers is that it allows you to choose the depth of your bait. This makes it extremely versatile and successful if you can find out what depth the Walleye are biting. If you’re unsure about how to tie a slip bobber rig, you can watch this video for step-by-step instructions. 
Once set up, let the wind current take your float, which will help cover a large area of water over time. It is important you don’t let your float get too far away as you’ll likely be covering the wrong depth. 

Live Bait Rig
If the jigging technique is not producing positive results on rocky or stoney waterbeds, this is the go-to technique. The Live Bait rig is assembled by a weight above a snap swivel which is approximately 2-4feet long. The weight (1/4oz-1/2oz.) is molded and polished which helps it to slide over abnormal shaped rocky crevasses. It helps to get your weight swimming above the bottom of the water bed, 2-3ft away from the sinker and snap. The rig will have a natural pace against the current which is provided by the waves + wind that your boat produces. 

Spinners
A technique for the more advanced angler. Spinner rigs are a beaded blade rig that are designed for trolling. A single hooked spinner is ideal for minnows and leaves whereas a double hooked spinner is ideal for leeches.  Trolling is a technique that is used by allowing your lure or rig to follow you 50-100 yards behind the boat when moving at a slowish speed. Ideally your boat has a trolling motor as this provides your bait the momentum needed to cover large amounts of the water. 



What Lures Are Best To Use When Fishing For Walleye?



Grubs
Arguably the most successful Walleye lure of all time, Grubs on a jig are an anglers favorite alternative to live bait. If you want to fish at excessive speeds and not have to worry about keeping your live bait alive, this is the way of fishing for you. Natural colors such as black, brown and grey tend to be my go to as they have always proven to be a success. If you’re a beginner and starting out, I’d recommend using a 3inch grub, you’re likely to get more action on a smaller grub which is great practice. If you do decide to use a 3inch grub, you should consider pairing it with a 1/4oz or 1/8oz barbed jig. This type of lure allows you to fish off the dock or even a boat, covering more water than live bait will.  

Crankbaits
A very popular choice of lure for anglers that are trolling, typically multiple lures spread at a considerable distance apart to avoid the erratic movements caused by the boat and motor. A crankbait will dive to depths of about 10-13ft, this is the depth at which the Walleye tend to feed at. Trolling is somewhat an advanced technique and requires some expensive equipment (boat), that being said, you can always have this type of lure in your tackle box.

Worms (ring)
Commonly used in the river, ring worms are well known for their vibration in fast moving currents, something that is highly attractive for Walleye. A 5” ringworm on a 1/4oz or 1/8oz Jig sends ultra vibrations to grab the attention of the Walleye swimming beneath the surface. 



Knowing How And Where To Find Walleye Hiding..

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Trying to locate Walleye is one of the most difficult parts of fishing. Even if you have top range equipment, you’ll still find it difficult to find these sneaky fish. Walleye tend to swim and feed below 10ft, therefore locating them can be difficult and is down to your knowledge and understanding of what is underneath the water. Knowing the structures under the water and the types of cover Walleye use as well as water temperature and light conditions can enhance your chances of a record breaking catch. 

Structures & Area
Targeting structures to fish are a key part for catching Walleye. A structure can be simply defined as the actual bottom contour (bumps, humps, drops, breaks etc.). Imagine it as a fishes way of travel, i.e. their road or highway to get around the lake. Think of the cover (weeds, reeds etc.) as restaurants or shops between the highways and roads. Walleye seek deeper water during the day and then feed at the shallow parts of the water at night. The point at which the bottom of the lake begins to drop to a lower depth, you may find the Walleye lurking here. Walleye will feed at the top of the point around the rockey, sandy or weedy shallower waters during the night and then only have to swim a few meters to reach the deeper parts of the lake to rest during the day. 
Other types or structures are flats, holes, humps, sunken islands and saddles. Flats can be identified as long areas that maintain a similar depth with a base substance that is different to that of the rest of the lake. A hole is daily obvious, this is a deep crevet in the lake, usually a circular shape with the deepest part being in the center. A hump is a small hill/mound at the bottom of the lake. 

Depths & Temperatures
You may hear friends and other local anglers talking about the ‘depths’ they’re catching specific fish at. Walleye are generally caught at a depth of around 10-40ft, the range of depth is dependent on the waters you’re fishing, temperatures and time of the year. As a rule of thumb, a typical mid-sized lake would generally hold Walleye at a depth of around 10-15ft during spring. This will likely change to around 25-40ft in the summer and back to 15-20ft during fall. It is a good idea to find out the swimming behaviors of Walleye in your area and speak to other anglers to find out the depths they’re catching them. 


Temperature
Description
65-75
This can be classed as the perfect temperature to be fishing Walleye. You’ll likely find this temperature during the transition from Spring to Summer. After spawning, you’ll notice Walleye are hungry and begin to feed more, you’ll likely see boats spread out in a line from the shallows to drop off points. 
45-65
This is the typical temperature range for peak spring time. At this time of the year, you should be aiming to fish the warmest parts of the lake. Walleye will be spawning but not all at the same time and at a slower rate. 
75-80
Peak summer time fishing - Walleye will tend to swim to greater depths during this time of the year. You’ll likely find Walleye targeting structures such as holes and humps on smaller lakes. If you’re fishing larger sized lakes, you’ll likely find Walleye around the weeds, reefs and flats. 


Time of The Day
It is important to know that Walleye have a high sensitivity to light and therefore generally the best time to fish for them will during darker times of the day - late evening or early morning. When the sun is at its highest point during the day, Walleye will likely move to deeper waters and hide between the structures as previously mentioned. During periods of low light, Walleye will move closer to the surface and begin feeding on baitfish that are close to the shore. 


Good Luck & Have Patience
Learning to fish for Walleye can be a lengthy and frustrating process. You can go days without having a nibble when looking for Walleye but the more you fish for them and speak to other anglers, the more you learn about their behaviors which will ultimately bring you success. 

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