Anglers who have been fishing for pikes know that walleyes don’t grow to be as big as them. Also, it is much easier to fish for crappies and fill your boat with them than to land one or two quality walleyes. So why do anglers still go walleye fishing despite all these issues? For one, the walleye’s delicious and firm white meat makes for an excellent post-fishing meal. Second, some anglers love the challenge of being able to find and land a walleye. Walleyes are abundant in many places, but since they’re not very aggressive feeders and aren’t always active, they aren’t always easy to catch. Don’t worry though because we have here some tips on how to catch walleye so you can grab one (or two) of this popular game fish worthy of your trophy wall or dinner plate.
Where to Find Walleye
You won’t catch any fish if the fish aren’t there in the first place. This is why it’s important that you know where to look for walleyes. But then, walleyes appear to have no preference for any particular spot in the water. Unlike other species of fish, walleyes will hold tight to vegetation or wood at times, and haunt the rocks or cruise the sand or mud at other times. They can be on the bottom of the water column, near the top, below or anywhere in between at any point in time. More confusing is that more than one of these behavioral patterns can be at work in the same body of water at the same time.
But finding walleyes isn’t rocket science. Here are some tips to help you determine those areas where walleyes often hold and hang out.
- Walleyes like areas where there are lots of structures and cover which allows them to hide when hunting or resting. Areas with small structures and void of covers are boring to walleyes and makes them feel less secured.
- Look for areas where the baitfish are abundant. As the saying goes, if the prey isn’t there, the hunter probably isn’t as well. A walleye’s diet consist primarily of shad, perch and smelt. Look for fishing grounds with plenty of these baitfish and you’re bound to find several walleyes there as well.
- Walleyes are a schooling species of fish. If you caught a walleye in one area, you’re bound to catch a few more if you keep dropping your line.
Choosing a Fishing Rod and Reel
Walleyes can get pretty big, but despite their size they are known to have a very delicate bite. That said, it is always best to go for fishing rods that have fast to extra fast action. These are sensitive enough and you’d be able to feel it when a walleye takes a bite at your line. Also, you’ll want a fishing rod that is powerful enough to help you land a large walleye into the boat. A rod with medium to medium-heavy power should be enough in most instances.
Many anglers use spinning rods and reels when fishing for walleyes. These are versatile and easy to use, and the good quality ones usually last for a very long time, ensuring that you get more enjoyable years out of this investment. On the other hand, anglers who employ trolling methods usually prefer using a traditional baitcasting rig with more power and higher line capacities.
Choosing a Fishing Line
Monofilament lines are standard to walleye fishing, though some anglers prefer to use braid lines. Accordingly, braid lines have a smaller diameter compared to a monofilament of the same test range and strength. In addition, braid lines have little to no stretch which helps to animate lures when fishing in deep waters. It also helps to make a quick yet solid hook set. Those who are trolling for walleyes should consider getting a higher strength line.
Baits and Lures for Walleye Fishing
While live bait has been the go-to method used to catch walleye for ages, artificial jigs and lures have become more and more popular among anglers of all skill levels. Just keep in mind that walleyes are known to spit out a lure within a few seconds once they realize it’s fake. If you’re overwhelmed with the variety of lures available in the market, turn your focus to these three lures for walleye fishing.
- Jigs. Jigs are versatile lures and anglers use them when jigging or trolling. Some anglers even add small pieces of bait like nightcrawlers to make their jigs to make it more attractive to walleyes.
- Spoons make for a great alternative to jigs, and when it comes to walleye fishing anglers will usually make use of a jigging spoon or a flutter spoon. Jigging spoons, which are mainly used for jigging, are narrow and heavy, allowing them to sink to the bottom quickly. On the other hand, flutter spoons have wider yet thinner blades which means that they don’t sink as fast as jigging spoons. Anglers who use a flutter spoon when trolling usually add a little bit of weight to make it sink faster.
- Crankbaits that are shaped like baitfish as effective in catching the attention of a walleye. These lures also have a rattle inside which makes noise, further making it attractive to the fish. Anglers who employ casting or trolling methods are the ones who usually use these lures.
- Many anglers prefer using minnows above everything else. Smaller-sized minnows are often enough to get you a walleye of considerable size. But if you’re looking for some trophy-sized walleyes, then a larger minnow is what you need.
- Leeches and Nightcrawlers. Leeches are also great baits for walleyes, and they’re readily available in many lakes and rivers. Nightcrawlers are just as effective (if not more). They’re versatile and great for fishing in warmer waters as well. In any case, you’ll want to have a pack of these on hand when you go walleye fishing even if you have your trusty lures with you.
Walleye Fishing Techniques
Walleyes can be tricky to catch, and various fishing techniques like the following can be employed by anglers (from amateurs to pros) when fishing for walleyes.
- Jigging is a versatile walleye fishing technique that can be used in a variety of water depths, conditions, and seasons. Regardless of what’s at the end of your line (spoons, soft plastics, live baits, etc.) the basic rig and technique remain the same.
- Cast and Retrieve. The cast and retrieve method using crankbaits and shad imitations are effective for walleye fishing. This technique usually works best during dusk and dawn when walleyes move to the shallows with lots of structures (sunken logs, vegetation, rocks, etc.) to feed.
- Trolling is one of the most effective ways to cover a large expanse of water. Many anglers who like trolling for walleye apply a range of fishing rigs (from basic to complex) when doing so.
Globo Surf Overview
Despite the challenges, walleye fishing remains to be popular among many anglers. Anglers who love the sport consider walleyes to be a fascinating and challenging game fish. For hobbyists, walleyes are interesting because of its unique appearance and great tasting meat. As was mentioned several times already, catching a walleye isn’t always easy. It takes the right gear, experience, and knowledge on how to catch walleye in order to get an advantage over this interesting fish species.