Ice Fishing Walleye: Tips and Tricks

Walleye– Sander virus–is a popular species that ice anglers pursue, but it is also one of the most poorly understood by scientists and fishermen. Although it is clear that walleyes are attracted to spawning areas, it is still a mystery as to why they migrate. The key to catching aggressive predators like walleye is to use what you know and focus on proven methods and lures.

Below are some great tips and tricks for ice fishing walleye. These links will provide you with information about other species.

  • Cappie Ice Fishing Tips & Techniques
  • Sunfish Ice Fishing Tips & Techniques
  • Perch Ice Fishing Tips and Techniques
  • Northern Pike Ice Fishing Tips and Techniques
  • Muskie Ice Fishing Tips & Techniques
  • Lake Trout Ice Fishing Tips & Tricks

Walleye Tips and Techniques

  • Pound the ground find it productive to turn on finicky walleye by hitting the bottom with our jig a few times. The sediment will look like fish have disturbed the bottom and vibrates to attract walleyes to your lure. You’ll likely get more bites if you alternate this technique with jigging near the bottom.
  • Jig Aggressively We recommend starting slow and gradually increasing your aggression. Walleye can be attracted to your lure by ripping it a few times.
  • Sweeten, Sweeten, Sweeten Sweeten your lures and make sure your jigs. Walleyes often find a minnow head attached to the ventral hook on a Chubby Darter, Jigging Rap, or Chubby Darter irresistible. An Oddball with a minnow in the head is a good investment. Pass the hook through your mouth, through the gills, and the body.
  • They will be attracted to you sometimes you can see the walleye flashing on your flasher but they won’t take your lure. If this happens, you can try raising your lure a couple of feet and then moving a little further, making sure to get the line back as you go. If the walleye chases you, it can be a signal to stop and jig. It’s possible to get the bite you want.
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Walleye Basics

These olive and goldfish look like a cross between a pike or perch and have a lot of teeth. They also have a strong appetite.

Walleye are fish-eaters and eat perch, perch, smelt, suckers, and other prey species. This is an important aspect to know as it helps anglers understand their behavior and movements. Understanding their feeding habits and movement is key to catching them in the hard water. This complex interplay of light and structure makes it difficult to catch them.

Walleye Migration

Walleye can be tracked using tags and have been known to migrate long distances between summer feeding areas and spring spawning grounds. It is difficult to predict the exact distances and patterns of walleye migrations. These beds can be rocky, so it’s important to understand the area before you start drilling holes.

Don’t let this fool you: Walleye aren’t as mobile as you might think. At least, not until the water freezes. They’re almost there when they will spawn in spring. It’s a little easier to predict daily migrations, so you’ll need as much knowledge as your children about their faces.

Walleyes Under the Ice

Walleyes will only move in predictable cycles once they have settled in winter positions near spawning areas. You don’t need to worry about the migration patterns. They will be over by the time you get on the ice. It is actually easy to find walleye in hard water by recognizing their vertical movements patterns during peak feeding times.

Take a look at our top picks of ice fishing reels or ice fishing rods

Find the Prey, find the Walleye

It is important to understand that where prey species are located directly affects where walleye go to feed. If baitfish are found in transitional areas rather than in the thickets, you will also find walleye there. Knowing what is below the water level is the most important factor in locating walleye. They move deeper and require you to locate their food source so that you can predict their destination.

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This feeding movement can last into the evening and occurs an hour before sunset. Walleye fishermen are looking for predictable behavior. It’s important to realize that these fish will move. You can take advantage of their daily patterns by knowing where they are holding and where they’re going.

Walleye fishing at dawn isn’t as productive as other species. Walleye anglers who are experienced focus on the evening. They will often arrive on the ice around mid-day and will drill many holes to allow them to access that movement pattern. You will need to be fast to chase walleye at dusk. They’ll change their positions frequently, so you won’t have the time to drill any new holes.


Walleye feeding can be triggered by light.

Ice-angling veterans will tell you that fish hunt in the 90 minutes around dusk. A stiff breeze, such as a walleye chop, is a major driver of feeding on open water. You’ll be able to consistently land fish if you translate that lesson to the hard water.

Walleye will rise from the depths to find food when the light is dim. They will be found where they are looking for prey. Most of the time they’ll be at the edges of living marijuana beds, searching for suckers, smelt, and other small prey species.


They will move from deep holding positions to shallower waters where food is available. Particularly, we love to search for points. These are the most sought-after underwater topography for walleye. Look for them in areas that offer a drop-off or provide habitat for their prey species.

Walleye Bait and Lures

Walleye are predators that love to eat other fish. Small fish mimicking jigs, spoons and lipless crankbaits are all good options. We have found that some standout options drive walleye crazy year after season. Let’s take an in-depth look at our bait and lure tips to discover some of our favorite choices.

Flash Spoons

Bay de Noc’s Swedish Pimple

Bay de Noc Swedish PimplesBay de Noc’s pimples can be deadly for walleye, especially if they are larger than 3/4 ounces. When jigged, they flash and move like prey items. This lure is equipped with a small red blade that adds an extra spark to the fishing experience.

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Swimming lures

Rapala Jigging Rap

Rapala Jigging Rap 07 Fishing lure, 2.75-Inch, PerchRapala’s Jigging Rap is also legendary. It darts and hovers turns and floats like an ostrich or sucker by design. Its ability to turn bites on is amazing once you master how to use this finesse lure.

Salmo Chubby Darter

Salmo 1 3/4 inch Chubby Darter Lure, SIL/RD/ORGThe unique shape and actions of the Chubby Darter imitate baitfish in distress. It’s a great complement to the Rapala, as it offers a completely different look and action. It can be fished correctly and will drop and dart like a perch or shad injured. This is why it’s a popular choice for ice anglers. Perch and orange are the best colors.


Live Target’s soft swimbaits

LIVE TARGET Fishing Tackle Lures Threadfin Swimbait Green-Bronze, MulticolorThe Live Target swimbaits are simply amazing. It’s clear why walleyes will take a bite. The flexible tail gives it great action and hooksets are easy when they’re rigged with a high-quality treble hook at the ventral eye.


Bait Rig’s Oddball Jigs

Jig heads are not all created equal. We like the wild action these Oddballs give to minnow heads or bodies.

Discussion of the top 4 lures for ice fishing walleye

Are you a leader?

Anglers disagree on whether a mono- or fluorocarbon leader for walleye fishing is important. Although walleye have sharp teeth they are more like fangs rather than knives. Try different methods to find the best one for you, especially if your fish are caught in clear water.

Last Thoughts

Walleye fishing on the ice can be addictive. Walleye are fun to catch and make a great meal, especially if they’re kept to a smaller size than the legal limit. Walleye between 12-15 inches are allowed in winter water. We’re always happy to bring home a few of these magnificent fish for our kitchen.

We catch them and release them when we don’t want them to eat.

Please leave a comment below if you found these tips and tricks useful or if you think we missed something. We would love to hear from yours!

Lewis Mark is a vastly experienced fly fisher. His encyclopedic knowledge of fly tying has led to start blog on fishing. He also review Fishing equipment based on his knowledge and experience.