Walleye Fishing Tips: How to Fish for and Catch Walleye In All Seasons
Walleye enthusiasts know that fall is a time when walleyes are more active and have the ability to catch monster walleyes due to their color change. Even though fall may not be as productive as spring for these predators, it is still a great season.
You don’t have to be lazy in summer, especially if it is easy to know where to look and what to throw.
Three-season walleye success hinges on understanding their behavior patterns throughout the year, as well as adapting to changes as they occur.
Are you able to decide what to throw in the spring What are the best places to find walleye in heat? What should you look out for in the fall season?
Continue reading to learn more!
Walleye or Sander virus, as they are scientifically called, is a cold water predatory species that can be found in most of the northern U.S. and Canada. The walleye, which has a gorgeous olive-gold color and is sleek, is also known as the pikeperch.
Females tend to be larger than their male counterparts. There is a constant relationship between the length and weight of a walleye, just like other fish. A 20-inch ‘eye will weigh in at around 3.3 pounds. An average 25-inch ‘eye will weigh in at 6.35 pounds.
As you can see from the image, a little longer is definitely more!
Although they can reach a maximum length of around 30 inches and weigh 20 pounds, there have been some larger specimens. However, these are very rare. The tackle record for walleye was established in 1960 by Mabry Harper, who landed a 25-pounder.
Walleyes are named for their outward-facing eyes. They are well-suited to low light and murky waters and have a sharp vision. They are also blessed with sensitive and delicate lateral lines.
This has a profound impact on the behavior of walleyes.
Walleyes can see in low light and sense vibrations over large distances. This makes them more likely to seek out food than to ambush prey. Walleyes also prefer to eat in low-visibility conditions (for other fish), such as at dusk and night in murky water or stained water. Also, they will eat when the water’s surface is being disturbed by wind, which is known as “walleye chop.”
To catch more walleye, you need to fish in low lighting and look for prey that will attract them. Walleye will be cruising near you if you can find their prey.
Here are some things to remember when fishing for walleye
These are the main points to keep in mind
Low light is the king.
Walleye feeding occurs regardless of the season. The best times to catch walleyes are from dusk to midnight and dawn to dawn. They will also be active in the dark than on bright sunny days. Walleyes have a unique predatory advantage because of their exceptional vision. Many walleye veterans know that they can fish walleye right as the sun sets, so skip breakfast and get out fishing.
Walleye enthusiasts will tell you that conditions such as overcast days, dusk, and other light disturbances can trigger them to hunt. For example, a stiff breeze on the open water can cause “walleye chop”, which is a primary driver of feeding.
However, most summer walleye anglers are tempted to use deep trolling as their preferred method of catching them. These fish have a predictable daily routine that takes them to the shallows. Walleye will seek out food in the dark when the light is low. They will be found where they are looking for prey. Most often they will work the edges of living plants, small islands, and other structures.
You can increase your chances of catching real bruisers if you fish later than the midnight shift. Larger walleyes will move into the same areas that smaller ones were at dusk.
Walleye love contrasts. You should look for unusual structures.
Walleye will be found wherever baitfish are located. Follow the shad and the cisco to find the walleye. I love to search for live weeds in the current and any shallows that are immediately adjacent to drop-offs and inflows such as creeks or rivers.
Check out our River Walleye Fishing Tip for a complete rundown
General Walleye Fishing Tips
Get Ready for Walleye
Take a look at our buying guides.
- Walleye Fishing Rods Best
- Best Walleye Fishing Reels
- Best Walleye Baits, Lures, and Jigs
Walleye rigging jigs
Although rigging a jig doesn’t require rocket science, some tricks can make it more efficient.
Minnows are not inclined to be vertically presented, so if your minnow jig is hung tail down and head upward, it will not look or behave like prey. Your jigs should be as horizontally as possible. This is mostly down to knot position.
Walleye Rigs: Full Rundown
You can slip your knot to the “front”, which will encourage a vertical position that is distinctly unnatural for would-be predators.
This is not what you want. Pay attention to where the knot leaves your eye.
Instead, place your knot just above the eye. This will cause the jig to tilt forward, lift the tail and make it appear and behave more like a real minnow.
This is what you need.
It’s easy to use jigs with soft baits. But if you don’t know how to do it right, take a look at this video.
For most fish, it is best to start slowly and gradually increase your aggression. For walleyes, however, it is possible to entice them by ripping the lure a few times. If you are wondering when to use a crankbait or spinner for walleye, here’s the answer!
Walleye don’t mind eating a lot, as you can see from the picture below. Do not be afraid, these aggressive beasts can take a lure that is too large or too heavy and will eat it!
Sweeten, sweeten, sweeten
This is a must-do: Sweeten your lures and make sure to jig! Walleyes often find a minnow head attached to the ventral hook on a Chubby DarterorJigging Rap irresistible. Traditional favorites for walleyes are jigs that trail a minnow body or spinners with worms and leeches. As shown in the video, the hook can be passed through the mouth, through the gills, and back through your body.
Spring Walleye Fishing Tips
The Spring Spawn
Walleye exhibit unique spawning behavior. Walleyes remember where they spawned first and then re-orient their breeding sites each year. According to Gord Pyzer at In-Fisherman, more southerly populations start spawning when water temps rise to between 48degF and 50degF. Their northern counterparts, however, will spawn at 44-48 degrees F.
Walleyes will look for rocks, gravel, or other hard-bottomed shallows to spawn.
The spawning sites are first visited by small males. Next, larger males follow, then the females. It’s not a time for trophy hunting, despite its predictable nature. Andrew Ragas from Midwest Outdoors explains that larger females want to spawn and restrict feeding after dropping eggs. This can often last up to two weeks.
Pyzer also agrees that big girls often retreat into deep water to recover from injuries and chase ciscoes. The chances of hooking a monster are lower for those with large eyes.
Does this mean that the spawn isn’t productive? It doesn’t! However, you can expect to see more males than women and smaller overall walleyes.
Walleye are found in shallow flats, particularly where there are rock or gravel bottoms. They also like shallow weed beds and structures such as drop-offs or points that provide immediate access to their spawning areas.
However, seasonal anorexia can grip them during the spawn. The wallies will be looking for food and gaining weight after the spawn.
Slip floats with live bait
Slip floats are the best choice for any situation where you have to present live bait to walleye. A slip float can be set to the exact depth and cast beautifully. It is also great when used with minnows, leeches, or jig heads.
I prefer to use a 3/8-ounce Thill Wobble Bobber on mono mainline with a bit of fluoro leader attached. I can reach depth quickly due to the weight of the float and the jighead.
Tom Boley explains how to find walleyes to cast in the video. He loves humps of any kind, which he refers to as “focal points”. Large rocks, sharp edges, and points are all possible spots where he can cast his slip floats.
He is also searching for large boulders or transitions between gravels and sand, which are all areas where walleye are most likely to hunt.
Check out his amazing video.
Trolling is an effective method for catching walleye. If done correctly, it allows you to fish at the right depth while also covering a lot of water. Trolling is not always about deep water. If you don’t fish the shallows for walleye, it’s a huge mistake.
Walleye often stay on sandy flats during spring to soak up the sun. To heat their cold-blooded metabolism, they will be in shallow water.
Slowly trolling a deep-diving crankbait such as the Salmo SDR Bullhead or Rapala Jointed Shad Rap is one of the best ways to catch these fish.
You need to remember that walleyes are attracted to shallow water for the sun. Therefore, you shouldn’t run your lures too deep. Keep your lures from the bottom and adjust your trolling speed accordingly. Jason Mitchell, a noted angler, likes to start slow and get the crankbait to go down.
This video shows him giving a masterclass on this technique.