If you have landed on this article you are probably a walleye fishing fan just like us and you are no doubt looking for some extra fishing tips and ways to land some trophy walleye. Because of this, we will not bore you with a complete description of walleye, but rather get right to the tips you crave.
If you are new to walleye fishing, we can tell you with confidence that you are absolutely going to love this type of angling, as walleye are very aggressive fighters and pack hunters. They are also very smart and elusive, so hopefully these tips will aid you in your quest for this wonderful fish.
What You Will Need for Walleye Fishing
As a fisherman, you probably already have a sturdy rod for catching walleye, reel and a good stock of live lures and baits, jigs, minnows, plastics and artificial lures; and you’ll be happy to learn that these baits are typically all you will need to catch big walleyes.
Keep in mind, however, that depending on where you fish, you may need to completely modify your usual baits in order to get the attention of walleyes.
For example, if you are fishing in clear waters, pairing darker more naturally-colored jigs with silver and black crank baits and worms will typically be your best bet. In muddy waters, the opposite is true. In these conditions you will require brighter colors like pink and orange to get their attention.
Tips & Techniques To Catch More Walleye
The walleye’s elusive behavior is the result of its highly adaptive features, including their eyes being adapted for low-light vision and their sensitive lateral lines. Understanding how these features control the behaviors of walleye can help you to reel in significantly larger fish. If you want to start catching a greater number of walleyes, here are some things you might want to try.
Fish at Night
Since the eyes of a walleye are better adapted for night vision, diminishing light in your environment tends to trigger their activity. As the sun goes down, most walleye tend to creep out of their hiding places to feed.
Their exceptional night vision gives them a predatory advantage over their prey. In addition to fishing at night, you may also have an advantage on a cloudy or overcast day, when the sun’s light is partially blocked. At dusk, smaller walleyes will usually scavenge the edges of small islands, living weed beds and related structures searching for small perch and other prey.
From midnight to dawn, large walleyes seem to patrol the same areas that the smaller ones searched earlier. This daily feeding routine gives you a clue about the place and time to find different sized walleyes.
Ripple the Water near the Bottom
You can also exploit the walleye’s sensitive lateral lines and trick it into thinking that there is prey around. Walleye are known to swim and hold near the bottom of the water. Therefore by bumping the bottom of the water a few times with your bait, you can create artificial ripples and bring about cloud of sediments which the walleye will interpret to be a prey activity.
The walleye is able to detect little vibrations such as this, so jigging the water is also a great technique to draw a big walleye’s attention to your bait or lure. Try to think and act much like a genuine prey of the walleye by alternating between bumping the lake bottom and jigging very near to the bottom.
The idea is to “thud” the lake bottom rather than drag your bait. In doing so, you just might attract a few bites from a scavenging walleye—perhaps even a trophy-sized fish.
Use Jigs When Fishing for Walleye
Jigs are the simplest and most inexpensive tools for catching a walleye; and when fishing with jigs you can also attach soft baits on them with ease to provide a scent. When properly rigged, jigs make motions that look like prey and can attract a walleye bite.
Keep in mind, though, that this type of fishing is not without its downsides. The main problem with jigs is that when they are not properly rigged, their efficiency drops because they won’t look like prey to the walleye.
You generally want your jig to sit as close to horizontal as possible when working it, rather than having the tail hanging down below. To achieve this, you will need to ensure that the knot of your line stays at the top of the jig’s eye. This will lift the tail and make it behave like a real minnow.
Whether you are using a jig or crank bait, the key is to start out fairly aggressively. This may seem counterintuitive, since with most fish you want to start out gently and work your way up to more aggressively styles.
However, fishing for walleye does not always follow this conventional pattern. Expert and professional walleye fishermen regular say that by ripping your bait a couple of times you can usually attract more bites.
This is probably where you will need a spinner and big crank bait. Walleye are not afraid of swallowing a mouthful, so you should probably worry less about the size of your lure and more about the way you work it.
When jigging with live baits, it is definitely to your advantage to attach a piece of plastic to the shank of the hook. This helps the bait stay at the rear end of the jig. If you fail to follow this protocol, the bait can slide up the shank of the hook.
Search the Shallow Weed Beds for Walleye
The majority of anglers might think that walleye will wait out the warm weather in the cooler depths of the deep water. This is not always the case.
Walleye, like many other animals, are largely drawn to prey-rich areas. This is why they often lurk around the weed beds in very shallow water.
In shallow waters, vegetation has ample sunlight to grow and provide thick cover. A combination of warmth and thick cover makes this place an ideal location for minnows, crappies, and small perch.
This diversity of this prey-rich area also draws in walleye to the shallow water. Some walleye will even spend the entire summer in the weed beds and never retreat to the deeper water.
Note: When fishing close to weed beds, it is easier to work with artificial baits than live baits because you tend to lose too many of your live baits to the weeds.
Provide Options for Walleye
If you intend to use artificial or plastic baits, there is a technique you can use to increase your chance of appealing to the predatory sense of a walleye: Give them options. When there is more on the menu the walleye tends to become a bit hungrier—just like humans.
Therefore, you can increase your odds of scaring up a walleye by mixing things up. For example, you can attach short plastic worms or small twister-tail grubs to your crank baits.
You can also fasten a two or three-foot long monofilament to the crank bait’s back hook. It is important to make sure that the hooks are not readily exposed or the goal of this technique may fail.
What’s more, when trailing crank baits, it is imperative that you use opposite colors, such as pairing light colored pugs with dark grubs.
Troll for Walleye
Trolling is another great way to fish for walleye. Trolling allows you to cover a greater amount of water in a single trip. If done properly, it is a trusted technique for catching big walleye. One of the most important features of trolling is that it gives you the opportunity to fish at the right depth. With that being said, you should not always limit your trolling to the deep water.
In the months of spring (and sometimes even summer), walleye can usually be found basking in the shallow water—at just the right depth in which to soak up the sunlight for the energy they need to drive their cold-blooded metabolism.
Thus, an effective angling technique is to target walleye in these shallow waters using a deep-diving crank bait. Finding the right depth is the key to a successful catch with this technique. You must remember not to run your bait too deep or the walleyes will miss them. It is important to start out slow to allow the crank baits to dive, after which you can adjust your trolling speed.
Of course, trolling for walleye in deep water is also a good idea. The important point to note when trolling the deep water is you must adjust your depth. Finding the right lure is only one side of the equation—you must also get that lure to the depth in which the walleye are lurking.
For this, you can attach a snap weight to your line. Most professionals will recommend you stick to the 50/50 rule. What this means is that you reel out 50 feet of line then attach your weight before reeling out another 50 feet. The more weight you use, the slower your trolling speed will be, thus your lure will tend to run deeper.
Whether your plan is jigging, trolling or spinning, catching a trophy-sized walleye will be much easier if you follow these simple tips. Happy Catching!