The Walleye, formerly a Northwoods delicacy, has become plentiful in several southern and western states’ ponds. It has quickly become one of our most popular game fish. There is a justification why the Walleye is the official fish of four states. Not only can Walleye provide fishers with exhilarating, quick action, but they are also one of the tastiest freshwater fish available.
Walleye are a difficult fish to catch, but that is part of what makes them so appealing. Many anglers are motivated by the task and the tasty fillets. I cannot make walleye angling simple, but I can simplify it for you to get started.
They are a relatively accessible species found in lakes, ponds, and rivers all over the United States, making them ideal for both novice and experienced anglers.
Even though they may be found throughout the country, capturing them needs time, skill, and finesse. Let us get started.
Walleye’s seasonal patterns
Walleye are creatures of habit, and their movements are quite predictable. Seasonal changes have a big impact on these trends. Being in the same spot as the Walleye all year is the secret to effective walleye angling.
Spring is a busy season all over the world. Animals, plants, and anglers alike are waking up after a long winter’s rest. Walleye have two main concerns in the spring: feeding and repopulation.
Walleye migrate to spawning grounds, leaving the sanctuary of deep waters behind. Walleye will migrate inland up rivers and streams if the opportunity arises. If they are unable to do so, Walleye will seek shallow rock beds or reefs.
Walleye often will hang out in deep crevices next to the spawning grounds during the pre-spawn. The males will migrate into the beds and guard them ferociously once the spawn is on. The females will usually stay in the water till the sunsets.
The slowing of walleye action in the summer is due to the warmth and sunshine. Because neither of these things appeals to Walleye, they will dive deep and hang for most of the day. They are still hungry, but the prey must be simple to trap.
Fall is yet another period of transition, second only to spring in terms of change. Walleye become more active predators as the weather starts to cool. This is due to some factors. Females must conserve energy to produce eggs for the following year’s spawn.
As the colder months approach, walleye movement dwindles to nearly nothing. When the ice forms, the Walleye usually seek deep regions to suspend themselves in. If at all feasible, they prefer to stay suspended beneath a school of forage fish. The fact that winter is here does not mean that consuming is prohibited. Walleye do not put out as much effort in seeking food.
Where to find Walleye
Walleye is a cool-water fish that prefers water that is somewhat warmer than that of trout but not as warm as bass and panfish. Walleye thrive in lakes and huge rivers with cool, clear water and a sand or gravel bottom.
Learning to read lake maps and detect structures is the first step in learning how to capture Walleye through the ice. Submerged points or islands are well-known structures that frequently retain Walleye. Download an app if you have a smart device to get basic contour maps of the water you are fishing to spot this structure quickly.
Shallow waters at dusk and dawn
Walleye frequently move into the shallows to dine late at night and early in the morning, devouring their fill of baitfish before retiring to deeper water. They can be found drifting along the coast near weed lines, rocky points, and other structures, hunting with their keen eyesight.
Deepwater during the day
Walleye spend most of their time throughout the day in deep water, ranging from 15 to well over 30 feet. Walleye can remain near the bottom in deep water or swim further up in the water body to eat on schools of baitfish, depending on the season and conditions.
Best techniques to catch Walleye
If you are fishing in a lake, bear in mind that lake walleyes wander around many more than river walleyes. In a river, tides carry food to Walleye, but in a lake, it must actively seek it out.
Because walleyes stalk their food, you will need to look for distinct transitions in calm water to find it. Look for weeds and other vegetation that Walleye will eat.
Walleye will swim along with those patterns while they are not chasing their prey. A steep drop-off in another suitable place.
Walleyes spend their time in rivers in slow-moving or stationary locations near powerful currents. While waiting for prey, they are normally orientated towards the stream. When fishing in a lake, the ideal method is to locate walleye transition zones and place your bait along with such areas. Therefore, the technique you choose depends on the location.
Jigging for walleyes is a great way to catch them. Bottom hopping involves letting the lure reach the base, then pulling your rod up and letting the bait drop again. Instead of doing it in the same spot, you can shift a bit from side to side. Another kind of jigging is drifting, which involves moving the jig down the bottom. Whenever the walleyes are particularly active, this is ideal.
This is also the most straightforward method. A bait (ideally live) and a lead above the hook are required. The bait will be placed just above the bottom as the lead pulls it to the bottom. When walleyes are towards the base, this is a fantastic strategy.
When you need to span a broader region, like the transition zones, this method works effectively. Cast the lure to the far side of the walleye-infested region and reel it in. It is also a smart strategy when the walleyes are vigorously eating.
When the walleyes are constantly swimming, or in flowing waters, floating rigs should be used. If you cast in the manner I outlined above in moving waters; you will almost certainly receive a bite.
Using live baits
The key to a successful Walleye expedition is to use living bait. Walleye are more fussy and difficult to catch than other freshwater fish, so anyone just getting started should stick with live bait.
In Walleye-dominated water bodies, they are an excellent choice; nevertheless, in smaller water bodies with abundant Perch, Panfish, and Bass concentrations, your leech will be stolen. This is also true for Nightcrawlers, although connecting them to worm harness spinners elongates their profile, allowing them to filter through the pests.
Minnows are the most common bait for walleye anglers, and Shiner and Flathead Minnows produce consistently good results. Shiners in the 4-6′′ bracket are the mainstay for hunting larger fish since they will filter out some smaller species.
Walleye fishing equipment
Before you go on your next Walleye fishing expedition, double-check that you have all the necessary equipment. There are a lot of obstacles to overcome when it comes to properly outfit yourself. You must have the appropriate fishing rod, reel, fishing line, lures, and bait.
When it comes to brands and pricing bands, there are many spinning reels to pick from, so it is all down to you.
3000 to 3500 would be ideal. A 2500 size could be used for a smaller fish, but it may not retain enough line in some conditions. It is not necessary to use a number greater than 3500.
You will have better control over the lure if you use light spinning rods. The length should be between 7 and 7.5 feet. For a newbie, medium power and action be sufficient. To use it in a variety of settings, you need an extremely adjustable rod.
You have two possibilities when selecting a line. There are two types of fluorocarbons: mono and fluorocarbon. The latter is more durable and nearly undetectable. Ensure the line color is appropriate for the waters you are fishing in since the too-visible line will startle walleyes. You can use a fluorocarbon leader weighing 10 to 12 pounds. Mono should be tested at 6 to 8 pounds.
Anglers with a little more skill can use braided fluoro leaders, but remember that it is a little more difficult to tie knots with them, and some reels are not braid-ready, so you will have to put some time into the preparation before hitting the water.
Best light conditions for Walleye catching
Light sensitivity is high in Walleye. Early morning and late evening are the greatest times to fish for Walleye. When the sun is high in the sky during the daytime hours, Walleye dive deeper and cling to the shade, offering cover. On the other hand, Walleye will migrate in shallow during times of low light to dine on baitfish held close to the shore.
As a result, catching Walleyes in the shallow water under low light is easier than finding them in the deeper stretches during a sunny afternoon. Irrespective of the light conditions during the day, their internal eating clock ticks faster during dawn and twilight. Anglers fishing from the shore or dockside can catch marble eyes in the early and late hours of the day.
Walleyes are odd-looking fish. They will bite like crazy one day, and you will catch them no issue, but the next day, with the same circumstances as the day before, the walleyes will stop biting. If you appear to be doing everything correctly but still are not having any luck, try changing the spot or bait.
Knowing how to catch Walleye is not difficult, and it can be a lot of fun if you keep up with walleye habit all year. It is critical to locate fish, as no lure or bait will function if they are not present.
Bring a variety of bait/lure choices with you and switch them around as needed. It is crucial not to give up when fishing for walleyes because they might be unpredictable.
Concentrate your efforts on finding Walleye that match their anatomy and feeding patterns. Begin pursuing them with live bait to catch some fish for the boat. You will welcome the task once you find out how to capture a few Walleye.