In the bodies of water where walleye are found, this fish is a very popular and sought-after species among anglers.
In fact, many anglers fish solely for walleye and very rarely fish for anything else.
There are guide, charter and tackle services that focus exclusively on walleye. Read on for tips about how you can catch this predatory fish!
This has spawned a niche in the fishing industry in which many guide and charter services, along with tackle businesses, focusing solely on the walleye species.
So, let’s take a look at some great tips and tricks to find and catch walleye. If you are new to walleye fishing, these tips will undoubtedly help you put a hook N1 the next time you are on the water.
Location, Location, Location
When it comes to real estate, property values and businesses, location is one of the most important aspects.
Walleye fishing is no exception!
Fish not only in areas where walleye are known to be (like points, reefs and humps), but also fish for them their at the right times (read more below!)
It may seem obvious, but you can’t consistently catch walleye if you aren’t fishing in areas where walleye visit or feed on a regular basis. And, you should always be fishing in spots where they can be found based on the time of the season or current conditions.
If you are fishing in a new lake, you should be studying it in detail before you even touch a fishing rod.
You should key in on areas like rocky points, mudflats, sandbars, islands, reefs, and mid-lake structures like humps.
Weed lines and the drop-offs adjacent to them can also hold large numbers of walleye under the right conditions.
In rivers, you should search out deep holes, eddies, troughs along banks, flats, and timber.
Prime Walleye Fishing Conditions
Fishing for walleye in the early morning and at dusk are typically the best times of day, as walleye like to feed in the lower light.
Early mornings and dusk are the prime times to fish for walleye as they normally feed in these low light conditions as well as at night, thanks to their eyes being perfectly suited for the task.
If fishing after dark, target shallow areas. The walleye will typically push up in the shallows to feed on schools of minnows.
This doesn’t mean walleye don’t feed in the daylight hours, though, and a great time to fish for them during the day is when there is an overcast sky.
The cloud cover during overcast conditions will diffuse the light, and the low barometric pressure you are likely to have at this time is a great trigger to get the walleye into a positive feeding mood.
Inclement weather can cause the perfect conditions for a walleye’s instinct to feed and can be a great time to be out on the water, providing conditions are safe enough to do so.
Heavy waves and windy conditions diffuse the light and stimulate the walleye’s instinct to feed, and this can be a great time to be on the water. Just do so safely. (The term “walleye chop” is something you will frequently hear among the walleye angling crowd, and this is nothing more than wave action in the form of “choppy waves.”)
You can also catch walleye in sunny conditions during the day, although it may be significantly harder, and the fish are probably in deeper water out from the structure or suspended in the basin of the lake.
Crankbaits, jigs and soft paddle tail lures are some great options for catching walleye.
There are a plethora of lures out there made specifically for walleye, and they react positively to most of the common lure types on the market.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common types of tackle used in walleye fishing.
Crankbaits can be used both by casting and trolling to entice the walleye bite (photo credit: fishusa.com)
Crankbaits can work great for catching walleye, both casting and trolling.
In river fishing situations, fishing after dark, and in many other situations, crankbaits can help you catch fish and cover water quickly.
Trolling crankbaits can be the most effective way to catch walleye when fishing large bodies of water, and is the primary tactic in places like the Great Lakes, Lake St. Clair in Michigan, The St. Lawrence River, and Lake Winnebago in Wisconsin, and other large bodies of water where you have to cover miles of structure or the basin for suspended fish.
Used with soft plastics or live bait, you can fish a jig pretty much anywhere. Timber, weeds, flats, down a drop-off, rip rap and rock, you name it, are all areas where you can effectively use a jig, though you may lose a few to snags; that’s the nature of the game when it comes to jigging.
Jigging works great if you have specific spots that are likely to hold large numbers of fish but are incredibly large, like holes in rivers, points, humps, and other areas. This is due to the slow nature of jig fishing, and it shouldn’t be used as a search bait in most instances.
Lure size and color is a critical component to catching walleye.
Contrary to what some believe, it’s not true that walleye only eat small bait, so don’t shy away from larger lures for trophy walleye. (photo credit: Amazon)
While there are no rules laid in stone, we can look at some general tips to follow when it comes to lure size.
During tough fishing conditions, it might be a good idea to downsize if you are struggling to get strikes.
And, while there is a common perception that walleye only eat small prey and look past larger prey, this isn’t necessarily true.
Soft-paddle tail lures can be an effective bait to use for catching walleye. (photo credit: fishusa.com)
Larger, soft paddle tail lures in the 5 to 6-inch range have been very effective for anglers.
In fact, musky anglers sometimes accidentally catch trophy walleye on lures ranging from 8 to 10 inches. And, while I don’t recommend using musky lures to catch walleye, it just goes to show that the tiny lure-only school of thought isn’t necessarily true.
Color can sometimes make the difference in getting that finicky walleye bit. Don’t be afraid to mix it up!
While color doesn’t necessarily matter as it pertains to triggering most predatory species of fish to strike, in most cases, it definitely seems like walleye prefer certain colors at any given time.
I have seen days where lime green was the color that was most productive, and days later, the only thing walleye would touch was a combination of purple and chartreuse on the same sized jig as the lime green jig.
When walleye fishing, be sure to try different colors to see if the fish are keen on something particular.
Although fishing for walleye can be tough at times, you have to get started sometime!We hope you put a hook N1!
Walleye fishing can intimidate beginners, and they have a reputation among many as being an incredibly challenging fish to catch. However, the difficulty in catching them is blown out of proportion a bit.
While there are times when catching walleye can be incredibly tough, that can be said of any fish.
At the end of the day, just get out and fish. There’s no better way to learn than by experience and time on the water.
Worms, and more specifically nightcrawlers, are a great live bait option for largemouth. (photo credit: Farm and Dairy)
The imitation of worms make up a huge sect of the artificial lure market, so going right to the original source can be beneficial. Specifically, nightcrawlers are great for largemouth due to the size and scent.
To enhance the look, you may need to use a Texas rig or some sort of jig setup. This will get the worm down in the water column quickly and into the strike zone.
Bluegill are a favorite of largemouth bass. Be sure to check your local game laws regarding the use of bluegill as bait (photo credit: Wisconsin Dept of Natural Resources)
Especially in the northern United States, largemouth feast on bluegill.
Stick with smaller bluegill and hook them through the mouth or back fin to let the fish move around naturally.
The more coloration the better, as this is what grabs attention.
The most interesting of the four is the peacock bass. These are only found in Hawaii, South Florida, and the Amazon River. So, the fishing opportunities are a bit limited for most people. However, if you can target peacock bass, here are the best live bait options.
As with many other subspecies of bass, peacock bass will eat minnows (as well as other native small fish). Due to the availability of minnows at most bait shops, these can be a great live bait option as well.
Musky fishing is one of the most challenging forms of freshwater fishing there is. Musky are apex predators with a very low-density population in most cases.
Musky (“muskie”, or “muskellunge” as they are also referred to) are more likely to follow your lure to the boat, inspecting it instead of attempting to eat it.
Musky can be difficult to catch, but if you put in the time following some basic tips, you can increase your chances of a big payoff!
There are times when a musky angler could spend days without contacting a musky and possibly weeks between catching them. But, using certain tips and tactics coupled with experience gained on the water, you can drastically increase your catch rates of this elusive predator.
Let’s take a look at some of the most important tactics to catch muskies.
Find the Food, Find the Fish
You cant catch a musky if you aren’t throwing your lures in areas where muskies are present.
Being a good musky angler means that you have great knowledge of the locations and habits of all other species such as panfish, walleyes, pike, and others.
Locating the panfish (like bluegill) is a great way to determine where muskies might be feeding. (photo credit: Ohio DNR)
You need to know the patterns and movements of prey species to best determine where muskies might be.
A good way to determine where a musky food source might be congregating is to pay attention to panfish anglers. Because panfish anglers will often congregate in areas where panfish are in abundance, this can be a good areas to consider locating musky as well that might be feeding on panfish like crappie, perch and bluegill.
Using the visible clue of other anglers, you can also then see what structure is in that immediate area on your GPS/sonar unit or map, and start probing the deep water while respecting the space of the other fishermen in the area.
It’s important to cover a large amount of area on the water to find actively hunting and feeding muskies, but it is also important to find the small precise locations commonly used by a musky to ambush prey.
While a weed line that ends with a steep drop-off is perfect musky hunting grounds, on many lakes they can be hundreds of yards if not miles long.
Within these long drop-offs or weed lines, there will be spots that consistently hold muskies, and these spots may be several yards in size down to the size of a vehicle.
Musky fishing often requires an angler to cover large amounts of area on the water to locate fish that are actively feeding. How to efficiently do this is key…
Points, inside and outside corners, sections of the drop-off that are significantly steeper than the rest of the drop-off; these spots will hold musky on a regular basis, because they are perfect ambush points for large predatory fish.
Once you find several of these small precise locations on the overall spot, you can skip fishing countless yards of structure and focus on fishing them with pinpoint precision and purpose.
Other key spots can be mid-lake structure such as humps, ridges, spines, saddles, or even areas in the open water basin.
When it comes to tips for musky fishing, it’s hard to think of a number that’s more important than the number 8…
Lack of figure-8 discipline is probably responsible for more lost fish for beginning anglers than anything else.
You need to focus on doing a proper figure-8 at the end of every single cast. Even if the water clarity is incredibly high and you don’t see a musky following your lure, you should still do it every time.
Muskies can follow far below and behind the bait, and you might not see them, or they could have followed up on a previous cast and are lurking beneath the boat, watching your lures approach again and again. Many seasoned musky anglers will attest to catching a musky boat side on a figure-8 while having zero clues that the fish was ever there.
When you do attempt to figure-8 a musky that is following your lure, you should do it with large sweeping “curves,” and when the bait crosses the center of the invisible 8 you should plunge it deeper in the water, and bring it near the surface on the outside of the curves while increasing your speed.
Don’t get stuck on one particular lure presentation. Mix things up for those finicky muskies. (photo credit muskyshop.com)
Some anglers will fish a bucktail all day and nothing else, even when they are getting little to no action on that type of lure. Don’t fall into the “one lure rut” because it’s a lure you favor, or because it has caught fish in the past.
Switch lures on occasion and chooses the best ones for the situation and spot you are fishing.
The musky fishing community, while it has grown substantially over the last decade, is still incredibly small compared to other species-specific fishing like bass fishing, much of the reason for this is the challenge it represents and the time and dedication involved to catch a single fish.
At the end of the day, there is no substitute for time on the water pursuing these predators, so just get out there and fish!