Of all the fish that swim in the lakes of the northern United States, none grip fishermen with as much of a passionate frenzy as walleye. These sun-shy predators are a popular target for their fight and excellence as table fare. While we could write a book on walleye (and many have), we will give you the hard and fast facts about walleye and a few pointers on how to catch your own.


First, it’s important to understand the habits and preferences of walleye. As we alluded to above, walleye prefer darker or turbid waters. Overcast days and nights are the best times to fish as they are most active and willing to travel during those times. Walleye tend to be bottom feeders, so it’s important to present your bait or lure close to the bottom of the water.

These fish prefer swimming in cooler temperatures, usually between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Their preference for colder waters also makes them a regular catch for ice fishermen. Many consider days with an overcast sky and wind-driven wave action to be the best time to fish, earning it the name “walleye chop.”


    When choosing your gear, there are a few things to consider. A 6’6′ medium to medium-heavy spinning rod is ideal for walleye fishing, as it allows you to cast long distances and provides enough power to handle bigger fish. Ideally, look for a fast tip to give greater sensitivity when casting and working smaller baits. For line opt for a 6-10 pound fluorocarbon. A quality spinning 3-3500 size reel with a smooth drag system is also important, as walleye can be strong fighters.

    In terms of bait and lures, a few options tend to work well for walleye. Live bait, such as minnows or nightcrawlers, can be effective when presented close to the bottom. Jigs are also popular, as they can be fished at various depths and tipped with live bait for added attraction. Crankbaits and spinnerbaits are also effective when retrieved slowly along the bottom.


    One effective technique for catching walleye is to use a jig and minnow combination. To do this, attach a jig head to your line and thread a minnow onto the hook. Cast the line out and let it sink to the bottom, then slowly reel it back in while twitching the rod tip to make the jig dance in the water. This action can be particularly effective during the low-light periods when walleye are most active.

    Another effective technique for catching walleye is to troll with crankbaits. The goal is to mimic the natural movements of prey fish and entice walleye to strike. Using a fish finder can help you locate schools of walleye and determine the best trolling speed and depth.

    Where to Find

    When it comes to location, walleye can be found in a variety of freshwater habitats. In lakes and reservoirs, look for areas with rocky or gravelly bottoms, as these provide ideal habitats for walleye. They also congregate around structures such as weed beds, drop-offs, and submerged logs or rocks. In rivers, look for areas with slow-moving currents, such as eddies and deep pools.

    Some of the top locations for walleye fishing are Lake Erie, Lake Winnipeg, and the Missouri River. These locations are known for their abundance of walleye and attract anglers from around the world. However, it’s important to note that walleye populations can vary from year to year, so it’s always a good idea to check local fishing laws and regulations before heading out. Many areas have limits on the number and size of walleye that can be caught and kept.

    When to Fish

    Another important factor to consider when walleye fishing is the time of year. In the spring and fall, walleye tend to move closer to shore and are more active during the day. When the water temperature climbs in the summer, they will move deeper and be more active during low light conditions.

    One thing to remember when fishing for walleye is the importance of patience. While frustrating, these fish can be finicky and may not always bite immediately. It’s important to experiment with different bait and lure presentations until you find what works best. For continued success, try keeping a journal or log of the conditions that certain baits worked best.

    Walleye fishing can be a fun and exciting experience for anglers of all skill levels. By understanding the habits and preferences of walleye, choosing the right gear, and using the right bait and lures, you can increase your chances of catching these elusive fish. 

    If you are looking to book your walleye trip check out our list of expert walleye guides at Venku.com