Walleye 101: Tips for Catching Old Marble Eyes
Where ever walleye are found you can count on them being near the top of the list when it comes to most popular game fish. Not only are they found in a variety of habitat, they are known for their fighting ability and taste great too. But they are also challenging to catch, known to be finicky, so it important you come prepared.
One of the reasons walleye are so popular is their ability to adapt to a variety of waters, making them accessible to a wide number of anglers. But it is important to remember that they will not be found in the same conditions on each water.
- Lakes – due to their size it can be difficult to locate walleye in a new lake. Focus on shallow weed beds, flat, humps and drop offs. Basically, any change in contour is a likely hide. In the spring start with those areas in shallow water, the places that the sun will warm first. As the season progresses follow the walleye as they move deeper and deeper. Reverse the process as fall, and cooler water temperatures, arrive.
- Rivers – when searching a river for walleye start deep. Remember that deep is a relative term and depends on the overall depth of the surrounding waters, it may be 15ft or it may be an 8ft pocket. Cover, whether natural or manmade, will make a specific pool even more attractive. There are any dams near by these should always be the first spot checked as they restrict upstream movement, causing fish to gather on the
Walleye can be caught from shore or by boat, casting lures or live bait and even when trolling. Here are some tips for each method
- Gear – most situations require a similar set up; 6 ½ to 7’ rod with a medium / medium heavy action, baitcaster or spinning reel and 8-12 lb. line (depending on conditions and size of fish you expect to catch.) If trolling I suggest going heavier, with a 7-9 ft. rod in medium heavy action and baitcaster spooled with 12 lb. line.
- Live bait – live bait is always the preference as it allows you to give the walleye exactly what they are searching for. For this to be most successful you need bait that is found locally, either caught yourself or from a local source. You also need a means of keeping this bait alive, otherwise you a really defeating the purpose.
- Artificial lures -walleye can be caught on a wide range of artificials including jigs, blade baits, crankbaits and stickbaits. Again, it is important to match the local baitfish when you select an artificial although you can add a little bit of color of flash.
Although your specific tactics will change depending on exactly where you are fishing, here are some general tips to get you started:
- Walleye are most active during periods of low light. Dusk, dawn, overcast days and even moon lite nights are your best bet.
- Walleye tend to hand near or just off the bottom, usually within a foot or two. Start with baits that target this depth and then adjust as needed.
Good luck, good fishing!