The walleye: notorious for being both a picky eater and a sneaky prey. If you’ve ever gone walleye fishing before, you know that these fish can easily fool a fisherman by lightly hitting or nibbling on the bait without actually latching on to the hook. That can be frustrating, but don’t let it get you down. Catching walleyes is far from impossible — you simply need to know how to reach them. With these walleye fishing tips, those fish won’t stand a chance against you.
Walleye Fishing Tips and Tricks
1. Give Them Variety.
Like a toddler at the dinner table, walleyes don’t always want to eat what you’re feeding them at first. Bring a couple of different options for bait, both live and artificial, for your best chance at a good catch. Even if you swear by live bait, it’s best to bring a backup option or you risk going home empty-handed.
2. Go Deep.
Walleyes don’t seem to be big fans of sunlight. You will usually find them in deep, dark waters. Set up shop for the day where the water is deep, and you’ll have better luck catching walleyes. However, there are a couple of exceptions to this guideline: When the water level rises or when it’s time to spawn, many walleyes will head closer to shallower areas. Not everyone realizes this, so the fish often go ignored (meaning you have the perfect opportunity to reel some in). If you’ve had a rainy couple of days, try heading closer to the shore.
3. Become a Night Owl.
Because walleyes are so sensitive to sunlight, consider planning your fishing trip for nighttime. Some fisherman find walleyes are easier to catch when the sun goes away for the night. Just be sure to use a light, so you can actually find what you’re looking for. You can also use a submersible light to attract baitfish, like minnow and herring, which will entice walleye to come near.
4. Know the Seasons.
Pay attention to the calendar, because walleyes have different habits throughout the year.
- Spring: During the day, your best chance for catching walleyes is heading toward deep waters. However, you might also find them closer to shore. They like to hide in sandy, grassy, rocky areas in the spring, as this is where they spawn.
- Summer: Because the sun is so high in the summer, walleyes head toward water even deeper than what they normally inhabit. To catch them, you need to do the same.
- Fall: Unless it’s early autumn and the weather is still fairly hot, fall isn’t the best time for walleye fishing. When the weather gets chillier, water plants begin to die. This affects the oxygen levels in lakes, so walleyes start to head to rivers and open water. You can still catch them there, but it’s a bit more difficult than it is in a lake.
Walleyes aren’t the easiest fish to catch, but that doesn’t mean reeling them in is impossible. Now that you’re armed with the best walleye fishing tips, you’ll start to see more of these finicky fish filling up your bucket.
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