Walleye Facts – Fishing For Walleye
Fishing for walleye is appealing to many anglers because of the challenge that it presents, and the walleye’s fantastic flaky white meat that rewards them for a successful catch. Walleye are a schooling fish that prefer rocky structure and weeds. The walleye’s keen eyesight is its primary weapon when searching for their prey. Perch is a staple of the walleye’s diet because of their poor eyesight. Strangely enough, the walleye is a member of the perch family, and yet that still doesn’t stop them from making the yellow perch a main target at feeding time.
Walleye Fish Facts
|Walleye Nicknames:||Wally, waldo, eyes, glassy eyes, yellow pike, pickerel, walleye pike|
|Walleye Range:||Walleyes’ native range spans from as far north as the Northwest Territories in Canada to as far east as the St. Lawrence River to as far south as Alabama and to as far west as South Dakota . They have been artificially stocked beyond this range into the eastern seaboard and to most all of the western states as well|
|Walleye Habitat Facts:||River systems and reservoirs, large lakes with rocky structure, weed beds near rocky drop offs|
|Walleye Spawn:||Springtime in running water right after ice out, water temperatures between 42– 48 degrees|
|Bait for Walleye Fishing:||Crankbaits, lindy rigs, live bait (leeches, minnows, night crawlers depending on the time of year), jigs with plastic grubs or twister tails|
|Primary Prey:||Other fish, primarily perch when available, alewives, leeches, crayfish occasionally|
|Supreme Fishing Times:||Early morning, late evening, cloudy and windy days|
|Walleye Size Range:||Between 14 and 30 inches usually, 15 to 18 inch walleye are ideal for eating, 30+ inch walleye are considered trophy size walleye and will be right around 10 lbs at that size|
|Table Fare:||Fantastic flaky white meat, walleye are known for their great taste and will cost you $12 to $14 for a 10 oz fillet at a restaurant. Catch yourself a 3 lb walleye and you’ve just got yourself two fillets|
|Difficulty to Catch:||Moderate|
|Initial Investment in Equipment:||Low, less than $100. Spinning rod and reel combo for around $50, fishing line, some jigs and live bait will get you started. Fishing for walleye is best done from a boat or canoe because of the structure that they school around.|
Walleye Basics – Fishing For Walleye
What Do You Need to Start Fishing for Walleye?
Spinning rod and reel, fishing line and a few jigs and live bait…that right there is all you need to get started. From this starting point you’ll want to add some crankbaits for trolling along weed edges and rocky points and reefs. Spinning lindy rigs for trolling and drifting as well as some terminal tackle including snells, sinkers, bare hooks, swivels and slip bobbers will round out a great starter walleye tackle box.
The fact about fishing for walleye is that you don’t need a bunch of elaborate fishing equipment. The best thing you can do to start fishing for walleye is to study up on their behaviors and habits. The most difficult aspect of fishing for walleye is figuring out where they are. Once you’ve found them, the fishing tackle that it takes to catch them is quite inexpensive
You will increase your luck when fishing for walleye if you have access to a boat or a canoe when fishing in lakes and reservoirs. Smaller rivers that hold walleye are accessible by shore, and a great place to start. Walleye like to school up in moving water, and below dams and wing dams are prime places for walleye. You don’t need to have a boat to fish these areas.
Where to Fish for Walleye?
Walleyes like moving water, and because of this fact, river fishing for walleye can be very productive. Focus your fishing efforts on the areas of transition between the calm pools and the fast moving rapids. These areas are generally referred to as “slack water”, and one of the walleye basics that you’ll need to be able to identify to have success when fishing for walleye. In rivers, fish for walleye below dams in the calmer areas next to the turbulent waters. You can also look for the calm pockets of water directly behind bridge pillars that provide the walleye protection from the fast moving current. Walleyes also like to school behind man made wing dams on some of the larger river systems.
Can you grasp the theme here? Most fish species like to exert as little effort as possible in search of their prey, and this is no different for walleye. Walleyes in fact are probably more apt to be found in these locations than most other species.
Lake and reservoir fishing where the water is not constantly moving in one direction, you’ll have to use a little bit more imagination. Walleyes prefer transitions. You will never find walleyes in an area that is consistently the same. You need to look for walleyes in areas of transition.
Transition of depths, transition from weeds to no weeds, transition from rocky to sandy, transitions from one type of rock structure to another, transition from fast moving water to slow moving water and transition from one water temperature to another. These are the areas on lakes and reservoirs that you need to be targeting to catch walleye.
When Should You Be Fishing for Walleye?
Walleye fishing is best when light is reduced. This means that early morning and late evening are prime times because the sun is not as bright and high in the sky. Walleyes have sensitive eyes and are more active and looking for food on cloudy days and when the wind blows. Why when the wind blows you may ask? That’s because the wind provides what is referred to as a “walleye chop” on the surface of the water. This walleye chop creates an uneven surface on the top of the water and reduces the amount of sunlight that is able to penetrate the water. This walleye chop keeps it darker under the water’s surface, and promotes more walleye activity.
Spring fishing about two weeks after the spawn is generally when the walleye fishing heats up. Look for the walleye to be in shallower water at this time of year.
In the summer, walleye will navigate their way to deeper water as the surface water temperatures rise above 65 degrees. During the summer you will find walleyes on sunken islands and rocky humps out away from shore.
Early fall walleye fishing before the lake or reservoir “turns over” the walleye can be targeted by focusing on the band of warmer water between the thermocline and the ever encroaching cooler surface water.
In later fall after the water gets colder just prior to when the ice will start forming, walleyes can be found in very shallow water right along shore. Depending on the line of latitude you’re fishing in the walleye’s range, this happens at various times of the fall.
How Big Do Walleye Get ?
Walleyes can grow to be greater than 10 lbs. There are walleyes that can reach 20 lbs, but any walleye caught over 10 lbs is considered to be a trophy walleye. Walleyes that live in the southern part of their range grow to be larger, just like most fish species. The active feeding season is longer because the lakes don’t freeze over in the south during the winter. Walleyes in the northern range take longer to grow as big as the walleyes in the south. Walleye State Records vary, but Tennessee, Kentucky and Arkansas boast the largest record walleye in North America all weighing in over 20 lbs.