Walleye fishing is a pastime that many outdoor enthusiasts take part in. Not only are they fun to catch but they are also one of the most sought-after fish to eat. Many people target walleye, but not everyone is able to catch a freezer full. Below I have listed some helpful tips and tricks to increase your catch rate.
Fishing from Shore
Walleye can be successfully caught from the shore in the early morning and during dusk hours. Use a 3/8 to 1/2 ounce jig head tipped with either a plastic worm with a spiral tail, or a minnow hooked through the head. Cast as far out as you can and let it slowly sink to the bottom. Retrieve the jig head by either reeling at a very slow rate, just enough to spin the tail on the worm, or jig it slowly in by using short thrusts with the tip of your rod. A walleye will sometimes strike the jig head aggressively, or you may just only be able to feel weight on the end of your line. Set the hook and reel in your catch. I have had the most luck using a white Mr. Twister, but any color or worm variation will suffice.
This same tactic can be used when fishing with any stick bait. Use any suspending, or driving lure that can reach a 5 to 8-foot depth. Walk the shoreline and cast out into the body of water. Slowly retrieve your lure. You can either walk the lure back to you by jerking the fishing pole, or reel it in straight. Both can be extremely effective.
Fishing from a Boat, Kayak or Canoe
Trolling for walleyes is a fantastic way to target bigger fish. Troll at a speed of 2 to 2.5 mph, (you may need to go either faster or slower depending on the time of year, but 2- 2.5 is a good average speed). Let out line until your lures begin to hit bottom, and then reel up until you are only hitting bottom occasionally. Make passes with your boat next to the shoreline, in depths of 10 to 30 feet. Look for structure such as ledges or drop-offs, submerged trees, rock piles, or road beds and target these areas. Walleyes generally seek cover in these areas and can often be found schooled there. Use any lure that resembles shad, and you will start catching walleyes.
Worm harnesses and bouncing for walleyes is probably the most successful way to increase your catch numbers. Attach a 1.5-ounce bottom bouncer to your line, and tie on a worm harness. Tip the harness with a night crawler, and break off the tip about an inch from the shank of your hook. Drop the bouncer until you hit bottom, and troll at a speed of 1 mph. Adjust your line until the bouncer is periodically hitting bottom as this will ensure your bottom bouncer is standing vertical and lifting your harness off the bottom. A walleye will take the harness and swim with it a while before completely eating it. Do not set the hook on the first nibble. Let them take the bait and you will begin to feel weight on the bouncer. When that moment occurs, set the hook and reel in your catch.
Catching walleye is an endeavor that takes a lot of practice and patience. You will lose your fair share of fish, but do not get discouraged. Fish where others are fishing, look for structure, put forth the time to learn how to fish for them, and you will become successful.