Walleye Fishing Tactics - Recommended Tips for Catching Walleye

By: Daniel Eggertsen

Anyone who has fished for Walleye, knows it can be a real challenge. There are days when no matter what you do, you just can not seem to find the fish! On days like that, it seems it is best to get back to basics and try the really simple things that have been time tested for effectiveness. When you couple simple, proven technique with a good understanding of how walleye tick, you can achieve good results even on the most quiet bodies of water.

If you do your homework and get to know this fussy fish, you will be armed with the knowledge to locate your target no matter what time of year it is. If you understand the behaviors and habits of walleye, the hard part is over, and the fun part may begin. Even when they are first born, walleye eat live bait. Beginning with planktons, they move up to insects, and graduate to smaller fish.
Minnows usually make up the bulk of an adult walleye's diet. For this reason, minnows are always a good choice, and live bait is pretty much a foregone conclusion if you want to catch walleye.

Early each year, when the water temperature gets into the mid to high forties, walleye move upstream into the shallows of lake tributaries to spawn.

If you are looking for spawning walleye, the temperature should be your best indication that it is time to go fishing! After they spawn, the begin to move back to the deeper waters. These waters tend to be very clear, and obviously, the fish can see you better. For this reason, fishing in low light times such a predawn, dusk, or overcast days seems to produce good catches. Remember, especially during the light of the day, that fishing deeper can produce good catches, even in bright sunlight. Just target shadowy areas with structure.

Later in the fall, as the temperature begins to drop, and daylight hours shorten, walleye often begin to move back to more shallow areas looking for food. Look in the mouths of rivers, bays, reefs, bars, submerged islands and points. Check near inlets and outlets, and pay attention to areas with structure such as rocks, drop offs, rock walls, and weed beds. Choose areas where the surface is solid rather than softer, muddy bottom areas. Walleye also like to hang out down current or down wind on windy days and lie in wait for these forces of nature to carry their dinner to them!

Often the best choice for lake fishing for walleye is a simple crank bait on eight to twelve pound line. If you are fishing shallow water for easily spooked walleye, choose a side planer board. This will carry your plug away from the sound and shadow of the boat to an area where the walleye will be less skittish.

Downriggers are also a good choice, particularly when your walleye are lying suspended in the water. A downrigger will allow you to control the depth of the line and keep it at the particular depth at which the fish are hanging. A depth finder is particularly useful for this.

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