How to Catch River Pike & Walleye

How to Catch River Pike & Walleye
River pike and walleye are common species of fish found in freshwater locations across the country. While walleye are fairly tame fish that give up quickly, river pike are more forceful. River pike fight hard when caught, which can make for a thrilling fishing experience. The fish may be different, but both species are attracted by the same type of bait. Learning the right type of bait to use and how to get the fish onto your line will help you catch river pike and walleye.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Bright lures
  • Minnows (real or artificial)
  • Worms (real or artificial)
  • 1/8-oz. jig
  • Fishing net
  • Jaw spreader
Step 1
Find the right places in the water for fishing. During warmer months, fishing near the shore is best. Walleye and river pike prefer quiet areas with a lot of cover, such as shallow riverbeds. Areas with a lot of weeds and debris are good places to start, but also look in and around tributaries and sloughs. When temperatures cool, look more toward the middle of bodies of water. The fish move farther away from the shore in search of warmer water.
Step 2
Use lures that attract walleye or river pike. Brightly colored lures work best because the fish don't like the colors and attack them. In terms of bait, real or artificial worms and minnows work well. The movement of the bait will catch the attention of the fish, especially during spawning season.
Step 3
Attach a 1/8-oz. jig to your line and toss it into the water. Move the line quickly and rapidly to catch the attention of the fish. The movement will cause walleye and river pike to attack the jig because they will be irritated by the movement. Use a heavier jig in summer and a lighter one in cooler months.
Step 4
Wait for any sign of movement on the end of the line. Walleye are less forceful than river pike and will often tug gently on the line instead of pulling it directly out of your hands. Slowly pull the line back and wait until you see the walleye near the surface of the water. Then scoop it out with a fishing net.
Step 5
Look for signs that something is pulling hard on your line, which may indicate a river pike. Bringing in a river pike involves a little bit of a fight, so pull the line in slowly and look for the fish. Once you see the river pike, let the line out a little and then pull it back. Continue doing this until the fish stops fighting. Place a jaw spreader in the pike's mouth to prevent it from biting you after you pull it in.

Article Written By Jennifer Eblin

Jennifer Eblin has been a full-time freelance writer since 2006. Her work has appeared on several websites, including Tool Box Tales and Zonder. Eblin received a master's degree in historic preservation from the Savannah College of Art and Design.

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