How to Catch Walleye in the Winter

How to Catch Walleye in the Winter
Walleye are a hard-fighting game fish native to waters in the northern United States and Canada. Because of their hearty appetites and excellent vision, Walleye can be pursued during the winter fishing season if you follow a few key strategies for tracking them down and presenting food they cannot resist.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Medium-duty rod and reel
  • Ice auger
  • Tackle
  • Lures and bait
Step 1
Go ice fishing for walleye in the coldest winter months by drilling a hole in lake ice (make sure the lake is rated safe for ice fishing).
Step 2
Bait a 1/0 or 2/0 hook with live minnows, small shad or a chunk of dead shad and lower into the hole at a depth of 10 to 15 feet.
Step 3
Fish for walleye in late winter by trolling the tributaries that feed into lakes. Walleye move into the tributaries to begin spawning and will be hungry from the exertion. Again, trolling with live bait works well, or you can try bouncing jigs off the bottom. Walleye have excellent vision, so almost any color will work so long as it resembles bait fish that live in the same body of water.
Step 4
Use an electronic fish finder to locate walleye in the winter. In deep northern lakes, their cruising depth varies with water temperature and the food supply, so your best chances of hooking into walleye will be to fish at the right depth.
Step 5
Fish for walleye around "slack water"--slow-moving areas of water around rivers where pools and eddies form naturally. Walleye often lurk in these pools during the winter months when their metabolism is slower and they are lazier, waiting for a meal to pass by. Retrieve baits in a slow, jerky motion past pools and eddies to entice a strike.

Tips & Warnings

Live bait is your best weapon for catching walleye in winter, followed by bottom fishing with jigs.

Article Written By James Clark

James Clark began his career in 1985. He has written about electronics, appliance repair and outdoor topics for a variety of publications and websites. He has more than four years of experience in appliance and electrical repairs. Clark holds a bachelor's degree in political science.

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