Walleye Fishing Techniques

Walleye Fishing TechniquesAnglers looking for both a challenging catch and a tasty meal value the walleye above almost any other freshwater fish. Found in most large bodies of water in the northern United States, the walleye takes specialized skills to catch. Variations in lures, depths and times of day affect your chances of capturing a prize walleye.

Night Fishing

The larger female walleye tend to stick to the bottom during the day, coming in to shallower water at night to spawn or feed. For those looking to catch something large, the best time for walleye fishing is at dusk or shortly thereafter.
Fishing at night should involve short casts, since the walleye is more likely to pursue immediate movement than follow a long draw. Because walleye come to the surface at night you'll also want to keep your casts shallow, as if an insect is skimming the water's surface.

Walleye Chop

Walleye chop is the name given to short, choppy waves produced by winds between 5 and 10 miles per hour. Unlike other species, which rise to the surface when the water is still, walleye feed near the surface when this chop exists because it interferes with light entering the water. That gives the walleye an advantage over prey that can't see as well or maneuver on the water's surface. This makes it more likely that walleye will pursue prey contrasted against the surface. With this in mind, cast far and drag the lure in a straight line along the surface, allowing the walleye time to spot the movement. Pick distinctive shaped lures, such as crayfish or worms during the day to create a silhouette the walleye is familiar with.


Walleye have decent eyesight, so color matters when it comes to your lure. The best strategy is to use something garish and shiny when the water is cloudy to catch the walleye's attention. Pick lures with shiny metal surfaces or neon patterns. When the water is really clear, pick a more muted lure, since the walleye is unlikely to go for anything that appears too unnatural when they can see it clearly. Clear water is a good opportunity to draw walleye in with motion, making clear smooth water the best time to use lures with spinners or other moving parts.

Light Line

Mike McClelland, a professional walleye fisherman, suggested using light line to Field and Stream magazine. After years of studying the fish, he noticed that they tended to eat by inhaling their prey, lures included. A lighter test line, 4 or 6 pound, makes it easier for the walleye to inhale your lure, so you can be sure you have it hooked. This same principle also should inform how you set the line. With most fish, your technique will depend upon a quick jerk as soon as the line twitches. With a walleye, the line twitch is likely to be the fish's attempt to inhale the lure, so you should wait for a second and more firm confirmation before setting the hook.

Article Written By Louie Doverspike

Based in Seattle, Louie Doverspike has been a professional writer since 2004. His work has appeared in various publications, including "AntiqueWeek" magazine, the "Prague Post" and "Seattle Represent!" Doverspike holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Hamilton College.

Don't Miss a Thing!

All our latest outdoor content delivered to your inbox once a week.



We promise to keep your email address safe and secure.