The walleye is such a popular game fish that many states have comprehensive stocking programs to keep populations in place in various lakes. Ice fishing for this species is both exciting and difficult, with the habits of the walleye making it necessary to go after the fish after dark. The individual after a walleye through the ice needs to know as much as possible about the correct equipment and tactics to catch the elusive fish that has a torpedo-like shape.
The angler increases her chances of a successful walleye trip by having her tip-ups and jigging rods rigged properly. Tip-ups should have at least 75 yards of Dacron braided line spooled on them, with a fluorocarbon leader five feet in length attached to the Dacron. Tie a No. 6 hook to the leader. The best jigging rod for walleyes is about 30 inches long and a medium action type. This provides the angler with enough strength in the rod to handle the fight a walleye can dish out. If the reel has a reliable drag system, the angler can get away with using braided line as light as 6-pound test, but up to 10-pound test is advisable if the angler wants to feel a bit more confident when a big walleye hooks up. A good choice of hook is a No. 4, but if state regulations allow treble hooks these can reduce missed fish. Medium sized shiners and large minnows are great walleye bait. Angler jigging for walleye employ jigging spoons tipped with a piece of a minnow
The walleye is the rare fish that has excellent eyesight in total darkness conditions. This is due to the make-up of the walleye's eye, which has a series of rods that collect light in them to enhance night vision. This means that the prime time to fish for walleyes is during the evening. Walleye typically bite for half an hour before it gets very dark and then go into a lull before returning to bite later on in the evening. Seeing the tip-ups on the ice in the dark is problematic but becomes much easier with the use of either reflective tape on the flags or special battery operated light and buzzers that alert the angler to a bite. It pays to keep track of the times that walleye seem to bite on the lake the angler fishes so he can have a better idea of when to get out on the ice.
The best bet for finding walleyes under the ice is to concentrate on the shallow weed beds in lakes where walleyes live. These areas should be around 5 to 8 feet deep but be relatively close to deeper water. It is prudent to scout a lake long before first ice to locate these areas with weed beds nearby. A global positioning system can make life much easier when trying to find the spot when out on the ice but if this is not possible then the individual must take notes of various features on the shore to find the exact spot. When planning to fish at night the ice fisherman should drill holes with his auger well before the sun goes down to avoid spooking the fish. By having plenty of holes in various spots the angler can move around to where the walleye's bite is the hottest but not scare the fish by drilling.