Walleyes are one of the most commonly sought-after freshwater fish. While they do not grow as large as some other game fish species, or fish as hard as other species, walleyes are nevertheless a favorite of anglers. They make excellent table fare, but they can be difficult to catch, which means a meal of walleyes is not a given after a fishing trip.
Lindy Rigs consist of a sliding sinker, swivel, leader and hook. A piece of live bait like a leech, nightcrawler or minnow is most commonly attached to the hook. Lindy Rigs are among the most natural presentation options for walleyes. Most Lindy Rigs consist of #6 hooks and 1/4- to 1/2-oz. sliding sinkers. The leader should be longer or shorter depending upon how far off the bottom the walleyes are located. Lindy Rigs are most effective when slowly trolled or drifted around the edges of weeds, drop-offs, reefs and humps.
Lead-head jigs can be used in many walleye-fishing situations, in shallow and deep water. A 1/4-oz. jig is a good place to start, though anglers fishing in shallow water might opt for a 1/8-oz. jig head, while those in deeper water might choose 1/2-oz. jigs. Live bait such as minnows and leeches work well on jigs, particularly when the walleyes are in a neutral or negative feeding mode. If they are actively feeding, a plastic grub threaded onto the jig can work just as well. The best way to fish jigs is to cast them out and allow them to sink to the bottom, then slowly bump them along the bottom as you retrieve them. Walleyes often don't hit jigs hard, so set the hook anytime you feel something different.
Crankbaits are particularly useful when searching for walleyes. They can be either cast or trolled to cover large amounts of water. Some anglers use crankbaits only when they are sure walleyes are actively feeding. But they are missing out on some prime opportunities--crankbaits can elicit reaction bites from walleyes in neutral or negative feeding modes. A good way to fish crankbaits is to troll them as fast as you can while still making sure they run well. Troll them around edges of weeds, drop-offs, humps and reefs. When walleyes are actively feeding in a particular area--like on top of a small rock pile, for example--casting crankbaits can be a productive technique.
Slip bobber rigs
There are times when walleyes are tightly bunched in a confined area, or when they will only bite a bait that isn't moving at all. In both instances, a piece of live bait (leech, nightcrawler or minnow) fished below a slip bobber can be productive. Set the bobber so your bait hangs just off the bottom--or just above the depth at which the walleyes would be holding--and cast it to where you believe the walleyes to be. Give the bobber a twitch every now and then to impart a small amount of erratic action on your bait.