Trolling is an efficient way to cover an expanse of water quickly. Use a three-way swivel and planer board or downrigger to maintain your desired depth for bait fishing. Jigging can be an effective method for fishing murky waters. Walleye fish tend to move into shallower areas during windy conditions, so keep an eye out for wind-blown humps and breaklines as you search.
Understand Walleye Habits
Walleye are prolific feeders that devour minnows, leeches, nightcrawlers, bait fish, and much more. Thus, understanding their habits is paramount to improving your walleye fishing techniques. It’s generally best to keep lures close to the bottom when targeting walleye in the spring and summer months. A jig rigged with small minnows, crawfish, or live nightcrawler is usually effective; trolling with a spinner and bottom bouncer may also keep bottom-oriented walleye within striking range. As fall approaches, walleye will move upriver in search of food. Look for areas with multiple structural features within a relatively confined area – reefs, sand bars, creek channels, wing dams and islands can provide resting areas out of current and opportunities to catch unsuspecting baitfish swimming by.
Choose the Right Equipment
Walleyes feed on baitfish, making live bait the optimal method of capture. Artificial lures may also prove successful at drawing in walleye. Crankbaits are essential tools in any walleye angler’s arsenal because they resemble the movements and appearance of walleye prey species that they feed upon while also producing noise and vibration to attract their attention. Jigging is an increasingly popular technique used to present your bait near the bottom, using lifts, drops, and pauses to trigger strikes from walleye fishers. Jigging works particularly well during spring when walleye are feeding heavily on condensed structures such as points. Trolling can be an excellent way to catch walleye, particularly when water temperatures surpass 60 degrees. Look out for rocky points, rock bars, drop-offs, and humps, as well as steep breaks in river channels; use a medium-action graphite rod in the 7-foot range coupled with a baitcast reel spooled with 8 to 10-pound line for optimal trolling results.
Walleye can be caught using various baits and tackle, with one of the most effective techniques being jigging in deep water. Jigging involves fishing near the bottom using a small jig or crankbait while moving it vertically along your rod tip – an action that mimics small baitfish moving erratically in their environment and may trigger aggressive walleye bites. Drift fishing can be an extremely effective strategy in windy or rocky bank environments. Combining crankbait or worm harness spinner baits with minnows or full leech full slip floats is one effective method to coax walleye into biting. When larger female walleye release their eggs, fishing a full leech under a slip bobber can be very effective at times of spawning and post-spawning. Additionally, this strategy works well in smaller bodies of water where perch and panfish populations are abundant, and your bait may become the target of predators.
One of the best ways to hone your walleye fishing skills is through mastery of jigging. Jigging involves moving a lure vertically in the water to mimic fleeing baitfish. Jigging is most frequently practiced on rivers, though lakes and reservoirs may provide equally good conditions when walleye are close enough for you to see your lure without being disturbed by your boat’s shadow. Jigging requires targeting specific spots with your lures for maximum success. Aim for transitions between cover and structure, such as an edge of weed line or rocky point; walleye congregate here to ambush unwary baitfish passing by. For best results, utilize jigs with either grub- or swimbait-style tails; this will provide walleye with baitfish appearance while adding scent and movement.
Though jigging has its place, trolling is an efficient and fast way to quickly cover large portions of a lake and cover troublesome weather or finicky walleye. Early season walleye fishing techniques involve trolling with a worm on a slip bobber or minnow-imitating plug, while as the season advances lead-head jigs with plastic grub bodies or tungsten jigs and spinner harnesses are both proven performers. For optimal walleye trolling results, use medium-heavy spinning gear equipped with 6- to 8-pound monofilament line rigged on medium-heavy spinning gear rigged with 6- to 8-pound monofilament line. This light line makes it easier for walleye to swallow your bait or lure more readily. A line-counter reel is also an invaluable asset when trolling, helping determine the ideal depth at which to fish, repeating productive patterns once found, and providing precision when experimenting with various speed settings.
Slip bobbers are a simple tool that greatly enhances your walleye fishing abilities. By suspending it inches above the bottom, trout can cruise along midway in the water column while bass swim up through the top third of it all for increased success. Quickly create this presentation using a pre-tied slipknot, readily available at sporting goods stores and bait shops, or fluorocarbon line or monofilament that glides easily through the bobber stop string. This presentation can be particularly effective early in the season and under difficult conditions, including cold fronts, dropping water temperatures, and muddy conditions that disrupt bites. A simple squirming leech rigged with a plain hook often turns the tables, and this simple method has become an indispensable staple on many Midwest natural lakes. To master it properly, take time to monitor depth constantly and re-rig if necessary.
Fishing electronics can help improve your walleye fishing skills considerably. Electronics allow you to identify structure and cover in the water and which types of baits will be most successful. For instance, on a rocky point with deep water behind it you are likely to find walleyes ambushing baitfish which float close by the ledge and ambush them before retreating back down below. Jigging can effectively present bait to walleyes, particularly during spring when they feed on dense structure-like points. Jigging involves lifting, dropping, and pausing to attract strikes from potential fish. Stickbaits (minnow imitating plugs), commonly referred to as stickbaits, are another effective walleye lure. You can cast or troll them, and their array of colors and shapes makes for great variety. When fishing a stickbait be sure that your retrieve is slow and steady – too vigorous of rod pumps may pull the bait from a walleye‘s mouth!
Experiment with Lure Colors
An effective lure color choice can make a dramatic impactful on walleye success. Bright baits such as white, chartreuse, or hot pink often perform best in low light conditions while black, brown, and neutral tones may work better for clear water conditions. When trolling, use a side planner board to carry baits off to the sides of the boat rather than directly overhead so they flutter in their strike zones without being disturbed by outboard motor shadows or wake.Finding walleyes begins by finding structures they like to hang out at, such as humps, rock piles and sunken reefs – and don’t be afraid to experiment with different locations and fishing techniques; doing this is one way you can improve your walleye fishing techniques!
Pay Attention to the Weather
Walleye are known to hold tight to the bottom, but are also actively feeding in the middle of the water column. Slow trolling with an aggressive crankbait or spinner rig over rocks piles and weed beds may entice reaction strikes from walleye. Slip bobber rigs baited with minnow or leach are another effective strategy for river walleye fishing at night near spawning areas or transition zones such as river bends. Jig and twister combinations or baitfish imitation crankbaits may also work effectively here. Vertical jigging is an effective technique for fishing river and lake walleyes from boats. This method keeps your lure suspended vertically beneath the boat, giving greater presentation control with fewer snags than casting. When used effectively, vertical jigging can also increase strike rate by allowing you to jig at speeds and cadences that trigger bites, making this an invaluable skill to develop if fishing from boats for walleye.