How to catch Walleye: Fishing Tips for yellow pike

Kristian Ole



Walleye are a prized catch for many anglers. So knowing how to catch them can be a rewarding experience.

The best way to catch Walleye is to use a jigging technique. Use a jigging rod and reel, with a sinker or jig head and a soft-plastic bait. Cast the jigging rod and retrieve it quickly to sink the jig to the bottom. Jig the rod tip a couple of inches up and down. Watch your line closely and If you feel the unmistakable tug of a Walleye, set the hook and start reeling it in.

As an experienced angler with many years of experience in the sport, I have prepared a comprehensive guide to help you learn how to catch Walleye. I have included detailed information on the best techniques, lures, and bait, as well as tips on where to find the fish.

So, if you’re ready to learn the ropes of walleye fishing, read on!

Species Overview 

NameWalleye, The Yellow Pike, Yellow Pickerel
Latin nameSander vitreus
SizeFrom 31 inches to 42 inches
WeightFrom 20 lb to 29 lb
Where to findMinnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Michigan
Preferred seasonSummer months, Spring, and Fall
Best weatherSunny and cloudy days
TemperatureBetween 65-70° F

Gear & Setup for Walleye

Best Place to FishHumps, Boat, Shorelines, Drop-offs, Reefs
TechniqueBait Fishing, Jigging, Trolling
Best baitMinnows, Leeches, and Nightcrawlers
Best luresPaddle Tails, Crankbait, Grubs 
Fishing rod length5’5” to 6’
Fishing rod actionMedium/ Fast Action 
KnotsPalomar Knot
Fishing line12-25lb Braided line, 6-14lb Monofilament line
ReelMedium-Sized 35 Spinning Reel

Fighting the Walleye

While Walleye have no acrobatics, they can launch an impressive fight when hooked. They execute strong runs, and powerful head shakes, making them difficult to land. Walleyes also tend to dive deep and try to hide in underwater structures when hooked. It is, thus, important to have a firm grip on the rod and be ready to adjust the drag.

Additionally, it is important to remember that Walleye have sharp teeth. So it would help if you use a leader to prevent their line from being cut. As an experienced angler, I always maintain patience and steady pressure on the line to keep the fish from breaking off.

With the right tackle gear and technique, you will experience the thrill of catching a hard-fighting Walleye.

Tackle for Walleye

Tackle for walleye fishing
Image: aallm, depositphotos

When it comes to catching Walleye, the right tackle is essential. A good rod and reel combination should be lightweight and strong enough to handle the Walleye’s size and strength. 


A medium-heavy action rod with a length between 5.5 to 6 inches is ideal. This rod will provide enough backbone to handle the weight of the fish while still allowing for a good feel of the bite. The length is also important as it allows for a longer casting distance, making it easier to reach the deeper waters where Walleye hide.


I recommend a quality medium-sized 35-spinning reel with a good drag system. This will provide the strength and precision necessary to handle the fish’s powerful tug. You can also check out the best baitcasting reel for light lures.


A 12-25lb braided line is great for Walleye fishing. It is strong and abrasion resistant and has a small diameter. This allows for more lines to be held on the reel. A 6-14lb Monofilament line is also a good option, as it is more forgiving than a braided line and is less likely to break when a Walleye strikes. You can also check out the strongest fishing lines available.


Choosing the right size and weight is important when using lures for Walleye. A good rule of thumb is to use a lure that is 1/4 to 1/2 ounce in weight. This depends on the depth of the water. You can use various, including paddle tails, crankbaits, and grubs.

Overall, the right tackle can make all the difference in catching Walleye. Choosing the right gear will give you a much better chance of success. 

Where to Catch Walleye

The best places to cast your line are near rocky outcroppings, weed beds, and drop-offs. Walleye are attracted to these areas because they are typically full of food sources like minnows, crayfish, and insects. Walleyes also hide near structures like bridges, docks, and submerged logs.

You will find Walleye in most large bodies of water, including lakes, rivers, and reservoirs

Lake of the Woods in Minnesota is a prime destination for walleye anglers. It boasts deep, clear waters and an abundant population of Walleye. Anglers can find Walleye in the shallower areas of the lake near the shoreline.

Lake Winnebago in Wisconsin offers Walleye in the spring and summer months. The best fishing happens around the many islands that dot the lake.

Devils Lake in North Dakota is a shallow, nutrient-rich lake with a thriving walleye population.

The Detroit River, Michigan, is home to some of the biggest Walleye in the region, and anglers can find them in the deeper parts of the river.

No matter where you’re fishing, read the local regulations and obtain the proper permits before heading out.

Check out our map for the best fishing spots.

Fishing Techniques for Walleye

fishing technique for walleye
Image: peter77, depositphotos

Walleye fishing techniques can vary based on the season and the water conditions. During the summer months, Walleye are in shallow, weedy areas and can be caught using jigging techniques. Slow trolling or jigging over deep ledges or humps can be effective in the winter. Live bait, such as minnows, can also be used in any season.


To successfully catch a walleye, try using a jig and minnow combination. The minnow mimics a natural baitfish, while the jig provides a lifelike swimming action. Make sure to use a light jig head and fish in deeper waters. With patience and practice, you’ll be catching Walleye in no time!

Bait Fishing

Bait fishing is one of the most popular and successful techniques for catching Walleye.

You will need a light to medium action rod and reel, a hook, and your bait to set up. Popular choices include minnows, leeches, and nightcrawlers. Place the bait on the hook, and cast the line into the water where Walleye are likely to be. 

After casting, be patient and keep the line taut. When a Walleye bites, reel it in and set the hook. Walleye are aggressive feeders, so it is important to be quick and decisive when setting the hook. Once hooked, you can use a net to help land the fish. 

You can also learn more on how to cast a baitcaster accuratley here. Be sure to practice catch-and-release to help maintain fish populations.

Jigging Method

Jigging a Walleye involves using a jigging rod with a weighted lure at the end of the line.

As an experienced angler, I have successfully used the jigging method while fishing for Walleye. I would, thus, recommend using a medium-sized jig head. 

The first step you will follow is to cast out the lure and let it sink to the bottom. You will then begin to jig it up and down. Usually, jig the lure for a few seconds, then let it sit for seconds and repeat the process. 


Trolling is another exceptional fishing technique for a Walleye. When trolling a Walleye, you slowly trail a fishing line and lure behind a moving boat. 

It is important to vary the speed of the boat and the depth of the lure to ensure that the Walleye will take the bait. The speed should be slow, usually between 1.5 and 2.5 mph. You should set the depth to where Walleye resides. This is generally between 10-20 feet.

When a walleye takes the bait, slowly reel it in and set the hook. Keep the line tight and steady so that the Walleye does not escape. 

Related: How to Catch Pike: Fishing Tips For The Great Northern Pike

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About Kristian Ole

Kristian Ole Rørbye, a marine biologist and seasoned angler, shares his fishing adventures and expertise on FishingKris. Join him as he explores the world's waters, one cast at a time.

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