5 Fishing Tactics for Walleye

Last Updated: 17.11.19


Walleyes are one of the most fun fish to catch since they give anglers exciting and fast-paced action, but the thing is that catching them is not always easy which is why learning a few new tactics can prove very useful.

This fish is found almost anywhere throughout the US, be it in lakes, rivers, or reservoirs so you can put your women’s waders and a comfy Greek fisherman hat and find the right spot to practice the techniques you’ll learn in this article.




This versatile tactic is probably the most popular since it can be used in almost all water depths, seasons, and conditions. You can do jigging with spoons, live bait, or soft plastics. No matter what you use at the end of your line, the jigging technique is still basically the same no matter the lure you use.

To set up a jig rig simply tie your jog head or jigging spoon to your main line and you are ready to go. Some fishers prefer to attach a swivel and leader material to the line before they tie the jig or spoon, but for most applications tying onto the main line is the best approach.

When fishing in shallower and calmer water, you should use lighter jigs and spoons. Conversely, when fishing in deeper water and heavy currents, heavier jigs and spoons should be preferred.  To summarize, you want to get just enough weight to get your lure down without limiting its action and movement.

For walleye, most jigging is done vertically, directly below your boat. There is very little casting involved as you will simply need to bail on your spinning reel and let the spoon or jig drop until it reaches the bottom of the water.

When you start to feel that the jig has hit the bottom, you can close the bail on your spinning reel and begin to reel in any slack until the line is perfectly tight. Once the jig is on the bottom, you can raise the rod tip gently between 1 and 3 feet and drop it again down.

This movement is done to get the attention of any nearby walleye. Continue the action with brief pauses until you feel a bite.


Casting and retrieving

The cast and retrieve technique is most effective at dusk and dawn when the fish move back into the shallows to feed. To set up a cast and retrieve rig you will simply need to tie on a lure to the main line and cast away. You can choose the lure that best suits the situation, and you may switch between them as you fish to find the one that will catch the walleye’s attention.

When choosing a lure for cast and retrieve, the size, color, and action in the water should be your main considerations. One good advice is to use a lure that imitates the forage of your local walleye. You may start with natural colors such as whites, grays, or silvers, and if they are not effective you can switch to brighter and flashier lures.

As mentioned above, cast and retrieve fishing should be done near the shoreline at dusk and dawn. Look for structures like sunken logs, stumps, jetties, rock piles, or flooded timber. Once you find an appropriate area, you’ll simply need to cast your lure near it and start your retrieve. Remember to give your lure time to sink.



One of the most effective ways to target walleyes is by using a technique known as trolling. What this tactic entails is pulling baits behind your boat that will allow you to cover more area across the vast expanse of open water that walleyes like to occupy in the warm water months of the year.

The tactic is very effective but you need to be aware of local laws since this technique is not legal everywhere. Even in places where it is legal it still remains largely underutilized mostly because it has a bit of a learning curve that can make novice anglers feel a bit discouraged.

One useful tip is to remember to change speeds since that will improve your chances of a successful catch. You should not be afraid to speed up or slow down if you are marking bait and fish but you are not hooking up.

Similarly, you should not be afraid to go shallow. While there might be quite a bit of walleye in the deep, the vast majority and the bigger ones will be found where the food is, namely in shallow waters. Look for shallow flats that are adjacent to weed edges, creek channels, and bars and reefs.



Using a slip bobber rig

Using a slip bobber rig is a very effective tactic when you’re looking to draw walleyes that hide at a certain depth on structures such as rock piles, submerged humps, or cribs. By using this technique, you will be able to set the bait at a preset depth to get it right in the walleye’s face.

You can either make your own homemade slip bobber rigs or, if you are looking for a more convenient solution, you can purchase them from your favorite shop.


Getting the right spinning reel

When fishing for walleyes, getting the right spinning reels can change everything since this tool is essential for jigging and trolling. If you plan to do a lot of trolling, you should look for a reel that has a higher line capacity and fast retrieve speed.

Amateur anglers should consider getting a spincast reel for their first fishing sessions since the easy-to-use thumb-button casting of this type of reel will make it much easier for them to focus on catching the fish. What’s more, you will also no longer have to worry about the line tangling up.



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