Best 10 Fishing Reels for Walleye [2021 Updated]

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The selection of the perfect reel for walleye fishing depends on your fishing style and preferences. What may work well for others may not work for you. However, there are some basic things to understand about reels in general and reels that you need for walleye. Here we have put together Fishing Reels for Walleye Buying Guide that should help you understand this critical fishing gear.

Walleyes are one of the best freshwater fish but also one of the trickiest to catch. That makes a case for deploying the right fishing gears and techniques. It’s also important to know where precisely the walleyes are in a lake.

Do fishing reels play a role in improving an angler’s chances of catching walleyes? In this post, we will focus our discussion on Fishing Reels for Walleye Buying Guide.

If you are looking for more equipment for walleye please read our guide on Walleye Lures and Walleye Rods.

The reel should be considered with the rod it is going to be used

If you are planning to fish Walleye and you have not yet bought any fishing gear here is some advice. Instead of focusing on a rod or reel, you should get a combo that’s optimized for Walleye fishing. You will not have to fork out too much. A budget of $75 to $125 can get you a good combo of rod and reel for your walleye fishing. 

What you should aim for is a medium-length (6’6″) and fast-action rod and a medium-sized reel (35). With this combination, you will be able to fish with all prevalent techniques – trolling, spinning, and jigging — for walleye fishing.

But if trolling is off your menu, you can do well with a 6′ medium light and fast action rod paired with a medium-sized reel (30). This kind of setup will give you feedback on even subtle strikes. Walleyes can be easily missed even as they slurp the bait.

For walleye fishing, you need a reel that is tough and high-range. It should have a strong metal body, a bail wire, side plate, and rotor. This build quality will ensure the gear is durable and going to withstand nasty fishing conditions.

But while preference should be given to good build and durability, you should be wary of too heavy reels. They are going to create many problems for you. The best option is to choose a reel that makes a fine balance between durability and weight.

Some important points to consider:

  • The reels that use carbon washers rather than felt washers tend to have a longer lifespan.
  • When you choose a more powerful drag, you should make sure its power does not affect the smoothness of the operation.
  • A reel with anti-reverse technology is a better choice as it removes the back play once you have set the hook.
  • A reel with sealed ball bearings is considered better as it does not promote corrosion and rusting.  

How to Choose a Walleye Reel?

This depends on what technique you are going to use for catching walleyes. The two most popular techniques are casting and trolling.

You can also choose both of these techniques. The best reel for walleye will vary on the fishing technique you use.

Casting

If you plan to cast spinners, jigs, soft baits, and similar lures, you will need the right size of spinning reels. This kind of reel will help you fish walleye even in windy conditions that Walleye like. This is a proven technique to fish Walleye from Missouri to Great Lakes.

But if trolling is on your mind, you will need a spinning reel that offers greater precision. A conventional reel with a line counter is a better option. The right-sized reel can control the trolling depth more precisely.

For shorter duration of walleye fishing, both conventional and spinning tackle can handle the situation. But if you make your reel align with what you are going to do the most, your fishing experience will improve. 

Capacity

While there are many options when it comes to the line that you can use for your Walleye fishing, your walleye reel should be big enough to hold about 120-150 yards of 8-pound mono. A little variation can be okay but you surely don’t need ultralight or too heavy reels.

Drag

The drag function of your reel is very important. It puts a consistent resistance to the movement of the fish. It is as important for walleye as it is for any other fish. For walleye, you don’t need to use a heavy line. This means you need a low but smooth and reliable drag. The maximum drag that your reel can exert on the fish is of no use as far as walleye is concerned. You will not need to use the drag to its maximum capacity. For even the most powerful fish, a drag of 15-pound is just enough. For walleye, however, a much lower drag can work well just that it has to be smooth.

The drag setting of your reel should be about 1/3 of your line’s tensile strength. A good drag walleye reel will release the line smoothly. There should be no skipping or binding no matter if you are using a 12-pound braid or 6-pound mono.

Gear Ratios

The gear ratio is another important consideration while choosing the best reel for walleye fishing. A gear ratio tells you how much of the line is produced from the spool by each crank. For example, a gear ratio of 5.5: 1 indicates that the spool spins 5.5b times by each crank.      

The gear ratio matters when you have suddenly a lot of line to the wind. This can happen when you are casting far away in the water or when fishing the bottom. In these two cases, a high gear ratio and high retrieval rates will save time. Sometimes, a big walleye fish you had been fighting may suddenly turn towards your boat. In this case, it is important to keep your fishing line tight. For this, you need to have a high retrieval rate.

Best 10 Fishing Reels for Walleye [Most Popular This Month]

Bestseller No. 1
KastKing Centron Spinning Reel,Size 500 Fishing Reel
  • GREAT VALUE - Loaded with features yet low on price. KastKing Summer/Centron offers the best value...at any level. The KastKing Summer Fishing Reel turns any angler into a PRO.
  • LIGHTWEIGHT - narrow graphite frame design and computer balancing system combine high performance in a compact Spinning Reel. KastKing Summer/Centron makes an awesome gift for anybody who loves...
  • HIGH POWERED - KastKing Summer/Centron spinning reel's Superior Drag System offers incredible stopping power up to 17.5LBs. It has a hardened metal main shaft, perfect mesh drive gear and precision...
Bestseller No. 2
Penn Pursuit III Spinning Fishing Reel, Black/Silver, 2500
  • HT 100 carbon fiber drag washers
  • Lightweight and corrosion resistant graphite body
  • Sealed drag system: Sealed drag washers, always lubricated, always smooth. Slow oscillation gearing: Improves line lay and minimizes line twist
Bestseller No. 3
Piscifun Flame Spinning Reels Light Weight Ultra Smooth Powerful Spinning Fishing Reels (2000...
  • Exquisite Appearance - The matte black body paired with red aluminum spool, perfectly indicate its name Flame. You will be flattered by having this sharp and modern spinning fishing reels with unique...
  • Lightweight - Thanks to the relatively narrow hollow graphite body and the lightweight reel gears, the Piscifun Flame spinning reels light to 8.5oz, makes you enjoy the ultimate fishing trips
  • Incredible Smooth - 9 quality ball bearings plus one roller bearing paired with precision gears engagement, you will enjoy the buttery smooth performance on the Flame spinning fishing reel. Better to...
Bestseller No. 4
KastKing Sharky III Spinning Fishing Reel,Size 3000
  • NEXT-GEN - KastKing Sharky III spinning reels look great. They are built tough to land trophy fish in saltwater and freshwater. Sharky III are superb lightweight fishing reels built with a high...
  • PURE POWER - You will love Sharky III spinning reel's amazing best-in-class up to 39.5LBs / 18KG of smooth, reliable triple disc carbon fiber drag, oversized stainless-steel main shaft, and stronger...
  • K.I.S.S. - Sharky III spinning reels are sealed with a KISS! Sharky III has a unique protection water resistant design for its spool, body, and rotor - K.I.S.S. (KastKing Intrusion Shield System). It...
Bestseller No. 5
Pflueger PRESXTSP30X President XT Spinning Reel, 30
  • 10 bearing System - corrosion resistant stainless ball bearings
  • Aluminum main shaft - 30% lighter than stainless steel
  • Aluminum pinion gear - 60% lighter than traditional brass gear
Bestseller No. 6
Abu Garcia Zata Spinning Fishing Reel
  • 10 stainless steel ball bearings + 1 roller bearing provides smooth operation
  • Lightweight aluminum frame
  • Rocket line management system provides better control of all types of fishing lines
Bestseller No. 7
Penn 1338218 Battle II Spinning Reel, 3000
  • Durable, high range spinning reel ideal for conquering big saltwater game fish
  • Full metal body, side plate, and rotor and heavy duty aluminum bail wire offer exceptional durability
  • Multi stop anti-reverse and ball bearing deliver smooth performance
Bestseller No. 8
KastKing Megatron Spinning Reel,Size 3000 Fishing Reel
  • MOST POWERFUL TRANSFORMER IN FISHING – KastKing MegaTron transforms the industry with the roll out of another great freshwater and saltwater fishing reel. The MegaTron spinning reel brings you a...
  • RIGID ALUMINUM SKELETAL FRAME - The KastKing MegaTron spin fishing reel is built for enormous strength and endless durability. The MegaTron aerospace aluminum alloy skeletal design frame is more than...
  • PRO LEVEL QUALITY GEARS – MegaTron spinning reels provide maximum performance and strength for all tournament anglers looking for victory. The main drive gear is made of durable zinc alloy matched...
Bestseller No. 9
PLUSINNO Spinning Reel, 9+1 BB Fishing Reel, Ultra Smooth Powerful, CNC Aluminum Spool for Saltwater...
  • SUPER SMOOTH - 9 High Quality ball bearings and 1 anti-reverse bearing, a strong drag and braking system combine to give you a silky smooth, balanced operation for all-day fishing comfort and...
  • POWERFUL - PLUSINNO fishing reel's Superior Drag System offers incredible stopping power - up to 19.8LBS. Hardened metal main shaft, high quality drive gear gives you the power you need to land that...
  • LIGHTWEIGHT & COMPACT - This PLUSINNO Fishing Reel is manufactured with an Ultra-light CNC aluminum spool and a rigid, graphite frame giving you Ultra high performance in a compact spinning reel....
ON SALE $3.00 OFFBestseller No. 10
Sougayilang Fishing Reel 13+1BB Light Weight Ultra Smooth Aluminum Spinning Fishing Reel with Free...
  • SMOOTH - 13+1 Sougayilang spinning fishing reel corrosion resistant smooth ball bearings and one instant stop one-way anti-reverse bearing give it ultra-smooth performance. and comes with an extra...
  • STRONG - Sougayilang spinning reels are equipped with: precision brass gears, hardened metal main shaft, triple disc carbon drag washers, and interchangeable right or left CNC machined aluminum...
  • HIGH POWERED - Sougayilang spinning reel’s Superior Drag System offers incredible stopping power. It has a hardened metal main shaft, perfect mesh drive gear and precision machined pinion gear for...

Frequently Asked Questions

How much line capacity do you need for Walleye?

We recommend 150 yards of 8 lb mono line capacity on your spinning or baitcasting fishing reel for walleye.

What size reel for walleye do you need?

Generally a 2500 to 3000 series spinning reel will suit most walleye. If you are going to target larger fish with the same combo then you might want to consider a 4000 series model for more versatility.

Final Thoughts

The kind of reel you may need for walleye depends on your technique of fishing. If you are going to use most troll-fishing, a conventional reel is the best choice. But if you plan to use casting methods of throwing spinners, jigs, and other lures, a spinning reel is your best choice.

These are two broad parameters, and you may have many good choices in between these two types of reels. 

Russ Egan
 

Russ is an avid angler. He has fished all over the world, primarily for Saltwater game fish but also for local prize fish. Russ writes reviews for all of his fishing gear to help others achieve their own fishing goals. His favorite reel is a Shimano Tyrnos for an overhead reel or a Shimano Curado for a baitcaster. His dream is to catch a Black Marlin.

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