7 Walleye Fishing Tips: How to Catch Walleye


The Walleye or Yellow Pike is a popular fish to target in the United States and Canada, and we have put together these walleye fishing tips to help you be more successful in your search.

Walleye are a cold water predatory fish with a long body and sleek frame, they can grow to a maximum of around 20 pounds and 30 inches.

Walleye’s have great vision and are well adapted to low light and murky waters. This is a key that impacts all walleye behavior – they are often targeted in low light conditions like dawn or dusk, high wind chop, or cloudy days. Their good eyesight gives them an advantage over their prey in poor visibility which often causes them to feed during these conditions.

Read through these walleye fishing tips below to gain a better understanding of how the fish feeds and behaves so that you can put a bait in front of a hungry fish more often. There are also more great resources available to learn more about walleye such as OutdoorLife.

Walleye Fishing Tips

For those of you who prefer to learn from visual media than reading text, have a look at this video to get some ideas or how to catch more walleye during summer.

What is the best month to catch walleye?

The best month for walleye is April. In spring walleye spawn, and during and post the spawn is the best time to target walleye. During this time the fish become very aggressive and will bite most lures that you put in front of them.
Although walleye can be caught all year around, whether that is ice fishing or during the spring spawn.

In the summer walleye head deeper in the water column. This means you will have more luck when trolling with deep diving lures and crankbaits. Although they live in the deep water during the day they will still head to the shallower waters at dawn and dusk to feed.

In the fall the walleye feeding and activity slows down. While you can still catch fish you will have to be more clever about figuring out exactly what the walleye are looking for.
Winter walleye fishing generally means ice fishing. Many of the same principles apply when ice fishing for walleye in the winter.

What time of the day is best to catch walleye?

Due to their good eyesight, walleye often feed during low light conditions, which means they are often caught at dawn or dusk.

Walleye are notoriously photosensitive, so consider fishing at night using a light source to attract the fish.

The low light conditions 30 mins before and after sunrise, and 30 mins before and after sunset are the best times to fish for trophy sized walleye.

One of the best times to catch walleye is during overcast or choppy water. Anglers often refer to ‘walleye chop’ when talking about windy days. They use their better vision to hunt for baitfish in low light conditions.

Walleye Fishing Tips

How deep do walleye feed?

During the day walleye can be found in 15-30 feet of water. They generally stay close to the bottom and only move towards the surface and shallow flats when feeding on schools of baitfish.

At dawn of dusk walleye move to the shallower waters following the bait.

If you are ice fishing for walleye then you should target 10 to 20 feet.

Where do you catch walleye?

Walleye are a cold water loving fish that can be found in clear lakes and rivers with a sandy or gravel bottom.  

The time of day and weather conditions really impacts on the best locations and depths for walleye. Unlike most other fish, walleye prefer low light and murky conditions to hunt.

Where you find bait fish you will find walleye.

Some of the best walleye spots include:

  • Lake Erie, Pennsylvania
  • Devil’s Lake, North Dakota
  • Lake Sakakawea, North Dakota
  • Lake McConaughy, Nebraska
  • Bay Of Quinte , Ontario, Canada
  • Upper Mississippi River, Minnesota
  • Bay de Noc, Michigan
  • Columbia River, Washington
  • Lake of the Woods, Minnesota
  • Saginaw Bay, Michegan
Walleye Range Map

What is the best bait for walleye?

The most popular bait for walleye fishing is minnows, leaches, and night-crawlers.

A general rule of thumb is in cold water to use minnows and in warm water to use leaches, night-crawlers, and soft plastics.
A common phrase is ‘match the hatch.’ Pick a minnow that is native to the lake or river that you are fishing in. This means that the walleye is already interested and feeding on that exact species of bait.

What is the best lure to catch Walleye?

Give them options. Walleye feed on a variety of different baitfish and insects, so make sure you have different shapes, sizes, and colors of lure in your tackle box.

We have also put together our own list of the Best 10 Walleye Fishing Lures, Fishing Rods, and Fishing Reels.

What fishing gear do I need to catch Walleye?

Walleye don’t need specialist gear like you would need for saltwater big game fish like tuna or tarpon. You can generally use your standard bass fishing equipment.
The list below gives you an example of what kind of gear you might want to have available:
Fishing rod: Medium action spinning rod between 6.5 and 7 feet long
Fishing reel: Light freshwater spinning reel, like a Pflueger President
Fishing line: 8-10 pound mono line
– Fishing leader: 2-3 feet of fluorocarbon leader


Hopefully you have learnt some more about the behavior of the walleye and how you can catch them more frequently and in larger sizes. 

There are plenty of other sources of walleye fishing tips available elsewhere.

If you have experience in catching walleye, then please share your own tips in the comments below so that more anglers can learn from your wisdom.

If you want to catch more than Walleye, have a read through our guide on popular American fish species for anglers.

Happy fishing!

Photo of author

Russ Egan

Russ is an avid fisherman. He has fished all over the world for more than two decades, primarily for saltwater game fish but also for local trophy fish. Russ writes reviews for all of his fishing gear to help others achieve their own fishing goals. His favorite reel is a Shimano Curado Baitcaster. His dream is to catch a Black Marlin.