These simple tips and techniques will help you understand the walleyes’ habits so you can successfully hook an ‘eye – or a whole lot of them!
Tip 1: Look for a “Walleye Chop”
One look at a walleye and you will know where their name comes from. These fish have large eyes that point outwards on the sides of their heads. This combined with their eye’s light-collecting tapetum lucidum, enhance the walleye’s ability to feed in rough, murky water.
Skilled anglers know to cast in “walleye chops.” The term, “walleye chop”, describes rough water on days with strong winds of at least 10-25 km/h. Walleyes prefer to feed under these conditions, so you will have better luck hooking a walleye if you cast during a “walleye chop.”
Tip 2: Night Fish with Live Bait
Walleye are nocturnal feeders. If you want to catch a walleye trophy, try fishing at night. If you prefer to fish during the day, fish in shadowy areas or on overcast days. Live bait is a successful way to attract walleye because it allows anglers the option to fish with a jig, plain hook, slip sinker, or a spinner. Minnows, leeches, and nightcrawlers are the best live bait to attract walleyes.
Tip 3: Fish with Jigs
Jigs are the most popular lures for walleye fishing. And, as mentioned earlier, you can add live bait to a jig. Jigs allow anglers to reach the depths where walleyes prefer to swim. When using a jig, make sure to cast it out, allow it to sink to the bottom, and slowly wiggle it back up. Also, it is important to use a fast action sensitive rod with a jig. This will allow you to feel every light tap so you can successfully hook your trophy walleye.
Tip 4: Troll Slowly
It is important to troll slowly because walleye are lazy. They generally don’t chase after their prey. In order to successfully hook a walleye, troll at the lowest speed possible (or reel-in slowly if you are offshore). This is an especially useful technique if you are fishing in a new area.
Tip 5: Use a Worm Harness
Walleyes are smart fish. If you use worms, walleyes will often only bite the tail and escape without being hooked. To avoid this, try using a worm harness.
This will keep the worm from ripping and cause the walleye to be hooked, even if they only bite the tail.
Tip 6: Remember, Walleye are Schooling Fish
If you hook a walleye, cast again in the same area. Walleye are schooling fish so if you catch one, you will likely catch another. Instead of moving to another spot after a catch, keep fishing in the same area. Just think, where there is one walleye, there are probably many more.
Tip 7: Consider Timing
Walleye prefer feeding in the dark, so the best times to catch walleye are early in the morning or after the sun sets. At night, walleyes generally feed near the surface, so cast in shallower areas. During the day walleye become very lazy and often rest near a lake’s floor. You will have success by casting down into thick weeds or drop-offs. By understanding where walleyes swim at different times of day, you will have more luck catching these fish.
Walleye are large, lazy schooling fish. In order to successfully hook an ‘eye, you should understand their habits. Walleye prefer to feed in the dark, so cast in shallow water at night. During the day, troll or reel slowly to catch walleye near the lake’s floor.
I hope these tips will help you catch your next walleye trophy!
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