How to Fish for Walleye and Catch Them

If you plan on building your own rigs from scratch, you’ll need hooks. Most anglers prefer octopus style hooks for this application. Size 2 or 4 is perfect. Gamakatsu makes some of the best.

You can either buy all the components separately and build your own rigs, or you can buy pre-made spinner and crawler harness rigs that are ready to tie on and fish.

How to set up the bottom bouncer and spinner rig with a pre-made spinner rig and crawler harness:

How to build a bottom bouncer and spinner rig from scratch:

Fishing the Bottom Bouncer and Spinner Trolling Rig:

The key to fishing this rig is dialing in the right boat speed. Ideally, you want to troll at speeds of 1 to 2 mph.

With your boat at the appropriate speed, make a short cast with your rig, or simply drop it in the water and let out line. You want your line to extend into the water at roughly a 45-degree angle.

You can either place your rod into a rod holder or hold the rod in your hands as you troll. While holding the rod you should feel the bottom bouncer making contact with the bottom. When you see a bend in your rod, it’s time to set the hook and reel in your walleye!

How to Find and Catch Walleye in Every Season

As with most fish species, walleye behave differently throughout the year. Each season brings unique fishing opportunities and challenges, and it’s your job as an angler to adapt accordingly to catch your limit.

It’s worth noting that geography can also play a part in locating the best walleye fishing areas. Sticking to the northern states in the winter comes with problems (weather) but you can still fish for plenty of Walleye, even in adverse conditions.

1. Fishing for Walleye in the Spring

In the springtime, water temperatures begin to rise, and walleye begin to spawn. The spawn brings walleye into sandy-bottomed shallows close to shore where they make nests and lay their eggs. During this time, the fish get very aggressive, striking at nearly anything that comes near their nests.

Cast and retrieve fishing with crankbaits or shad imitation lures can be very productive when walleye are in the shallows. Dusk and dawn are hot times to catch larger female walleye, as they will often leave their nest to cruise the shallows and feed. Cast your lure near structure where you would expect baitfish to hold, slowly retrieve, and get ready to set the hook!

Trolling near shore with crankbaits can also be very effective, especially if you’re not sure exactly where the fish are located. Try to find sand bars or weeded areas with sandy bottoms to slowly troll over. If you get a few bites in a certain area, consider stopping the boat to do some cast and retrieve fishing.

2. Fishing for Walleye in the Summer

As spring transitions into summer, the water warms and walleye head to deeper water. Vertical jigging in deep water can be very effective. White curly tail grub jigs or basic silver jigging spoons are good lures to use in the summer.

As summer progresses, the fish will head into the deepest parts of a lake or reservoir and a good fish finder really comes in handy. When searching for fish in the summer, trolling techniques that use deep-diving crankbaits, heavy bottom bouncers, or planer and diver boards are often your best bet. When you do find a pod of walleye, stop trolling and switch over to vertical jigging with spoons, curly tail grubs, or live bait.

Although the biggest walleye spend the bulk of their time in deep water in the summer, they still often move into the shallows at night to feed on bait fish. Night fishing with crankbaits in the shallows can be very productive in the summer, but it’s helpful to be familiar with an area before trying to navigate at night.

3. Fishing for Walleye in the Fall

Most walleye anglers consider fall to one of the toughest seasons to catch walleye consistently. The key to successful fall walleye fishing is being versatile and willing to experiment with different locations, techniques, and lures until you find fish that are willing to bite.

As walleye transition from their deep water summer dwellings into their fall and winter locations, their feeding activity often slows down. Regardless of your fishing methods, try slowing down.

Use less weight on your jigs to get them to fall slower and have a more relaxed jigging action; use smaller crankbaits with a slower retrieve; ramp down your trolling motor a few clicks. And if slowing down doesn’t work, try speeding up! You never really know how walleye will act in the fall, so be prepared to try everything and get creative!

4. Fishing for Walleye in the Winter

In the majority of walleye fisheries in the north, winter fishing for walleye generally means ice fishing with a hand or power auger by your side. In southern states where the lakes and reservoirs don’t ice over, many of the same principles of fall walleye fishing apply to winter.

The fishing is generally much slower and identifying patterns become more challenging. Try to fish with an open mind, be willing to experiment, and when you do hook into that winter walleye, celebrate!

3 Insider Tips to Hook and Land More Walleye

Fishing for walleye can be a very rewarding pursuit, especially when dinner time rolls around. To you make sure you don’t come home empty-handed, here are a few tips to help you hook and land more walleye.

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