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The Challenge and Mastery of Walleye Fishing Throughout The Seasons

I have to admit that I do not know how to fish for Walleye like the professionals. I've dabbled once or twice, but mostly, I'm the one enjoying the view from the shore. So, I won't pretend like I personally have any good advice to help you have a successful walleye fishing trip up north, but what I do have is a handful of great tips directly from the pros!

After scouring the internet to locate the best advice offered by walleye fishing experts, I've discovered tons of excellent information. Many of the tips below help to offset some of the challenges faced by many beginner and intermediate walleye fishermen. Some give a competitive edge for those looking to master the art of walleye fishing. I'm excited to share with you the following... 

kid with fish on lake

Summer Walleye Fishing

These tips have been provided by Karl's Bait & Tackle.

Tip #1 - Attack the grass - ..."try spending time around weeds... which will hold schools of baitfish and new insect hatches. Weeds near current or deeper water will typically hold more fish so focusing on these high percentage spots will pay off. ‘Snapping’ a swimbait like the SmartBaits Gifted Grub around weedlines and through grassy patches will help you locate the active fish. Walleye will be feeding during low light conditions, so try to fish around sunrise or sunset for the best results."

Tip #2 - Fish Deep - "Trolling the Northland Tackle Walleye Spinner Rig crawler around points and through river channels will interest fish closely related to the bottom. If the fish are suspended in the water column, try trolling crankbaits which are an ideal presentation for the suspended summer walleye."

Tip #3 - Fish At Night - "A great way to target Walleye at night is with slip-bobber like the Rod-N-Bob Slip Bobber. If you need added visibility, attach a glowing indicator to the top of your rig. Then, pinch on a few split shots about 12 inches above the hook which will help keep your bait in the strike zone. Rig up a lively leech or crawler and just wait, that bobber should disappear in no time."

Autumn Walleye Fishing

bobber in water

These tips have been provided by Jason Revermann with Outdoor News.

Tip - Use Aggressive Lures - Autumn "is the perfect time to employ more aggressive lures to target larger walleyes... I have been predominately using Jigging Raps in the fall to locate the larger, more aggressive fish in a school....We can find fish over a wide variety of depths this time of year. They can drop down into some of the deepest holes in the lake during the day, then push up onto points and flats during lowlight periods... Once I locate larger fish in these areas I will ... drop a No.7 Jigging Rap to the bottom. When it hits bottom I close the bail and rip the lure up a couple feet and let it fall back to the bottom on a slack line and repeat... Aggressive jigging baits are special because they seem to produce more big fish, but some other methods to target these schools of fish include live bait rigging with minnows or a simple jig-and-minnow approach."

Winter Walleye Ice Fishing

ice fishing hole

These tips have been provided by Skip Sommerfeldt, a fisheries biologist based in Park Falls.

Tip #1 - Time of day - "Time of day is often very important and this also varies with whether you’re fishing on a stained or clear-water lake. On stained waters, the low light periods are usually the most productive, with the hour and a half before dark often better than the early morning period (and the bite often shuts down right after dark). On clear-water lakes, you may often have to fish after dark to get the best catches, and sometimes all thru the night can be productive."

Tip #2 - Key spots - "Gravel bars and rocky drop-offs, weeds edges and mid-depth mud flats and break lines where gravel/sand turns to soft bottom are excellent holding locations for walleye."

Tip #3 - Best depths - "On stained lakes, I like to concentrate my tip-ups in the 6-foot to 12-foot range. On clear lakes, the best depths are usually in the 10-foot to 20-foot range. However, fish movement does vary and depths as shallow as 2 feet and deeper than 20 feet can often be very productive as well."

Tip #4 - Bait use - "Live bait is most often used on tip-ups. I prefer to use medium suckers or extra-large fatheads, but many anglers like golden shiners as their favorite bait. The old adage “the bigger the bait, the bigger the fish” is often true, but smaller sized bait can produce more action – which is often the goal when fishing with kids! Minnows should be hooked lightly through the middle of the back so they hang in a horizontal position and stay lively."

Tip #5 - Bait placement - "On stained lakes, I set my minnow about 4 to 8 inches off the bottom. On clear lakes, bait placement can be 6 inches to 20 inches off the bottom, as the fish can better see the bait above them and come up to get it."

Tip #6 - Line and hook tips -

  • "Monofilament or fluorocarbon leaders are both good (though I’ve found that you have to re-tie more often with fluorocarbon as the knots fatigue more quickly than mono). Use a 2-foot to 3-foot leader that is attached to the nylon tip-up line (a small snap swivel works well for this)."

  • "Line markers – many people use a button, but I prefer a very small bobber. Reason why: the bobber will keep the line up off the bottom as a fish runs with the bait, whereas a button may drag along the bottom and catch on obstructions."

  • "For hooks, I like to use a double hook (a treble with one barb snipped off) or a single circle hook, and usually in size 8 or 6. I also place two small split shots about 7 to 8 inches above the hook to keep the minnow down near the bottom."

  • "Many people use small treble hooks but I’ve found that these can be very hard to remove from fish when your hands are wet and cold. In addition, walleye often swallow the bait and double and single hooks can usually be removed without much damage to the fish. If a treble hook is left in the fish, it can pinch the throat closed and this may keep the fish from eating until the hook becomes dislodged over time."

Spring Walleye Fishing

man holding fish

These tips have been provided by Steve Gilbert, longtime fisheries manager and supervisor for the WI DNR.

Tip #1 - Know When & Where to Fish - "The (spring) bite usually occurs early and late in the day. You'll want to fish morning hours until about 9 a.m. or get out on the water after 5 p.m. for the best bite. Look for rocky areas along wind swept shorelines and points on the main lake. As spawning comes to an end, bigger fish move into shallower, warmer bays looking to feed. Fish weed lines in these areas. Wading shorelines in the evening or early morning can be effective at this time of year when fish are in the shallows. Use a hydrographic map of the lake you plan to fish to identify these key areas in advance. Once on the water, don't waste time in unproductive spots. If you don't get a bite in 15 to 20 minutes, move on to the next spot."

Tip #2 - What Gear to Use - "A jig and minnow combination works best early in the season. Use a 1/16-ounce jig, live bait rigs or crank baits. Try using different color jigs - yellow, green, chartreuse or red - because on some days, the color can make a big difference. You will need to use slightly heavier jigs under windy conditions to keep the bait in contact with the bottom where the fish are. Select a 6 1/2- to 7-foot spinning rod and reel combo filled with light line. A mistake many people make is they use too heavy a line. Use 4- to 6-pound test line except when you're using crank baits. Most of the time when I'm using crank baits I use 10- to 12-pound test line."

There you have it! Now, you can confidently fish for walleye in any season like a professional! Are you ready to plan the fishing trip of a lifetime? Great! Now's the time to secure a cabin. Give us a call at Birch Trail Resort Bed & Breakfast at 715-588-1962, then start planning for your next walleye fishing trip in the northwoods of Wisconsin!



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