You wake up early in the morning, just before dawn. Take a cup of sweet coffee to jump start your day, then get outside. The warmth in the air is exciting that alerts you that winter has just passed, and spring is around the corner. Take your gear out – its fishing time. Unfortunately, you don’t know how to fish. Don’t fret! Here is a guide on how to fish for walleye like a pro:
Step 1: Find Your Bait
when catching walleyes, live bait is the best. There are three main types of live baits that you can use to fish for walleye: night crawlers, leeches, and minnows. Minnows are most preferred even though walleyes get attracted to all types of bait. However, you can use any of the baits depending on the season.
Step 2: Get A Lure
A lure is an essential thing to use when it comes to fishing for walleye. You can add the live bait on the lure hooks to assist you in enticing the walleye to the bite. Lures are also known as jigs, and they vary in color and weight. Make sure you use different weights and colors depending on the season you want to fish the walleye. The bright colors that come with the lures are essential as they help in attracting more walleye.
During the late summer and spring, make sure you use heavier lures, about 3/8 oz. When fishing deeper, please use a ¼ oz. Lure. Walleyes follow colors such as black, silver, and brown during the summer and spring seasons.
Please don’t use a lure during the fall as it can get stuck once you troll it on the lower side of a lake or river. Alternatively, you can use a normal hook or a live bait instead of a lure.
Step 3: Find The Best Fishing Rod
The type of reel and rod you’ll use to catch the walleye depends on the type of lure and the season. The kind of fishing you plan and the weight of the jigs also depend on the type of reel and rod you need. Trolling reels and spinning rods are frequently used when hunting for walleye. The line and power capacity also depend on the fishing rod.
Step 4: locate the fishing points.
Walleye are located in different places within the lake, depending on the season. Additionally, they alternate their habits depending on their spawning schedules. During the spring seasons, you will get them along with the shallow sandy spots about 10 feet from the shores of rivers and lakes.
Make sure you fish at about 4-9 feet depth depending on the size of the water body. Try looking for sand close to rocky places and tree stumps, and other places since walleye move around these places more so during the spring season.
The good thing is, walleye travel in groups since they are school fish. So catching them is not a stressor.
Step 5: Work On the Line
Here, start by baiting your jig or hook using your chosen bait. After that, cast the line. Allow the lure or hook to go deep inside the lake. Immediately it gets to the bottom of the lake, starts retrieving your hook. Work your line using either fast retrieval or slow retrieval method. Furthermore, the speed you are using depends on the season.
However, to retrieve it, pull back on the rod. Carefully lay the rod back in a straight manner, then pull it in the line as it goes deeper in the water to make it tight. Do this repeatedly until you reel the line inside.
Step 6: Hook The Walleye
Once you feel as though your line is tugged by something inside water, the fish might be feasting on the hook. Once you feel this tug, hold the rod firmly, then pull it back. This process is known as setting the hook. Doing this makes the hook attach itself to the walleye’s lip and hold it securely on the line. Now reel the line to pull the fish out of water.
Alternatively, you can use a net to hold the fish immediately after it’s reeled or use your hand. When using your hand to hold the fish, be careful as walleye’s back fins are sharp.
Step 7: Troll for The Walleye
A walleye can be caught in a boat using the trolling method. Using your boat cast the trolling rods off behind the boat then allow the line to sink. After that, use a trolling motor then drive swiftly on the lake. Ensure the lines remain behind you as you do this. The baited hooks or lures follow the boat to entice the fish. This method is good especially for low seasons like fall and winter.
Step 8: Now Be Patient While Fishing Walleye
Sometimes finding walleye in the lake is a stressor, more so during hot weather, during the day, and immediately falls hit. Don’t give up! Keep on searching for areas where the walleyes are then cast continuously.
How to Fish for Walleye at Night
- Go Shallow
A proper rule of the thumb to use when fishing for walleye at night is understanding how to get them at night. Walleyes always move in deep waters when the water temperature rises during the day. They become lethargic and won’t even feed.
Once the sun goes down, the water temperature reduces and the walleyes become more active and begin moving on shallow waters looking for food. Therefore, the best place to find them during the night is along shallow waters. Around 7 feet to the water surface. But you can also move deeper.
Also, make sure you explore the mouths of the flowing tributaries and shallow humps close to the mouth of a big bay. Target regions with plenty of rocks and numerous vegetation.
- Be Stealth as You Fish
You can easily scare away the walleyes and this is what you want to avoid when you get inside the water to fish. Having in mind that walleyes spend most of their time on the shallows at night, using too much light and being noisy will end up scaring them. Therefore, be careful not to do anything that will signal them of your presence.
Even if you have to creep into the location or stop using the flashlight, it’s essential to reduce the noise as much as possible.
- Use The Right Baits
Even though live baits work properly while fishing for walleyes, a perfect bait to use while fishing for walleyes during the night is crankbait. These fish are very active and extremely fast movers looking for their next food.
Therefore, the best technique here is using a bait that covers an extended part within a short time. This is exactly what crankbaits offer as you search for fish quickly through trolling or casting the crankbaits.
Furthermore, you can use jigs as you tip them properly using minnows. The reason being, vertical jigging is excellent for night fishing as they simply hang some feet above the fish’s head.
Ensure you use dark-colored baits as walleyes can see them easily during the night. Many thanks to their great night vision. But the best options are bright colors since the walleyes will see them easily and better during the night. Ensure that the bait resembles a true walleye prey.
- Present The Lures Properly
Understand that walleyes normally attack their prey from below or the rear-bottom. And that’s why you should position the lures somewhere about three feet deep inside the water so that the walleyes get tempted to feast on them. That’s why it’s vital to place the lures at the middle-level for a nice result.
- Be Safe
Night fishing for walleyes means that you’ll be in the lake at night looking for walleye. Therefore, you must be careful and take precautions. While darkness adds more hazards and challenges, the best thing to do is going to the lake before the sun goes down. This is to give you more time to choose the right fishing spot, prepare your fishing gear and lures, and check for any potential hazards.
Again it’s always cold at night, so you must dress heavily to fight the bad weather. Carry your pack light, warm clothing, warm layers, and fishing gloves.
Many people don’t prefer going to fish at night, but it’s perhaps the best thing to do if you want to fish for more walleyes. You’ll not only enjoy the unique and fun fishing experience but also land on large mysterious walleye.
David Nilsen is the former editor of Fourth & Sycamore. He is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. You can find more of his writing on his website at davidnilsenwriter.com and follow him on Twitter as @NilsenDavid.