How To: Catch walleyes

Catch walleyes

Know what walleye eat. Walleye eat smaller fish, such as minnows or shad, so lures that imitate fish, such as spoons or thin-minnow crankbaits are good choices. Walleye also will eat nightcrawlers, insects and leeches, although artificial forms of these baits usually are not as productive.

Place yourself at the right bottom structure for the time of year. Walleye prefer hard gravel and light currents for spawning, but can adapt. Toward summer, they move toward underwater reefs, while in the fall they move into bays and shallow water areas looking to fatten up for the winter.

Look for low-light conditions. This includes fishing in the early morning, evening and night, as well as when the water is stirred by winds of 5 to 15 miles per hour.

Pick lures and baits to catch walleye. In addition to spoons and crankbaits, jigs are effective most of the year, particularly when tipped with minnows such as fatheads, chubs or, in low-light conditions, shiners. Nightcrawlers and leeches work well on slip-sinker rigs.

Present your baits effectively. Use backtrolling or controlled drifting over breaklines between shallow and deep water to keep your lure where the fish are. When fishing crankbaits in the fall, cast near drop-offs and breaklines to deeper water as well as over weedy flats.

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