Walleye Fish: Excellent Baits and Lures Guide

 baits and lures for walleye fish - a set of fishing lures

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on walleye fishing! If you’re an angler looking to improve your success rate in catching walleye, then this article is for you. One of the most crucial factors in walleye fishing is using the right baits and lures. Understanding the preferences of walleye and tailoring your approach accordingly can make a significant difference in your fishing experience. In this guide, we will explore the best baits and lures for walleye fishing and provide valuable insights and techniques to help you reel in the big ones.

Key Takeaways:

  • Choosing the right baits and lures is essential for successful walleye fishing.
  • Understanding walleye behavior and preferences can improve your fishing strategy.
  • There is a wide variety of bait and lure options available for walleye fishing, including both artificial lures and live bait.
  • Knowing how to use different types of baits and lures effectively can maximize your chances of catching walleye.
  • Locating walleye hotspots and employing the right fishing strategies can greatly enhance your fishing experience.

Understanding Walleye Behavior and Preferences

Bass fishing may require different techniques and equipment compared to walleye fishing, but both share the common element of understanding bait preferences. For walleye, selecting the best walleye bait is essential to enticing these fish to bite. Whether it’s using live bait such as minnows or leeches or opting for artificial options like blade baits or jig heads, anglers must choose wisely to maximize their chances of success.

Experimenting with different walleye lures and bait presentations is part of the excitement of walleye fishing. Some anglers swear by the effectiveness of husky jerks or walleye jigs, while others find success with traditional bait rigs or crankbaits. The key is to adapt your approach based on the conditions and the behavior of the walleye. With the right combination of bait, lures, and techniques, anglers can increase their chances of hooking into a trophy walleye.

When it comes to walleye fishing, understanding the behavior and preferences of these elusive fish is crucial for success. Walleye are known for their unique habitat requirements, feeding patterns, and sensitivity to specific conditions. By gaining insights into their behavior, anglers can optimize their chances of a successful fishing trip. Additionally, knowing the right gear and tackle can make all the difference in catching walleye.

Walleye Habitat

Walleye are typically found in lakes and rivers with clear water and a variety of structures such as rocky bottoms, underwater points, drop-offs, and weed beds. They prefer water temperatures between 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit and are often found near areas with ample oxygen supply. Knowing the typical walleye habitat allows anglers to focus their efforts in the right areas.

Feeding Patterns

Walleye are opportunistic feeders and primarily hunt during low light conditions, such as dawn, dusk, and nighttime. They have excellent vision in low light, thanks to a reflective layer behind their retina called the tapetum lucidum. Walleye often position themselves near structures where prey fish congregate. They are known to feed on a variety of small fish, insects, and other aquatic organisms. Understanding their feeding patterns helps anglers select the most effective techniques.

Conditions for Success

  • Walleye fishing is generally most productive during spring and fall when the water temperatures are cooler. However, they can still be caught year-round with the right knowledge and techniques.
  • Walleye are more active in low light conditions, so fishing early morning, late evening, or at night can yield better results.
  • Factors such as weather changes, barometric pressure, and even moon phases can influence walleye behavior. Experienced anglers pay close attention to these factors to increase their chances of success.

Gear and Tackle for Walleye Fishing

When it comes to walleye fishing, having the right gear and tackle is essential. The following are some key items to consider:

  1. Walleye fishing rods and reels: Select a medium to medium-light spinning or casting rod, paired with a quality reel that offers a smooth drag system.
  2. Walleye fishing line: Opt for a low-visibility monofilament or fluorocarbon line with a pound test suitable for the target walleye size.
  3. Walleye fishing lures: Effective lures for walleye include jigs, crankbaits, and soft plastic baits. Experiment with different colors, sizes, and styles to find what works best in the given conditions.
  4. Walleye fishing rigs: Various rigs such as Lindy Rigs, Carolina Rigs, and slip bobber rigs can be effective for walleye. Adjust the rig setup based on the depth and structure you are fishing.
  5. Live bait: Minnows, leeches, and nightcrawlers are popular live bait fish choices for walleye fishing. Rig them on a hook, jig, or harness to entice strikes.

By understanding walleye behavior, habitat preferences, and having the right gear and tackle, anglers can significantly increase their chances of landing these prized fish. Stay tuned for the next section, where we will explore the top bait and lure options for walleye fishing.

Baits and lures for Walleye fish - tackle for fishing

Top Bait and Lure Options for Walleye Fishing

When it comes to walleye fishing, having the right bait and lures can make all the difference. Whether you prefer artificial lures or live bait, understanding the top options and when to use them is crucial for a successful fishing trip. Here are some of the best bait and lure choices for walleye fishing:

Artificial Lures:

  • Rapala Jigging Rap: This popular lure is known for its realistic swimming action and is effective in colder water temperatures. Use it for vertical jigging or casting and retrieving.
  • Lipless Crankbait: This versatile lure produces vibrations and sounds that attract walleye. It’s especially effective in murky water or during low light conditions.
  • Blade Bait: The vibrating motion and flash of a blade bait can trigger aggressive strikes from walleye. It’s a great choice for fishing in deeper water or around submerged structures.

Live Bait:

  • Minnows: Walleye are known to be voracious minnow eaters. Hook a lively minnow through the lips or behind the dorsal fin and let it swim naturally to entice walleye.
  • Leeches: Leeches are also a favorite food of walleye. Hook them through the sucker or near the tail to maximize their movement in the water and attract walleye.
  • Nightcrawlers: Nightcrawlers can be highly effective for walleye fishing, especially during the summer months. Use them on a spinner rig or a plain hook and slowly retrieve to entice strikes.

Remember, successful walleye fishing is not just about the bait and lures you choose, but also how you use them. Experiment with different retrieval techniques, speeds, and depths to find what works best in your fishing spot. By understanding the preferences of walleye and using the right bait and lures, you’ll significantly increase your chances of landing those prized walleye.

Techniques for Using Different Types of Baits and Lures

From custom jigs to rapala jigging raps, walleye anglers have a plethora of options when it comes to selecting the perfect lure for their fishing expedition. Jig heads and husky jerks are among the most popular choices for enticing walleye to strike, known for their versatility and effectiveness in various fishing conditions. Whether you’re a seasoned walleye angler or just starting out, having a diverse selection of walleye lures in your fishing gear arsenal is essential.

Fishing reports often provide valuable insights into which lures are producing the best results on the water, helping anglers make informed decisions about their tackle selection. Additionally, fishing tips from experienced anglers can offer valuable guidance on how to properly use each type of lure to maximize your chances of success. Whether you’re casting into deep water or jigging along rocky structures, knowing the best walleye lures and how to use them effectively is key to a successful day on the water.

Now that you have a good understanding of the different types of baits and lures available for walleye fishing, it’s time to delve into the techniques for using each one effectively. Whether you prefer live bait or artificial lures, mastering these techniques will greatly increase your chances of landing the prized walleye.

Live Bait Techniques

When using live bait, such as minnows or nightcrawlers, it’s important to rig them properly to attract walleye. One popular rig is the walleye fishing rig, which consists of a leader, a weight, and one or multiple hooks. This rig allows the live bait to move naturally in the water, enticing walleye to strike. Be sure to adjust the weight according to the water conditions and the depth you are targeting.

Hard Bait Techniques

Hard baits, such as crankbaits and jerkbaits, mimic the movement of baitfish and can be extremely effective in triggering strikes from walleye. Experiment with different retrieval methods, such as a steady retrieve, a pause and jerk retrieve, or a twitch and pause retrieve, to determine what entices the walleye in your fishing area. Varying the speed and depth of your retrieves can also make a difference, especially when targeting walleye at different depths.

Soft Bait Techniques

Soft baits, like plastic worms or swimbaits, are prized by anglers for their versatility and lifelike appearance, making them irresistible to even the most discerning walleye. Techniques such as Texas rigging or Carolina rigging with soft baits have become staples in the walleye angler’s arsenal. The Texas rig, with its weedless design, excels in areas with dense vegetation or cover, ensuring the bait can navigate through obstacles without snagging. Conversely, the Carolina rig presents the soft bait in a more natural manner, allowing it to float freely above the weighted leader, enticing wary walleye with its subtle movements.

Experimentation with soft baits opens up a world of possibilities for anglers seeking to unlock the secrets of walleye fishing. By varying the colors, sizes, and shapes of soft baits, anglers can fine-tune their presentation to match the preferences of walleye on any given day. Whether it’s a vibrant chartreuse worm or a lifelike shad swimbait, the right combination can spell success in enticing walleye to strike. Additionally, the realistic action of soft baits mimics the natural movements of prey, further increasing their effectiveness in fooling cautious walleye.

Soft baits are not just lures; they are tools that empower anglers to adapt to changing conditions and outsmart even the most elusive walleye. With their lifelike appearance and versatile rigging options, soft baits are essential for any angler’s tackle box. Whether you’re targeting spring walleye in shallow water or probing deep water for trophy fish, soft baits offer a versatile and effective solution for landing that prized catch.

Baits and lures for walleye fish - bait technique - a girl tying bait with hook

The Importance of Fishing Reports, Gear, and Techniques

A well-informed fishing report can be invaluable for anglers looking to optimize their time on the water. By providing up-to-date information on fish behavior, water conditions, and successful techniques, fishing reports help anglers make informed decisions about their fishing strategy. Armed with this knowledge, anglers can adjust their fishing gear and tactics accordingly to increase their chances of catching walleye.

Having the right fishing gear is essential for effectively targeting and catching walleye. From high-quality rods and reels to specialized lures and bait rigs, having the proper equipment can make all the difference. Fishing tips from experienced anglers can also provide valuable insights into which gear is most effective in different situations. Whether you’re casting lipless crankbaits for aggressive spring walleye or finesse fishing with jigs for finicky fish, having the best walleye lures and gear can significantly improve your chances of success.

Catching walleye can be a rewarding and challenging pursuit for any angler. From selecting the best bait and lures to mastering various fishing techniques, there are many factors to consider when targeting these elusive fish. Whether you’re casting Rapala Rippin’ Raps in freshwater or trolling jigs for aggressive fish, understanding the habits and preferences of walleye is essential. With the right approach and a bit of patience, landing a trophy walleye can be the highlight of any fishing excursion.

Blade Bait Techniques

Blade baits, such as silver buddies or blade jigs, are excellent choices for vertical jigging or casting and retrieving. Vertical jigging involves dropping the blade bait to the bottom and then quickly lifting and dropping the rod tip to create an enticing flutter action. Casting and retrieving a blade bait allows you to cover more water and search for active walleye. Vary your retrieval speed and depth to find the pattern that triggers the most strikes. When targeting aggressive fish in deeper water, consider using larger blade baits or adding a trailer for added attraction.

Trout fishing enthusiasts can also find success with blade baits, particularly in freshwater environments where trout are abundant. The erratic action of a blade bait can mimic the movements of injured baitfish, enticing trout to strike. Whether you’re casting along the shoreline of a river or trolling through a lake, blade baits can be effective for targeting various trout species. Additionally, anglers can experiment with different colors and blade designs to match the preferences of trout in different water conditions.

For those seeking an alternative to live bait, the Rapala Rippin’ Rap is a versatile fishing lure that can be effective for catching a variety of freshwater species, including walleye. With its unique vibrating action and lifelike appearance, the Rippin’ Rap can trigger aggressive strikes from walleye in both shallow and deep water. Anglers can use a variety of retrieval techniques, such as steady retrieves, rips, or pauses, to entice walleye into biting.

Additionally, the Rippin’ Rap comes in a range of colors and sizes to match the forage present in different fishing environments.

Whether you’re targeting walleye, trout, or other freshwater species, having a diverse arsenal of fishing lures is essential for success on the water. By incorporating blade baits, Rapala Rippin Rap, and other versatile lures into your fishing repertoire, you can adapt to changing conditions and maximize your chances of landing the catch of a lifetime. Experimentation and adaptation are key when using fishing lures, so don’t be afraid to try new techniques and explore different fishing environments.

baits and lures for walleye fish - blade bait for walleye

Walleye Jig Techniques

Walleye jigs, such as ball jigs or lead-head jigs, are a classic choice for walleye fishing. The key to success is understanding how to present the jig properly. When jigging vertically, let the jig fall to the bottom and then use a slow, rhythmic motion to lift and drop the jig. Pay attention to any taps or subtle bites, as walleye can be finicky. When casting and retrieving a walleye jig, vary the speed and depth to imitate the movement of prey and entice strikes from walleye.

Custom Jig Techniques

Custom jigs are invaluable tools in the arsenal of any walleye angler, offering a personalized touch to traditional jigging methods. These jigs, often meticulously handcrafted or adorned with intricate designs, can be tailored to suit the specific preferences of walleye in various water conditions. By experimenting with a plethora of colors, patterns, and sizes, anglers can effectively mimic the natural forage present in their fishing area, increasing their chances of enticing a strike from these elusive fish. Moreover, incorporating different trailers or bait combinations can further enhance the allure of custom jigs, making them irresistible to walleye on any given day.

In the pursuit of walleye, mastering the art of jigging with custom jigs is essential for success. Whether you’re targeting aggressive fish in shallow waters or probing deeper depths for trophy walleye, the versatility and adaptability of custom jigs make them indispensable companions on the water. Pairing these jigs with specialized bait rigs, such as live bait rigs or bait rigs featuring ring worm, can further enhance their effectiveness.

Additionally, utilizing crankbaits equipped with treble hook or artificial lure in conjunction with custom jigs can provide anglers with a comprehensive approach to enticing walleye. With the right gear, including spinning reels designed for precision control, anglers can maximize their chances of landing the prized catch amidst the vast expanse of the Great Lake.

In the realm of walleye fishing, the intricate dance between angler and fish is a delicate balance of skill, knowledge, and technique. As anglers navigate the waters in search of these prized fish, the strategic use of custom jigs, bait rig, and artificial lures becomes paramount. By leveraging the versatility and effectiveness of these tools, anglers can embark on a journey of exploration and discovery, honing their craft and unraveling the mysteries of walleye fishing in the vast expanses of the Great Lakes.

Rapala Jigging Rap Techniques

The Rapala Jigging Rap is a popular and versatile lure that can be fished in various ways to target walleye. When using this lure, try vertical jigging by dropping it to the desired depth and then using an erratic jigging motion to imitate injured baitfish. This lure can also be cast and retrieved, imitating a fleeing baitfish. Experiment with different cadences, pauses, and retrieves to determine what triggers the most strikes.

Lipless Crankbait Techniques

Lipless crankbaits, such as the Rat-L-Trap or the Rattle Trap, are effective at covering a large area and triggering reaction strikes from walleye. Cast and retrieve the lipless crankbait over structure, such as weed beds or drop-offs, allowing it to sink and then retrieving it with a steady or erratic retrieve. Vary the speed and depth to find the presentation that works best for the walleye in your fishing spot.

By mastering these techniques for using different types of baits and lures, you’ll be well-equipped to catch more walleye on your next fishing adventure. Remember to observe the behavior of the walleye in your fishing area and adapt your techniques accordingly. Good luck and tight lines!

baits and lures for walleye fish - walleye caught with a lipless crankbaitwe

Locating Walleye Hotspots and Fishing Strategies

In order to have a successful walleye fishing trip, it’s important to know where to find the hotspots and implement effective fishing strategies. Here, we will discuss some tips and techniques to help you locate walleye in popular bodies of water such as Lake Erie and the Mississippi River, as well as provide guidance on reading fishing reports, selecting the right fishing gear, and optimizing your fishing techniques.

1. Reading fishing reports

Fishing reports can be a valuable source of information when it comes to finding walleye hotspots. Keep an eye out for reports that mention recent walleye catches, the depth at which the fish are being found, and any specific locations or areas that are producing good results. This information can give you a head start in planning your fishing trip.

2. Understanding walleye migration patterns

Walleye are known to migrate during certain seasons, moving to different areas in search of food or optimal spawning conditions. By understanding their migration patterns, you can predict where they are likely to be found throughout the year. For example, in spring, walleye may move to shallower waters near shorelines or river mouths, while in summer, they may retreat to deeper and cooler areas.

3. Selecting the right fishing gear

Having the right fishing gear is essential for targeting walleye effectively. Opt for medium to medium-light spinning rods and reels, along with monofilament or fluorocarbon fishing lines that have a test strength suitable for walleye fishing. Additionally, consider using lures and baits that are known to attract walleye, such as jigs, crankbaits, minnows, or leeches.

4. Fishing techniques and strategies

Experimenting with different fishing techniques can greatly improve your chances of catching walleye. Some popular techniques include jigging near structures, trolling with diving crankbaits or worm harnesses, and casting and retrieving jerkbaits or swimbaits. It’s also important to pay attention to the conditions on the day of your fishing trip, such as water temperature, weather patterns, and the presence of baitfish, as these factors can influence walleye behavior and feeding patterns.

By following these tips and strategies, you’ll enhance your ability to locate walleye hotspots and increase your chances of a successful fishing trip. Remember to stay informed, adapt to changing conditions, and always respect fishing regulations and conservation efforts to ensure the sustainability of walleye populations.

baits and lures for walleye fish - Fishing techniques and strategies

Tips for Ice Fishing for Walleye

Ice fishing for walleye is a thrilling and rewarding experience for anglers of all skill levels. As the ice covers the lakes and rivers, it creates new opportunities to catch this sought-after fish. To make the most of your ice fishing adventure, here are some essential tips to keep in mind:

Selecting the Right Equipment and Gear

  • Invest in a sturdy and reliable ice fishing rod and reel combo, such as a spinning reel, designed for ice fishing. The smooth drag and sensitive feel of a quality spinning reel will enhance your chances of landing walleye.
  • Choose a fishing line specifically designed for ice fishing. Opt for a low-visibility line with a high strength-to-diameter ratio to withstand the cold temperatures and resist ice buildup.
  • Don’t forget to pack an ice auger to drill holes through the ice. A manual or powered auger will allow you to access the walleye-rich waters below.
  • Consider using an ice fishing shelter or hut to protect yourself from the elements. This will provide comfort and increase your chances of success by allowing you to stay on the ice for longer periods.

Locating and Catching Walleye Through the Ice

When it comes to ice fishing for walleye, location is key. Look for underwater structures and features, such as drop-offs, weed beds, and humps, where walleye are likely to gather. Utilize portable fish finders or depth finders to locate schools of walleye beneath the ice.

Once you’ve found a promising spot, use various techniques to entice the walleye to bite:

  • Use jigs tipped with live bait, such as minnows or grubs, to mimic the natural prey of walleye. Experiment with different jigging actions and depths until you find a pattern that triggers bites.
  • Consider using spoons or jigging lures with vibrant colors and enticing actions to attract walleye. Vertical jigging with these lures can be highly effective in enticing walleye to strike.
  • Don’t be afraid to try different bait presentations, including dead sticking. This technique involves placing a stationary bait at a specific depth and allowing the walleye to come to it.

Considerations for Spring Walleye Fishing and Great Lakes

Springtime brings changes to walleye behavior, and understanding these changes can improve your chances of success. As the ice begins to melt and walleye move from their winter haunts, focus your efforts on areas with warm water inflows, such as tributaries and shallow bays.

For walleye fishing in the Great Lakes, target nearshore areas with rocky sections, including breakwalls and jetties. These structures attract baitfish and provide ambush points for walleye.

In conclusion, ice fishing for walleye requires careful consideration of equipment, locating techniques, and presentation choices. By preparing with the right gear and employing effective techniques, you’ll increase your chances of hooking into these prized fish during the winter months. Remember to always prioritize safety and follow local regulations when venturing out onto the ice.

Baits and lures for walleye - ice fishing gear and techniques for walleye fishing


After exploring the world of walleye fishing and learning about the different baits and lures that can make or break your success, it’s clear that choosing the right tools for the job is essential. The use of top-quality walleye fishing lures and baits can significantly increase your chances of landing that trophy walleye you’ve been dreaming of.

From the understanding of walleye behavior and preferences to the techniques for using various types of baits and lures, this guide has provided you with valuable insights and practical tips. Armed with this knowledge, you are now ready to venture out into the waters and put your skills to the test.

Remember, whether you prefer artificial lures or live bait, it’s crucial to consider the conditions, season, and even the specific body of water you’re fishing in. Pay attention to the details, experiment with different techniques, and don’t be afraid to adapt your strategy as needed.

So go ahead, grab your fishing gear and head out to your favorite walleye hotspot. Armed with the right baits and lures and armed with your newfound knowledge, you’re bound to have an unforgettable experience and bring home some impressive catches. Happy walleye fishing!


What baits and lures should I use for walleye fishing?

When it comes to walleye fishing, some popular bait and lure options include jig heads, blade baits, live bait rigs, crankbaits, and soft plastics like ring worms. The choice of bait or lure often depends on the season, water conditions, and the walleye’s feeding preferences. Experimenting with different options can help determine what works best in a particular situation.

What are the best walleye fishing techniques?

Effective walleye fishing techniques include jigging, trolling, casting, and drift fishing. For jigging, using a slow, steady motion with occasional pauses can entice walleye to strike. When trolling, using a variety of lures and adjusting the speed can help locate active fish. Casting near structure and using retrieval methods like the stop-and-go can trigger strikes. Drift fishing involves allowing the bait to move naturally with the current.

Which lakes are known for walleye fishing?

Lakes like Lake Erie and bodies of water like the Mississippi River are renowned for their walleye fishing opportunities. These locations typically offer ample feeding grounds and favorable conditions for walleye populations. Checking local fishing reports and consulting with experienced walleye anglers can provide valuable insights into hotspots and fishing strategies for these lakes.

What gear do I need for walleye fishing?

Essential walleye fishing gear includes a medium to medium-light spinning rod, a quality spinning reel, monofilament or fluorocarbon fishing line, various weights of jig heads, a selection of crankbaits and soft plastics, a landing net, and a tackle box to organize your gear. Be sure to choose gear that is appropriate for the size of fish you are targeting and the fishing conditions you will encounter.

How can I locate walleye hotspots?

Locating walleye hotspots requires understanding their feeding patterns and habitat preferences. Look for areas with underwater structures like rocks, weed beds, drop-offs, and points, as these locations often attract walleye. Additionally, pay attention to water temperature, clarity, and currents, as these factors can influence walleye behavior. Fishing reports, local knowledge, and using fish finders can also help identify productive areas.

What are some tips for ice fishing for walleye?

When ice fishing for walleye, it’s crucial to have the right equipment, such as an ice auger, ice fishing shelter, and ice fishing rods. Locating productive ice fishing spots involves searching for underwater structure, using a fish finder, and monitoring fishing reports. It’s important to stay safe on the ice by checking ice thickness regularly and wearing appropriate clothing and gear. Jigging with baits like spoons, Jigging Raps, and live minnows can be effective in attracting walleye.

Additional Resources:

1. Walleye behavior and preferences – https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/fish/walleye/biology.html

2. Techniques for using various types of baits and lures – https://captainexperiences.com/blog/fishing-techniques-the-beginners-guide-to-artificial-lures#:~:text=Some%20common%20techniques%20include%20casting,to%20swim%20through%20the%20water.

3. Portable fish finders – https://www.amazon.com/portable-fish-finder/s?k=portable+fish+finder

4. Experimenting with different fishing techniques  – https://www.wired2fish.com/opinions-philosophies/new-fishing-techniques-is-there-a-right-or-wrong-time-to-experiment

5. Monofilament or fluorocarbon fishing lines – https://www.reelcoquinafishing.com/blogs/florida-fishing-blog/fluorocarbon-vs-mono#:~:text=Monofilament%20has%20a%20lower%20density,or%20areas%20with%20heavy%20vegetation.

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