Walleye fishing

Walleye Links Where to fish in Washington
There are three secrets to catching walleyes (at least): fish on the bottom; fish slowly; and use night crawlers. The first two of these are the most important. Walleyes stay close to the bottom, and they don’t spend a lot of energy chasing their food. The most consistent fishing depth during daytime is 18 to 25 feet. Rocky bottoms are usually preferred, with a nearby depth change or “breakline” a desirable feature. Good catches can also be made in or around weed beds at certain times.

A good walleye rig is one that can be cast or trolled slowly along the bottom without getting hung up too often. Although not necessary, a stout wire leader 12 inches above the hook will protect the line from abrasive rocks, and will keep the walleye’s sharp teeth from cutting the line once the fish is hooked. But heavy leader may also make your offering less attractive to the fish.

Many kinds of lures, jigs, spinners and spoons will fool walleyes, with most of them being much more effective if a live night crawler is attached. Trollers will often put a worm on a stout, sharp 1/0 hook attached to a flashy spinner with a wire leader tied to a good swivel. Eighteen inches in front of the swivel they will put a small split shot that will keep a one to two-ounce barrel weight in place. Casters must use a lure that is heavy enough to sink rapidly to the bottom.

Large deep-diving plugs are also a popular and productive technique. These are usually in bright colors that will show up in the depths, and are trolled without any bait attached.

Whatever bait or lure is used, it’s important to fish very slowly. Some anglers even troll in reverse (when it is safe to do so) to get their speed down to what a walleye will chase. Once a walleye is caught, continue fishing the same area. Where there is one there will usually be more. Also make note of the bottom or “structure” and look for fish in similar habitat.

One final tip is to keep the hooks razor sharp. In addition to a mouthful of teeth, walleyes have a hard, bony palate to protect themselves from the spines of the fish they eat. A sharp hook is mandatory to getting a solid hookup.

Map of Washington Walleye Waters