Walleye is a very common choice for freshwater fishing, but people sometimes mistake them for other fish which are not even related to them. They are also known as yellow pike or yellow walleye. In this article, we will talk about river walleye fishing and the right way to do so.
Before people use to think river walleye is related to blue walleye which are now presumed extinct. Blue walleye was available at Southern Canada in an area like Ontario.
But recent studies prove they may be the same fish, with genetic markers and with other information they didn’t find any difference other than color.
What is Walleye
“Walleye” name came from the fish’s weird eye condition. Their eyes point is onward and their eyes glow in low light and this gives anglers advantage in the night time. Walleye has a layer over their eyes which is called tapetum lucidum.
Their eye position and this layer help them to capture even the lowest light and use them in any condition. That’s why walleye can search for prey in any time and kind of weather condition even if its muddy or turbulent water.
Walleye are a mostly different shade of olive and gold in pattern and they are extended to the upper side but the belly is white. Walleye are predatory animals they are close to feline and canine predators. So, they have extremely sharp teeth and they can hold into anything.
Walleye can be 31 inches long in length and can be up to 20 pounds in weight. But the whole weight and size depending on condition and female are larger than males.
A walleye can live up to decades, sometimes they even cross 30 years (if the condition is on their side). Walleye shaped like a cylinder and they have large spiny dorsal fins. They normally spawn in spring and then migrate to smaller tributaries with rock or gravel bottoms. Rock helps leg to attach and they normally lay eggs up to 500,000 in one season.
River Walleye Fishing Tips and Guides
Walleye are a predator and their eye reflects on the night, these two are the reason anglers fish them at night or evening. When it comes to walleye the cloudy and turbulent water will be your first choice. Because walleye are a cool water fish they favor slightly warm water than a trout but not warm enough for bass and panfish.
Like Fly fishing in different rivers, walleye fishing can be found on clean lakes. Clean lake and large rivers with sandy or gravel bottom are the great places to find walleye. In the day, you will find them in deep water normally from the depth of 15 to 30 feet. But when they need to feast on bait-fish they came on the surface water other than that they stay in the deep water.
Walleye normally comes for the baitfish in the evening or early morning then they go back to deep water.
1. Where to Find Walleye (walleye habitat)
Walleyes are found in larger lakes and rivers. There are many places in the USA for fishing walleyes. Mississippi river, spring river and many other areas where you can find walleyes. However, finding the walleyes for fishing in these areas can be little tricky if you don’t know where in these rivers they actually Hide.
Walley can be found in the river in these places.
- You will find most of the walleye beside dams of a river
- In the deep pockets of the river, walleyes like to lie down and have rest
- Walley like to stay right where the current breaks
Here are some other tips to look at for finding walleyes:
Finding the Walleyes in Water
Walleyes like still water. Sometimes they even take places in the slack water areas. So, you should wait patiently till the current slowed down in the small river. After the water comes into the right condition, you should start fishing.
Check out the condition of the river for fishing. The water level is really important here. The waters of the rivers can suddenly rise or fall. If that happens, you should fish with vertical motion. When current breaks, nearby walleyes can be attracted with the baitfishes. So, check out this factor as well.
Walleye Hiding Places
Finding walleye hiding places increases the chances of catching them perfectly. When active, you will see the walleye to lie along the holes (shallow holes). They will rest down on the river basin.
So, it is a good idea to casting shallow in the right depth of two to three feel on the most occasion. You should cast the bait upstream which will normally go down with time and meet the current.
Some other considerations
Like we said before they have excellent eyesight that’s why lack of light doesn’t bother them and there’s a possibility you will find them in weed lines, rocky points, and other structure when they are searching for food.
It’s a rare occasion if you find them in the day and if you find them in the day then its an overcast day and choppy water. This time is called “walleye chop” by anglers.
2. Small River Walleye Fishing Tips
Most of the people fantasize about the bigger rivers when they think about walleye fishing. The thrill of trolling on the river to catch walleyes are nice, but if you are planning to fish in the smaller rivers, it can also be very pleasing and thrilling.
You just need to find the right spot in the water and thus can find a great time fishing. There are few tips you can actually follow during small river walleye fishing. Here are a few tips:
Small river fishing means you don’t want to have rolling boats or motor beside you. And also, you should take proper gear which supports small river walleye fishing only. Take a calculative action to get the perfect result.
3. Gears for Walleye Fishing in the River
Choosing the right gear will help you win half of the battle.
Catching a walleye will take more than just some gear but if you get the opportunity make sure you don’t lose because of a fishing rod, reel, fishing line.
There’s an outline of the fishing gear for catching walleye in the river.
Choosing a Rod for Walleye Fishing
Walleyes are clever if they understand its a lure they will split it out. So the rode should be sensitive and stiff so you can make it quick. The rod should be quick to detect the bite, this kind of road is normally strong and they shouldn’t belong.
See Also: Selecting Right Steelhead Rods
Rods for Jigging and Lure Fishing
For vertical jigging and other types of lure, a fast-action road in the 5-6 foot with medium power will do the work. This length will help your hand to feel the bite sooner.
Shorter rod also weightless so carrying them in long fishing trips is easy. In deep water, a shorter stiff rod will give you a better result and they will help you set the hook quick and powerful.
Rods for Live Bait Rigging
The short length is best for jigging and lure but the medium length from the 6-7 foot is best for bait rigging. They give you moderate to fast action and you can use them for the double cast. This rod is also light and they are sensitive so it will be easy for you to detect the bite.
The longer length will help you to make a solid hook set during fishing. Also, this rod can take a shock which gives anglers more time cause the fish won’t understand the tension of the line and they will keep eating the bait.
Rods for Trolling
7 12 to the 10-foot long rod are best for trolling, the anglers who deal with trolling are mainly pro at this. Often fiberglass is used to make them more durable.
They are not sensitive but they can take a lot of weight. Using a longer rod won’t be easy but it will keep your line away from the boat so it won’t get tangled in the propellers. They are an obviously better shock absorber.
Reels for Walleye
You need a reel that will cover you in all kind of situation and many seasons. 1325X or 1330X are up for the job they are good quality reels and have a versatile use. If you are good at trolling then a reel with higher capacity will give you a faster retrieve speed.
Shimano Tekota 300LC traditional round bait which is chosen by so many trolling anglers. This reel has a built-in line so you will have all the capacity you need and with the time you will know exactly how long line you will be needing.
If you are new then a spin cast reel is perfect for you and they are easy to focus on catching fish and they don’t tangle up the line. The Zebco Omega ZO3PR they are easy to handle but won’t is able to handle a large walleye.
4. Selecting the Right Line, Lure and Baits for Walleye
Selecting the right lures and lines are as important as finding the right rods and reels. So, here are some tips and guidelines for selecting the right items.
Line Selection for Walleye
Braid and super line have to have the strength to tackle a walleye and for that make sure they are close to 8-12 pound. If they have no stretch then when you fish in deep water you can jig or lure that will help you make a quick, solid hook set.
For more heavy fish you need a more strong line, it can be up 20 pounds but don’t go higher than this. Walleye live near the bottom so the line can get snagged sometimes and on that time it will hard to break free if the line is too strong. So save the strong line for carp fishing.
Lures for Walleye
Crankbaits, Spoons, and jig bodies are popular options for luring walleye. Jiggs is the most common lure and anglers use both head and body for the walleye. A walleye head weight 116 ounce to 1 ounce and they work like a wonder in deep water.
The perfect size of the body is 3 to 5 inch and they are balanced, because of their curly tail they can mimic a live minnow. For getting a more better result try to use power bait they create vibrate that helps anglers.
Jiggling spoon can be a good idea for batting walleye they are heavy sometimes close to 3/4 ounce. Crankbait is another option that looks literally like a baitfish and according to most anglers, they are most effective on anglers.
Bait for Walleye
The lure doesn’t work most of the time on the other hand live bait tends to disappoint less. Minnows are an option that’s available the whole year and most useful when it’s spring and fall. They are a little bit smaller but if you can manage longer one they will give you better service.
Leeches are very hard to find but they are the most effective one. Actually, they are normally 2 to 8 inch long. Nightcrawler is favored by warmer waters angler and they are cost effective.
5. Tactics in River Trolling for Walleye
Walleye is all-weather fish so we can catch them in any season. Jiggling and trolling is the most used tactics, it depends on the skill level to catch some fish. Trolling is the best way because it covers most of the area you want to try in a big river.
When you are river trolling for walleye against the current it can reduce your speed but with the current, you can get the desired action.
It is always good to use current in your favor. When you are fishing with bait you can stop and move with the natural speed. Target the bait to be river bottom so you can catch big fish even during the day time.
Catching walleye is a big deal for anglers, it needs patience and practice. Even an experienced angler has a bad day in the river, so give it some time and enjoy the fishing.
6. Winter River Walleye Fishing: The Options to Notice
In winter most of the fishing can rest because of the cold icy waters in the rivers. But if you are too keen, finding walleye in winter can be very adventurous and exciting. There are some advantages too.
First, the water remains calm and the current remains slower than other time in winter. So, using fishing finder is very effective in this kind of weather and current.