Top Walleye Baits And Lures For Catching More Fish

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Discover the most effective walleye baits and lures for every fishing scenario, from jigs and crankbaits to soft plastics and live baits.

Jigs for Walleye

Walleye fishing with jigs is a tried-and-true approach that has stood the test of time. Jigs offer a versatility that’s hard to match, and their ability to mimic a wide range of baitfish and other prey makes them a staple in many walleye anglers’ tackle boxes. But what makes jigs so effective, and how can you use them to land more walleye?

Swimbaits for Structure Fishing

When targeting walleye in structural elements like rocks, weeds, or sunken logs, swimbaits can be incredibly effective. These soft-bodied lures imitate injured baitfish, and their slow, tantalizing motion is often too enticing for walleye to resist. Try using swimbaits in areas with moderate to heavy structural features, as these provide ambush points for hungry walleye.

Jigging Minnows for Deep Water

Deep-water walleye fishing often requires a different approach, and jigging minnows can be a game-changer. These slender, aerodynamic lures plummet quickly to the desired depth, allowing you to target walleye holding in the “zone.” When jigging minnows, use a slow, deliberate motion to mimic the natural flutter of a wounded baitfish. This can be especially effective in areas with little to no structure, where walleye may be roaming in search of food.

Curly Tail Jigs for Shallow Water

In shallower waters, curly tail jigs can be a fantastic option for targeting walleye. The curly tail’s mesmerizing motion, combined with the jighead’s weight, allows for a tantalizing action that’s hard for walleye to ignore. When using curly tail jigs in shallow water, try incorporating short, quick lifts to simulate the fleeing action of a baitfish. This can be particularly effective in areas with abundant vegetation or scattered rocks, where walleye may be actively feeding.

Crankbaits for Walleye

Crankbaits have long been a staple in the walleye fishing community, and for good reason. When used correctly, they can be extremely effective at enticing even the most finicky walleyes. So, what makes crankbaits so appealing to these wily fish?

Shad-Shaped Crankbaits for Suspended Walleye

Imagine you’re on a lake, and you’ve located a school of suspended walleye holding at around 15-20 feet. You’ve tried jigs and live bait to no avail, but you’re not ready to give up just yet. That’s where shad-shaped crankbaits come in. These slender, baitfish-imitating lures are perfect for targeting those suspended walleye that seem to be ignoring everything else. With their slender profile and tantalizing wobble, shad-shaped crankbaits are often the ticket to catching these finicky fish.

Baitfish-Imitating Crankbaits for Weed Lines

Weed lines can be a walleye’s best friend, especially during the warmer months. As baitfish flee the open water to escape the heat, walleyes follow, and that’s where baitfish-imitating crankbaits shine. These crankbaits are designed to mimic the very baitfish that walleyes are feeding on, making them almost irresistible. Whether you’re working a weed line with a slow, steady retrieve or a quick, jerky motion, baitfish-imitating crankbaits are sure to get the attention of any walleye in the vicinity.

Deep-Diving Crankbaits for Open Water

Deep-diving crankbaits are a different beast altogether. These lures are designed to reach extreme depths, often exceeding 20 feet, to target those walleyes that have retreated to the depths of the lake. With their larger profiles and heavier weights, deep-diving crankbaits can be used to search large areas of open water, making them a great option for anglers who want to cover a lot of ground quickly. Just be sure to use a slow, steady retrieve to give those deep-dwelling walleyes the best chance to find and strike your lure.

Soft Plastics for Walleye

Walleye anglers often overlook soft plastics as a viable option, opting instead for the more traditional live bait or crankbaits. However, soft plastics offer a unique set of advantages that can make all the difference in your fishing trip. They’re versatile, inexpensive, and can be customized to mimic a variety of prey. But which soft plastics work best for walleye, and how do you use them?

Curly Tail Grubs for Slow Trolling

One of the most effective soft plastic lures for walleye is the curly tail grub. Their slow, tantalizing action is irresistible to walleye, and their versatility makes them perfect for slow trolling. Imagine a tantalizing dance, where the curly tail flails back and forth, hypnotizing any walleye in the vicinity. By adjusting the speed and action of your troll, you can customize the presentation to suit the mood of the walleye.

Plastic Worms for Bottom Bouncing

Another popular soft plastic option is the plastic worm. These lures excel when bottom bouncing, where their weight and action allow them to tap and bounce along the lake floor. It’s like trying to ignore a persistent knock on the door – walleye can’t resist the commotion. When combining plastic worms with a weighted hook or jig, you create a deadly combo that’ll leave walleye begging for mercy.

Swimbait Trailers for Jigs

But what about swimbaits as trailers for jigs? This combo might just be the secret sauce you need to land the big ones. The suppleness of the swimbait, coupled with the weight and movement of the jig, creates an irresistible package. Think of it as a one-two punch, where the jig provides the power and the swimbait the finesse. This pairing is almost unbeatable, as it allows you to cover a wide range of depths and structures with ease. By customizing the swimbait trailer, you can adapt to changing walleye moods and environments.

Spinner Rigs for Walleye

Spinner rigs are a versatile and effective way to catch walleye, and when used correctly, can be a game-changer on the water. But with so many options available, it’s essential to understand how to choose the right spinner rig for the job.

Slow Death Rigs for Finicky Walleye

Imagine you’re trying to convince a skeptical friend to try a new restaurant. You need to present the right dishes in the right way to win them over. That’s similar to what’s happening when you’re trying to catch finicky walleye with a slow death rig. These rigs feature a slow-moving, tantalizing presentation that can be irresistible to even the most discerning walleye. The key is to use a rig that moves slowly and deliberately, giving the walleye ample opportunity to find and strike the bait.

By using a slow death rig, you can target those finicky walleye that are hesitant to strike more aggressive presentations. This technique is especially effective in clear water or when walleye are suspended in the water column.

Spinnerbait Rigs for Weed Edges

Weed edges can be a walleye hotspot, especially during the warmer months. But navigating these areas with traditional lures can be challenging, which is where spinnerbait rigs come in. These rigs feature a spinnerbait that can be worked quickly and quietly through the weeds, triggering strikes from walleye that might otherwise be out of reach.

When using spinnerbait rigs for weed edges, it’s essential to choose a rig that can handle the thick vegetation. Look for rigs with a sturdy hook and a spinnerbait that can be easily reeled in and out of the weeds without getting snagged.

Spinner Harnesses for Trolling

Trolling is an effective way to cover large areas and target walleye that are scattered throughout the water. Spinner harnesses are a popular choice for trolling because they can be easily customized to imitate a variety of baitfish and can be trolled at a range of speeds.

When using spinner harnesses for trolling, it’s essential to pay attention to the size and color of the spinner, as well as the type of bait or lure used. A large spinner can be used to imitate a larger baitfish, while a smaller spinner is better suited for imitating smaller baitfish. By mixing and matching different spinner sizes and bait styles, you can create a custom presentation that’s tailored to the specific walleye you’re targeting.

Live Bait for Walleye

Walleye are notorious for being finicky eaters, but when it comes to live bait, they can become downright gluttonous. There’s just something about the real deal that gets them going. In this section, we’ll dive into the world of live bait for walleye, covering the best options for different scenarios and how to present them for maximum success.

Nightcrawlers for Slip Bobbers

Slip bobbers are an excellent way to suspend your live bait at a precise depth, and when combined with nightcrawlers, they become almost irresistible to walleye. The trick is to use a juicy, lively nightcrawler and a bobber that’s sensitive enough to detect even the lightest of bites. When the bobber dips, don’t hesitate – set the hook! You can also try adding a small spinner or spoon to the rig to give it some extra flash and vibration.

Leeches for Live Bait Rigs

Leeches are another popular live bait option for walleye, and for good reason. They’re a staple in many walleye diets, and their soft, squishy bodies are easy for walleye to swallow whole. When using leeches, try pairing them with a live bait rig featuring a #2 or #4 hook and a small sinker to get the bait near the bottom or suspended beneath a slip bobber. This is especially effective in areas with rocky or weedy structures.

Minnows for Trolling and Casting

Minnows are perhaps the most overlooked live bait option for walleye, but they can be incredibly effective when used correctly. For trolling, try using a small to medium-sized minnow (about 2-3 inches long) on a spinner rig or a slow-trolled crankbait. This can be especially deadly when targeting suspended walleye in open water. For casting, use a smaller minnow (about 1-2 inches long) on a jighead or a small spinnerbait. This is a great way to catch walleye in areas with heavy cover or submerged structures.

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