Best Lures for Walleye Fishing

best lures for walleye
best lures for walleye

Choosing the best lures for walleye and the appropriate approach differs significantly from that of other species. Walleye anglers will often use live bait in combination with say a spinner, crankbait, or slip bobber. Walleye fishermen use live bait such as night crawlers, leeches, and emerald shiners. A bass fisherman rarely uses live bait to catch a fish, so you have to approach selecting a walleye lure differently.

This walleye lure guide will help you pick the right lure for your situation. This is based on the personal experience of charter captains and recreational fishermen. With these years of experience, we have narrowed the search down to the basics. Lures that walleye fisherman should have in their tackle arsenal at all times.

The Best Lures for Walleye | Recommendations

Best Walleye Jigs

The most used lure for walleye fishing is a jig. A jig is comprised of a lead or tungsten head with a hook. Some jigs can be fished as they are, and some you will add a soft plastic or live bait to be added. Jigs come in endless color schemes and styles. There are different types of heads and eyes on jigs available. Each jig has a use in a unique situation. Some jigs are made to fall slow, have a blade, or flutter. A ball head jig is the most used jig because you can add a lure or bait to fit the situation.

The best all-around jig for walleye has to be Walleye Killer Jigs. They are made in Genoa, WI, and are family-owned and operated. Each jig comes prerigged with a stinger hook ready to fish. You can easily tip each jig with a minnow if you prefer.

best lures for walleye

Best Walleye Crankbait

Crankbaits can be used casting or trolling when fishing for walleye. Casting crankbaits from a rocky lake shoreline or river is popular in the spring and fall months when the water is colder. This is especially popular on Lake Erie in the fall. Trolling crankbaits has become popular all over the country in the Great Lakes, inland lakes, and river systems. There are endless varieties of crankbaits to choose from depending on the action and depth achieved. In the Great Lakes, deep-diving crankbaits are more popular for targetting suspended walleye. Use short-billed crankbaits in river systems and shallow lakes.

Reef Runners are the best all-around crankbait. They come in all the popular sizes and depth ranges. Reef Runner 700’s are good for casting from shore while Reef Runner 800’s are good for trolling deep water. They come in just about every color imaginable for every condition.

Reef Runner

Best Walleye Spinner

Walleye spinners have been popular lures for walleye for decades. Spinners have evolved over the years into efficient fish-catching lures. A spinner is usually comprised of a set of hooks (2-3 depending on the situation), beads, and a spinner blade. The hooks are designed to use a nightcrawler in line with the lure. The back hook can be a treble or regular hook depending on personal preference. The lure action is streamlined in the water with a blade that spins as you reel in or troll it. Most anglers choose to troll a spinner, but casting a spinner can be just as effective. Spinners for walleye shine in the late spring into the summer when walleye are feeding heavily. They are best trolled slowly but can be trolled fast if used with willow blades.

Walleye Spinner

Best Walleye Glide Bait

Walleye glide baits or jigging raps are great for fishing the spawn or open water. These have become popular over the past couple of years due to forward-facing sonar. Anglers can target individual fish using FFS, and then cast a glide bait to that fish. Jigging raps can also be used on rocky drop-offs and humps while drifting or anchored. If the fish are grouped up in this area a glide bait is a great way to catch walleye.

Jigging Rap

Best Live Bait for Walleye

Walleye live bait

There are three main choices when it comes to live bait for walleye: Nightcrawlers, Leeches, and Minnows. Each has its use depending on water conditions and location. Using a jig tipped with a minnow is a deadly combination. When an empty jig alone won’t trigger a bite, adding live bait will surely help entice walleye. Use leeches on a bare hook with a slip bobber or tipped on a jig. Nightcrawlers are used on spinners. Spinners can be cast or trolled depending on conditions and how you like to fish.

Nightcrawlers for Walleye

Nightcrawlers are the most used live bait for walleye across the United States. Fish worms alone or tipped on a spinner or jig. In the North, fish a nightcrawler on a slip bobber in the weeds. This is especially effective in the Northern states and Canada. While trolling, add a nightcrawler to a spinner rig or crankbait to get walleye to bite.

Leeches for Walleye

Fishing leeches in the northern states and Canada is popular. A leech tipped on a jig or slip bobber rig is effective. Typically leeches are fish in weed beds where walleye will hang in the summer months. Fish deep lakes with a spoon or jig tipped with a leech. Leeches thrive in river systems, so using them while fishing a river for walleye can be effective.

Minnows for Walleye

Minnows tipped on a jig is a great way to catch walleye. If the walleye won’t bite a bare jig, tip it with a minnow. Walleye feed on minnows naturally in their habitat. Using a minnow that comes from the body of water you are fishing is essential to its effectiveness. For example, on Lake Erie, most fishermen choose to use emerald shiners because they are native to those waters. Emerald shiners are readily available and all bait shops on Lake Erie carry them.

Fishing for walleye is challenging for a beginner. We recommend browsing and reading the how-to articles. Browsing through our articles can shorten your learning curve while shopping for the best lures for walleye.