Line Counter Reels for Walleye Fishing

Lake Erie Fall Fishing
Lake Erie Fall Fishing

Why Use a Line Counter Reel for Walleye?

When it comes to line counter reels for walleye fishing, precision and repeatability are everything. Walleye tend to hang out along specific depth contours and suspend. Being able to accurately monitor and adjust your line out to the exact required depth is crucial for getting lures and rigs into the strike zone consistently. Each day the walleye will be at a different depth. Staying in that depth target zone is key to catching fish. A line counter reel allows you to do just that.

These specialized reels have a built-in line counter that displays the exact amount of line out – down to the last inch or even half-inch. This allows you to:

  • Precisely deploy baits/lures to the precise depth walleye are holding
  • Repeat the same drift or troll presentation time after time
  • Account for every inch of line out when vertically jigging
  • Easily re-set to the same line out if a fish pulls drag
  • Avoid depth mistakes that can cost you strikes

In walleye fishing, being just a foot or two off the mark can make all the difference. With a line counter reel, you can accurately control and duplicate your presentations across all lines while trolling. Remember, walleye feed up, so keeping your bait above where you are marking fish will help you be more successful.

What to Look for in a Walleye Line Counter Reel

Not all line counter reels are created equal when it comes to walleye fishing applications. Different features will be specific to your type of walleye fishing. There are several key features to prioritize:

Line Capacity & Gear Ratio

Make sure the reel has enough line capacity to handle the deep waters and long drifts/trolls you’ll be fishing. For the eastern basin of Lake Erie, walleye fishermen may opt for larger reels because the water is deeper and requires more line. In the shallow western basin of Lake Erie, anglers can get away with a 20-sized reel. The gear ratio determines how many reel revolutions it takes to retrieve one revolution of the spool – generally between 5:1 and 7:1 for walleye. Typically, for dipsy divers and braids use a 30-size reel, and for mono use a 20-size reel.

Drag System

Having a smooth yet powerful drag system is critical for walleye fishing. A smooth drag helps when the fish runs, especially close to the boat. That is when most fish are lost before netting. A powerful drag is necessary so your planer board does not slip back, keeping it in line with the rest.

Line Counter Quality

This is the headliner feature – ensure the line counter is easy to read and reset to zero. Some high-end models have digital readouts, but most use an analog readout. There are different qualities of reels available. However, some low-priced line counter reels will function correctly for years. This is also dependent on how you take care of the reels while in storage or fishing.

Construction & Durability

Walleye fishing often involves lots of rod holder banging and general abuse. Look for an aluminum or carbon frame, sealed drag systems, and quality components built to withstand rough use. Using a cover on the reels while in storage will help in the longevity of the function of the line counter reel.

Top 5 Line Counter Reels for Walleye


Why It’s a Top Pick:

  • Durable and lasting with Shimano Quality
  • The smoothest drag on the market
  • The most popular walleye trolling sizes in 500 and 600 size

2. KastKing ReKon

Key Features:

  • Many different sizes to choose from depending on your needs
  • Stainless steel ball bearings, 5.3:1 gear ratio
  • Rugged body for trolling and storage protection

3. Okuma Coldwater LP Line Counter Reel

Why Walleye Anglers Love It:

  • This is a rugged and smooth high-end line counter reel for walleye
  • Fast 5.4:1 gear ratio retrieves line quickly
  • 25-pounds of max drag
  • 3BB + 1RB stainless steel ball bearings

4. Okuma Convector Low Profile Line Counter Trolling Reel

What Makes it Stand Out:

  • Different sizes to choose from
  • Fast 6:3:1 and 5.4:1 gear ratio retrieves line quickly

5. Okuma Magda Pro Line Counter Levelwind Trolling Reel

Don’t Overlook This One:

  • Very affordable price for a quality line counter
  • Traditional mechanical line counters are clear and durable
  • They come in popular 20DX and 30DX Sizes.

Tips for Using a Line Counter Reel Walleye Fishing

To maximize your line counter reel for walleye success:

  • Take time to set it perfectly to 0 before each outing
  • Consider adding a backing line for accurate deeper readings
  • Use a rod holder or rod loop to avoid line twist/memory coils
  • Reset after any fish strikes that engage the drag
  • Learn to quickly visualize and repeat key lines out of depth

With the ability to duplicate casts and drifts down to the inch, these specialized reels will put you in the strike zone more often. Let me know if you need any other walleye reel recommendations!