Reels for Walleye Fishing

jigging rod
jigging rod

Walleye fishing requires the right gear, and choosing the perfect reel can make all the difference. There are some factors to consider when choosing reels for walleye fishing such as price point and intended fishing technique. This article breaks down the best trolling and spinning reels for walleye, helping you make an informed decision for your next fishing trip.

Trolling Reels for Walleye

Trolling is a popular and effective method for catching walleye. They are essential to keeping your bait in the strike zone. Trolling reels are also great because they keep a lot of fishing line, have elevated gear ratios, and smooth drags. Here are the top trolling reels to consider:

1. Shimano Tekota 500

The Shimano Tekota 500 is a workhorse trolling reel that’s perfect for walleye fishing. This is the preferred trolling reel for tournament anglers and series weekend fishermen.

Pros:

  • Durable construction
  • Smooth drag system
  • Large line capacity

Cons:

  • Slightly heavier than some competitors
  • Higher price point
FeatureSpecification
Gear Ratio4.2:1
Weight20.5 oz
Line Capacity (lb/yds)12/420, 14/360, 17/300
Max Drag18 lbs

2. Okuma Magda Pro MA-30DX

The Okuma Magda Pro MA-30DX offers great value for walleye trolling enthusiasts.

Pros:

  • Affordable price
  • Reliable line counter
  • Corrosion-resistant components

Cons:

  • Not as smooth as higher-end models
  • Plastic construction may not be as durable

3. Abu Garcia Ambassadeur C3 Round Baitcast Reel

The Abu Garcia Ambassadeur C3 is a classic round baitcasting reel that excels at trolling for walleye. These reels are great for shallow inland lakes where a line counter reel may not be necessary. For example: if you are trolling a weed line or ledge.

Pros:

  • Time-tested design
  • Excellent durability
  • Smooth operation

Cons:

  • No built-in line counter
  • Learning curve for beginners

4. Daiwa Sealine SG-3B Line Counter Reel

The Daiwa Sealine SG-3B is a reliable line counter reel that’s perfect for precision trolling. These are great for trolling crankbaits on a 20-size and dipsy divers on a 30-size.

Pros:

  • Accurate line counter
  • Sturdy construction
  • Smooth drag system

Cons:

  • Heavier than some competitors
  • Can be noisy during retrieval

5. Penn Squall LevelWind

The Penn Squall LevelWind is a versatile trolling reel that can handle both freshwater and saltwater fishing. These reels are especially popular in deep lakes where divers and lead-core fishing line will be used.

Pros:

  • Corrosion-resistant materials
  • Smooth-level wind system
  • Powerful drag

Cons:

  • No line counter
  • Heavier than some freshwater-specific models

Factors to consider when choosing a trolling reel for walleye

When selecting a trolling reel for walleye fishing, keep these key factors in mind:

  1. Line capacity: Ensure the reel can hold enough line for your preferred trolling depth and distance.
  2. Drag system: Look for a smooth, reliable drag to handle fighting larger walleye.
  3. Line counter: A built-in line counter can help you maintain precise trolling depths.
  4. Gear ratio: Lower gear ratios (around 4:1 to 5:1) are ideal for trolling as they provide more cranking power.
  5. Durability: Choose a reel with corrosion-resistant materials and solid construction to withstand frequent use.
  6. Weight: Consider the overall weight of your rod and reel combo for comfortable all-day fishing.
  7. Price: Set a budget that balances quality and affordability for your needs.

Spinning reels for walleye

Spinning reels are versatile and easy to use, making them a popular choice for walleye fishing. Spinning reels are used to fish walleye in rivers. Likewise, they are used while jigging or using live sonar from a boat. By far these are the most used walleye fishing reels. Here are the top spinning reels to consider:

1. Pflueger President

The Pflueger President is a budget-friendly spinning reel that offers excellent performance for walleye fishing. This reel is by far the most used among anglers because of its price point and durability.

Pros:

  • Smooth operation
  • Lightweight design
  • Great value for money

Cons:

  • Not as durable as higher-end models
  • May not handle larger fish as well

2. Shimano Stradic FL

The Shimano Stradic FL is a high-performance spinning reel that’s perfect for serious walleye anglers. These high-end reels have a smooth drag and are great for walleye fishing.

Pros:

  • Extremely smooth operation
  • Lightweight and durable
  • Excellent drag system

Cons:

  • Higher price point
  • May be overkill for casual anglers

3. Daiwa BG

The Daiwa BG is a rugged and reliable spinning reel that offers great value for walleye fishing.

Pros:

  • Durable construction
  • Smooth drag system
  • Excellent line capacity

Cons:

  • Heavier than some competitors
  • The handle may be too large for some anglers

4. Abu Garcia Revo X

The Abu Garcia Revo X is a versatile spinning reel that performs well for various walleye fishing techniques. These reels are on the upper end of price ranges but are a great choice for walleye fishing. They offer a smooth drag and hold the braided line well.

Pros:

  • Lightweight design
  • Smooth operation
  • Good line management

Cons:

  • Not as durable as some higher-end models
  • Drag system could be stronger

5. Penn Battle III

The Penn Battle III is a sturdy spinning reel that can handle both freshwater and saltwater fishing. These are not too common with walleye fishermen but they are a great reel. They offer the same features as other popular walleye reels without breaking the bank.

Pros:

  • Durable construction
  • Powerful drag system
  • Versatile for various fishing conditions

Cons:

  • Heavier than some freshwater-specific models
  • May be overkill for smaller walleye

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Spinning Reel for Walleye

When selecting a spinning reel for walleye fishing, keep these key factors in mind:

  1. Reel size: Choose a size that balances well with your rod and fishing style. Sizes 2500 to 3000 are typically ideal for walleye.
  2. Gear ratio: A gear ratio between 5.0:1 and 6.2:1 offers a good balance of speed and power for walleye fishing.
  3. Drag system: Look for a smooth, reliable drag to handle fighting walleye of various sizes.
  4. Line capacity: Ensure the reel can hold enough line for your preferred fishing techniques.
  5. Weight: Consider the overall weight of your rod and reel combo for comfortable all-day fishing.
  6. Durability: Choose a reel with corrosion-resistant materials and solid construction to withstand frequent use.
  7. Price: Set a budget that balances quality and affordability for your needs.

Comparing Reels for Walleye Fishing

While both trolling and spinning reels can be effective for walleye fishing, they each have their strengths and weaknesses. Here’s a quick comparison to help you choose the right type for your needs:

FeatureTrolling ReelsSpinning Reels
Casting DistanceN/AExcellent
Line CapacityHighModerate
Ease of UseModerateEasy
Precision ControlExcellent (Line Counter)Good
VersatilityLimitedHigh
WeightHeavierLighter
Drag PowerHigherModerate
CostGenerally higherVariable

When to Choose A Trolling Reel for Walleye

Trolling reels are used for precise lure depth while trolling from a boat. Opt for a trolling reel when:

  1. You primarily fish from a boat
  2. You need to maintain precise depths and speeds
  3. You’re targeting deeper water or covering large areas
  4. You prefer using heavier lines and lures

When to choose a spinning reel for walleye

Go with a spinning reel when:

  1. You fish from shore or smaller boats
  2. You enjoy casting and retrieving lures
  3. You want versatility for different fishing techniques
  4. You prefer lighter tackle and finesse presentations

Tips for maintaining your walleye fishing reels

Proper maintenance can extend the life of your fishing reels and ensure they perform at their best. Your reels will be in top shape by following a maintenance plan. Here are some tips to keep your walleye reels in top shape:

  1. Rinse after use: Always rinse your reel with fresh water after fishing, especially if you’ve been in saltwater or muddy conditions.
  2. Dry thoroughly: Use a soft cloth to dry your reel after rinsing, paying special attention to the spool and line roller.
  3. Lubricate regularly: Apply reel oil or grease to moving parts as recommended by the manufacturer.
  4. Check for wear: Inspect your reel for signs of wear or damage, such as frayed line, loose screws, or worn gears.
  5. Store properly: Keep your reels in a cool, dry place when not in use, preferably in a protective case.
  6. Clean the line: Regularly clean your fishing line to remove dirt and debris that can affect reel performance.
  7. Tighten loose parts: Check for and tighten any loose screws or components before each fishing trip.
  8. Professional servicing: Consider having your reels professionally serviced once a year or after heavy use.

Choosing the right fishing reel for walleye can greatly improve your chances of success on the water. Whether you prefer trolling or spinning techniques, there’s a reel out there that’s perfect for your needs and budget. Consider factors like reel type, size, gear ratio, and durability when making your decision. Remember to maintain your reels properly to ensure they provide years of reliable service. With the right reel in hand, you’ll be well-equipped to tackle walleye fishing in various conditions and locations.

By considering the pros and cons of each reel type and model, you can make an informed decision that suits your fishing style and preferences. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or just starting, investing in a quality reel will enhance your walleye fishing experience and help you land more fish. So gear up, hit the water, and enjoy the thrill of walleye fishing with your new reel!