Walleye Fishing Lures that Work
Derrek Sigler 07.19.20
Walleye have a couple of great things going for them in terms of fishing fun. For one, they are a truly challenging species to catch consistently. Anglers need to be on top of their game if they want to put fish in the boat on a regular basis. Secondly, walleye may well be the best freshwater fish to eat, giving anglers another reason to want to get on the fish. What are some of the best walleye fishing lures that really work? We opened our tackle boxes to see which ones we go to on a regular basis when we want to put fish in the boat.
Walleye bite best in the early evening, and especially one cloudless evenings with a bright moon. They tend to like cooler water, so look for some moderate depth during the warmer parts of the season. Erratic baits work very well, especially ones that mimic baitfish. We’ve caught them year round and at all times of the day, although midday bites are to be considered odd. We caught one in the middle of a very hot day, but right as one lone, dark cloud made its way overhead.
You can ask many hardcore walleye guys what is one of the go-to baits, and most will include Reef Runners at or near the top. These slender body baits have a distinct wobble action that attracts walleyes like bees to flowers. Most “eye guys have multiple colors and different lip lengths to reach every depth. Trolling a spread of these baits, especially under some planer boards will yield results. The best size seems to be the 4-5 inch range and the depth depends on where you’re fishing and where the fish are holding. Bright colors work well for low-light conditions.
Rapala Shad Rap
Another classic walleye bait is the Shad Rap from Rapala. These balsa-wood baits also have a distinctive wobble action that combines the classic floatation of the traditional Rapala bait with a deadly shape big eyes can’t resist. These baits are offered in multiple sizes and running depths, but have remained basically unchanged since being introduced in 1982. In fact, we have an original one from the mid 1980s that still catches fish today on a regular basis.
Rapala Husky Jerk
No, we’re not talking about some bigger dude hogging the boat launch. Rapala came out with a plastic-bodied jerk bait with neutral buoyancy that is very effective on walleye. You can cast them and then twitch them back, or troll them with erratic speeds. The bait will stay where it stops, like a real baitfish would, giving it a sweet wounded fish action that predators can’t resist. Rattles in the bait help casting, and make good vibrations to further attract fish.
Lindy Crawler Harness
It’s hard to beat live bait sometimes, and every walleye angler had better have some crawler harnesses in the tackle box. A good harness adds flash and vibration to the nightcrawler’s natural scent, adding up to a fish-catching formula that is widely known to produce fish. This rig from Lindy has a colorado blade that adds s flash of color and movement, with a cupped blade that creates a natural noise quality to the mix. A twin hook setup adds a little hook-set insurance, too. Get multiple colors to zero in on what the fish want to bite on.
Curly Tail Grubs
Walleye can be a bit finicky, so sometimes, you need to get on them and jig for the best result. You can get fancy, but a proven winner is a round jig head with an artificial curly tail grub. We are partial to Berkley Gulp! Bait as the scent attraction is a proven fish catcher. There’s some color variations, but white works most often.
PowerPro V2 Line
Walleye have a tendency to hit very softly, so you need a sensitive line to not only feel the fish, but determine if the tap you felt was a fish, or a snag. You either need fluorocarbon line, or braided. We’re really fond of PowerPro line. It has a small diameter, is extremely tough and gives us the feel to know when the fish is ready for the hook.