Walleye can generally be found deep within rivers and eddies in the winter, where there is a reduced current. Some of the best places to catch them are near warm water discharges such as power and water treatment facilities.
However, walleye slow down their movement tremendously in the winter, conserving their energy for food gathering and flight risks. For that reason, you may have to get your bait directly in front of the fish before they bite.
Here are great tips we gathered from Game & Fish, Reel Adventure Fishing, and BestFishinginAmerica.com.
Winter Walleye Checklist
Before you plan your expedition, consider the following factors:
- What will be the temperature on that day?
- What time of day will you be fishing?
- Are you going to a lake or a river?
- What is the depth of the water?
- What are the general feeding habits of the walleye in that water?
You may need to check in with the local fish and tackle shop, do some research on the internet, or speak to other walleye fishers that have recently been to the area.
Remember, the water will be clear this time of year because aquatic life is dormant. Therefore, use a clear fishing line, drop it down vertically and very slowly. Please keep in mind that the walleye are bottom-oriented fish, so that they will be only a few feet above the bottom.
Because you will have to go deep and due to the low light of winter skies, use lures that stand out. Use one that glows, rattles, or vibrates – this can include crankbaits, jerk baits, and blade baits.
A walleye’s diet consists of smaller fish, so minnows, nightcrawlers, and leeches make for the best bait. Minnows should be 3-5 inches long.
Lastly, don’t forget to have the right winter outwear, including waterproof hat, gloves, coat, and boots so you can stay on the water much longer.
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