Best Time to Fish for Walleye and Other Things to Consider

By Richard | Fishing Advice

best time to fish for walleye
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If you often imagine a bright afternoon and a crystal-clear lake while you’re sitting on a fishing boat waiting for a walleye to bite your bait, you probably have to think again.

If you want to catch a walleye, you’d have to understand this unique creature first.

Learning the behavior and characteristics of a walleye is the only guarantee that you’d catch one.

In this guide, we’ll teach you the different things you need to know about walleyes and how you can utilize it to maximize your bite ratio.

With that in mind, we’re confident that after reading this short guide, you’d already know what you need, where to go, and when is the best time to fish for walleye.

Best Time to Fish for Walleye

One theory states that the term walleye is because of a layer of pigment in the fish’s eyes, which makes them quite sensitive to light.

As such, you would not often find walleyes in clear waters, swimming around.

Its light sensitivity makes the walleye almost like a nocturnal creature, which means it's more active during the night.

That said, if you will fish for walleyes, do it 30 minutes before and after sunrise and sunset.

If you want to fish for walleyes on a different time of the day, the best guarantee that you’d catch one is if you do it on a cloudy day, or if you’re fishing on murky waters.

The best time of year to catch walleyes would be during the spring or fall when the sun is not as active as compared to during the summer.

How Do You Fish for Walleye at Night?

Since the walleye is a nocturnal creature, it begs the question, how do you fish for walleye at night?

Well, the method is, of course, different than your common procedure when you’re fishing for a different type of fish.

In fishing for the elusive walleye at night, it’s best to use live bait, as it makes it easier to catch the walleye's attention.

Another interesting fact about the walleye is that, even though it hides in deep waters during the day, they are actually shallow water feeders during the night.

Thus, fishing for walleye at night is best done on narrow bay entrances or when you’re fishing off a bank.

The best technique is to look for minnows during the day. Once you’ve located them, return to that area when it gets dark because that’s the most probable area where the walleyes would feed during the night.

What Is the Best Water Temperature for Walleye Fishing?

Believe it or not, even the things that may seem trivial at first, like the water temperature can significantly affect our results.

That’s because fish would also only hunt or look for food when they’re aggressive or comfortable.

In learning what the best water temperature for walleye fishing is, we can maximize our bite ratio by determining their behavior according to the water temperature.

The first thing you need to do when fishing for walleye is to check the water's temperature.

If it’s around forty-five to fifty degrees Fahrenheit, go towards the locations where the sun warms the water first.

When the water reaches around fifty to sixty degrees, move gradually to southern locations where there are lots of opportunities for a walleye to feed.

Once the water reaches sixty-five to seventy degrees, walleyes are most comfortable, which means they are also most aggressive.

During times of this temperature, you don’t have to put that much effort into looking for walleyes. You can find them feeding in shallow waters.

Even when the water temperature reaches seventy-five to eighty degrees, there’s still a chance to catch walleyes. That’s because around these temperatures, mayflies hatch.

Mayflies are one of the primary diets of walleyes, which means that when they start to hatch, walleyes would also be looking for them.

best time to fish for walleye

Will Walleye Eat Dead Minnows?

Walleyes generally react only to live baits. This is probably why one of the most common misconceptions about walleyes is that you can’t use a dead bait on them.

The truth is, walleyes prefer live baits because they are fresh.

That’s why live minnows, leeches, or suckers are always used in catching walleyes.

That brings us to the question, "Will walleye eat dead minnows?"

Well, the question is not about whether or not it is alive, but whether or not it looks alive.

What we mean by that is if you float a dead minnow in front of a walleye, it probably won’t bite.

However, if you present it in such a way that it looks alive, you can easily trigger the same response as with a live minnow.

What Color Jig Is Best for Walleye?

Aside from using live baits, another thing you can use is plastic baits.

You can catch walleyes if you prepare your bait according to what color jig is best for walleye.

If you have no idea what that is, we’ve got you covered.

If you’re fishing on clearer lakes, the best jig colors are those that are on the orange, red, or green side of the spectrum.

Since walleyes are sensitive to light, using brighter jigs will easily get their attention.

On the other hand, murky waters reduce the amount of light that penetrates the surface.

Thus, if you’re fishing on dark waters, it’s best to use darker jigs to make it look more natural.


Fishing for walleye is not as easy as fishing for other types of fish because of the unique characteristics of the walleye that also changes its behavior.

Despite all of this, walleye fishing is still popular because you’d definitely have unique fishing experience.

Catching a walleye takes more than just perseverance. A proper understanding of this creature is required to ensure that you know what you’re getting into.

You now have adequate knowledge to catch this elusive creature.

What are you waiting for? Get your reel, rod, baits, and other tools because he best time to fish for walleye is now!

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