How to Fish for Walleye From Shore

By Richard | Fishing Advice

how to fish for walleye from shore
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Bank fishing can be a fun experience, especially when learning how to fish for walleye from shore.

By keeping track of the time of year, the best bait, and positioning, you can capitalize on your casts.

Catching the highest number of walleye will be significantly simpler with the help of this guide.

What’s the Best Time to Fish for Walleye?

The first thing to focus on is preparation, especially for the ideal time of year.

Walleye are known to be concentrated during specific times throughout the year.

If you are able to determine the right season, you can fish when the action is heating up.

Spring

Early spring is one of the best seasons to find massive quantities of walleye, especially trophy catches.

When winter is ending and spring takes over, the spawning season comes into play.

Pre-spawn are most easily found in shallow water near edges, gravel bars, and inlets.

With that said, finding the perfect location will take a little bit of research.

By looking at topographical maps of the area, you can see which spots are most likely to be populated.

Also, asking for local advice can give you a clear idea of where the best spots are.

At the beginning of spring, smaller males claim territory; then, the females arrive.

Once temperatures reach the mid-40s, large females will begin moving to the deeper areas.

Where spring becomes most challenging is before it transitions to summer, as there is less activity.

Summer

In summer, you are most likely to catch walleye in deeper areas rather than shallow waters.

This is because the temperature of the water increases drastically, reducing the amount of oxygen.

If you are lucky, you might be able to catch movement near river inlets, streams, and spillways.

It is also likely you can find pockets of walleye near docks, piers, and places with a lot of vegetation.

During this season, you will need to find pockets of water with moderate temperatures and plenty of oxygen.

With that said, you are far less likely to catch walleye during the hottest days of the year.

Fall

The transition from summer to fall can be equally as beneficial as spring.

Even in the middle of fall, you are likely to begin noticing more walleye movement to put to good use.

As shallow waters become cooler with seasonal changes, the fish will begin to push themselves to surface areas.

During fall, fish will load up on a ton of food in the areas where their pre-spawning begins.

October and November are bound to be the best times of year to make the most walleye fishing.

You will be most likely to catch higher numbers during the evening and morning.

tips on how to fish for walleye from shore

What Bait Is Best for Walleye?

The best tip for baiting walleye is to focus primarily on live bait, especially for beginners.

If there is one thing veteran anglers know, it is that these types of fish are some of the most particular.

You will want to find a bait that overwhelms their senses and makes them more attracted to your line.

Some of our favorite bait options for walleye include:

Minnows

Flathead and shiner minnows appear to be two of the most popular bait options.

Shiners tend to range between four and six inches, which are fantastic for catching trophy walleye.

However, if you are looking for a smaller-sized catch, flathead minnows are smaller at two to three inches.

Leeches and Worms

The second most popular bait choice is leeches, which are generally available from large to extra-large sizes.

Jumbo leeches are a phenomenal choice, as they can quickly capture the attention of minnows.

They are pretty appealing to other fish as well, which is something to note.

If you are fishing in an area known for bass, panfish, and perch, your leeches are bound to get stolen.

This theory also applies to nightcrawler worms, which are a seemingly delicious snack for all fish varieties.

One way to counteract stolen bait is to pair it with harness spinners to lengthen their profile.

We also recommend rigging your minnows and leeches on floated, rigged, or jigged bobbers.

Doing this can help entice the appeal of walleyes while avoiding other fish species.

Walleye Jigs

As their name suggests, walleye jigs are specifically designed for this fish species.

You’re going to need to invest in jig heads, like fireball jigs, if you are working with live bait.

What makes these devices unique is they don’t have lead barbs and have a short hook shank.

When using live bait, walleye-specific jigs help provide a more concealed presentation.

You also have more customization with rigging, ensuring the bait becomes lively while fishing.

There are a wide variety of jig colors to choose from, depending on the time of day you are fishing.

We recommend chartreuse for a streamlined appeal; however, glow colors can be beneficial for night fishing.

How Far Should Walleye Be From the Bottom?

Knowing how to place your line is one of the most important parts of fishing walleye.

Depending on where you typically fish, anglers will have an assortment of opinions on placement.

Some suggest 24 inches, while others say that six to eight inches are where you are most likely to find the fish.

Without any electronic equipment, it can be challenging to find proper placement.

Deciding where to put your bait has a lot to do with fish anatomy, as the key is to make it as noticeable as possible.

18-Inch Depth

Many anglers find that placing their bait 18 inches deep is more than sufficient when it comes to walleye.

If you look at the physiology of the fish, you will notice that their eyes are designed to look upward.

When feeding, they are also known to attack from below rather than above.

With that said, it is best if your bait is just above their head so that they can catch onto it.

You might also want to consider some movement, as they tend to capture bait when it tries to get away.

If you place your line too close to the bottom, it could get lost among the shuffle.

The Best Places to Find Walleye

Another thing to consider when figuring out when is the best time to fish for walleye is where you should be looking.

As mentioned, looking at maps or talking to locals can be a fantastic advantage.

Some specific spots are known to attract fish for several reasons.

Fish at Night

Before finding the best places to fish walleye, our top tip is to consider fishing in the evening or night.

When the sun sets, walleye are more likely to venture into shallow water to find food.

If you can stay out after dark, you will find significantly larger schools of fish.

Gravel Points and Bars

Any shallow area prone to gravel bars and loose stones is fantastic for early spring fishing.

You will want to find areas with wave action and plenty of light where the eggs get ample freshwater.

If you can find a gravel bed near sand flats, they will likely be the most productive.

Riprap Banks

If you are fishing in lakes, riprap could be the only location to find walleye, especially during spawning season.

The fish are known to congregate around the edges, where the water movement goes from soft to hard.

It is also known that riprap banks have smaller gravel spots, which are ideal spawning locations.

Moving Water

Another surefire location to catch walleye is anywhere there is moving water.

You will want to focus primarily on spillways and rivers, as they are amazing locations for shoreline fishermen.

Spillways are helpful throughout the year because they are home to some of the biggest females.

The primary reason to focus on moving water is that it means there is ample oxygenation.

When the water is highly oxygenated, you are most likely to find the highest number of eggs.

The more eggs you discover, the more likely you will be to find male and female walleye.

Pinch Points

Pinch points can be a wide variety of areas, which makes them great for any fishing spot.

You can focus on channels, culverts, road bridges, or even fallen vegetation, such as trees.

As long as it creates a tight spot that fish have to get through, your chances of success are much higher.

We highly recommend pinch points for beginners, as the likelihood of catching with every cast is higher.

They are fantastic locations for quick and efficient fun to encourage novice anglers to get excited about the sport.

Piers and Docks

You would be surprised at the number of walleye anglers that avoid public docks due to how busy they are.

Still, there is a chance of trophy fish hiding just beyond the surface because it attracts plenty of baitfish.

Considering baitfish are likely to attract walleye, it can be an incredibly populated area to cast in.

Ideally, you’ll want to find docks that are placed in water between eight to 10 feet.

It is also a good idea to find bodies of water that feature drop-offs with plenty of vegetation or weed lines.

The best time to fish around piers and docks is at night, as foot traffic is less.

How to Fish for Walleye From Shore

Learning how to fish for walleye from shore is simpler than you might think with the right tips.

Knowing the time of year, where to look, and what bait to use can help you catch significantly higher numbers.

Also, they are a fantastic fish to fish during the majority of the year for beginners and experienced anglers.

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