While many walleye anglers have switched from fishing with live bait to artificial lures, there is still a good bit that will argue that live bait is the best. Anglers from all over use various fishing tactics with similar outcomes. One of the most important things to note when deciding whether or not to fish with live bait is what you are trying to catch.
Walleye is a special fish to catch because they spend most of their time in shallow water. We have found that we like live bait the most for walleye fishing because of the versatility of presentation to the fish. Here are a few of our favorite baits.
Walleye are predator fish that dine on smaller fish. Therefore, live bait is an obvious choice for catching the carnivorous walleye. Another thing to note about walleye is the type of bait you use during a certain time of year. For walleye, in particular, it is important that you take the season into consideration with certain bait. There are several ways to catch walleye with live bait, it could be on a slip sinker, a slip bobber rig, ruled behind a spinner, tipped on a jig or simply fished on a regular hook and slip shot. Using the right type of walleye bait can increase the chance of bringing in more walleye.
Live Bait To Use In The Spring
- Minnows – are freshwater fish that are small enough to swim in the shallow water. You can find walleye submerged and emergent weed edges, saddles between islands, shore reeds, and the mouth of the river where it meets the lake or ocean. This makes it easy to cast jigs of minnows into the shallow water without spooking the other fish.
- Fatheads– Much like the minnows, fathead minnows are a popular option for freshwater fish. They are easy to keep alive and you can keep them in a live bait rig. They last a lot longer in a minnow bucket than many shiners.
Live Bait To Use In The Summer
- Leeches – Walleye and smallmouth bass love leeches. These are great in shallow and deep water. It is important to use leeches only in the summer, and maybe spring if you live in a warmer client because they tend to swim much better in warmer weather. A lively leech is just asking to be eaten. This baitfish is also easy to store.
- Nightcrawlers – They are not only easy to locate, but they are easy to catch too. You can tie on the hook of your choice, add a bobber and some split shot, and cast it into the water. You can also cut the worms in two if you are looking to bring in smaller fish. However, leaving them be can potentially bring in a much larger fish while jigging.
Live Bait To Use In The Fall
- Suckers – In the winter you could most likely get by with fishing with minnows and Red Tail Chubs, but suckers are the real star during this season. Young sucker chubs are great for walleye as they are small enough for them to eat but big enough to look appetizing on a hook.
- Red Tail Chubs – Fishing with these is known as the way to snag a trophy for catching walleye. You can use these for trolling if you find yourself in a pinch.
Live Bait To Use In The Winter
- Large Shiners – it is often tough to find fish that are small enough but also large enough to entice a walleye. Large shiners are perfect for that in the fall and winter, depending on where you live. The larger the shiner the better for the cold water.
While there are many options to catch walleyes it is up to the angler ultimately what they choose to do. It is important to take water temperature and seasons into consideration. Using the recommended equipment like spinner rigs, bottom bouncers, fishing lines, and jig heads will ensure the most success when fishing walleye.
If you are a lover of catching walleye let us know what you think the best bait is!