Walleye is a common freshwater fish species found in North America. As an avid angler, do you know how to jig for walleye? It’s not always an easy task to catch walleye, so let’s explore the 6 tips to catching walleye and 5 strategies that can help you successfully catch walleye!
Where to Find Walleye?
To catch walleye, first and foremost, you need to know where they can be found. Based on our current knowledge, walleye are primarily found in North America, particularly in Canada and the United States. They are especially abundant in freshwater lakes, so you’ll hard to find walleye in the ocean. The following are some of the most common water bodies where walleye can be found:
Walleye prefer to reside in freshwater lakes, especially those in North America. They are commonly found at depths ranging from 10 to 40 feet below the water surface. Well-known North American lakes where walleye can be found include the Great Lakes (such as Lake Erie and Lake Michigan), Lake St. Clair, Lake Winnipeg, and more.
Walleye can also be found in rivers in North America. The Ohio River, Mississippi River, and St. Lawrence River are well-known habitats for walleye.
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You might be surprised to know that walleye can also be found in reservoirs. In fact, reservoirs provide favorable living conditions for walleye, including water quality and an abundance of food sources. Therefore, you can try searching for walleye in reservoirs that are not far from your location.
In addition to lakes, walleye can also be found in man-made ponds. However, these walleye are often stocked specifically for recreational fishing purposes, with fingerlings being intentionally introduced for aquaculture.
How to Jig for Walleye? 6 Tips to Jig for Walleye
I believe you now know where to find walleye, but catching walleye is certainly not an easy task. Before setting out, you need to prepare your fishing tackle and learn the techniques used to catch walleye in order to increase your chances of success. Here are 6 essential tips you must know:
Choose the right fishing spot
We just told you that walleye are most commonly found in freshwater areas in North America. However, you should also know that walleye often inhabit deepwater areas in these freshwater regions, particularly in depths ranging from 10 to 40 feet. They prefer to hide among the structures within the lakes, such as rock piles, caves, grassy areas, or shallow sandbars. These locations are typically common habitats for walleye.
Select the appropriate fishing gear
Next, you’ll need to prepare the appropriate fishing gear for catching walleye. Typically, a fishing rod with a length between 6 to 7 feet is suitable for walleye fishing. You can choose a light to medium rod.
Furthermore, walleye are known to prefer live bait such as fresh small fish like shiners or shad, or various types of worms like nightcrawlers or earthworms. Alternatively, you can also use artificial fish lures.
Choose the right fishing technique
When fishing for walleye, there are various techniques that can be used, such as casting, drifting, or jigging, which are commonly employed by many anglers.
Among these techniques, jigging is an effective method for catching walleye. Jigging involves attaching fresh bait or artificial lures to a jig hook, submerging it in the water, and creating a motion by moving the fishing rod up and down and manipulating the fishing line. This motion imitates the struggling movements of an injured small fish, enticing the attention of walleye.
Consider the timing, weather and water conditions
When you have found the right location and prepared the appropriate fishing gear, it’s essential to be able to capture walleye when they are actively feeding. Walleye are particularly active during the nighttime or dawn hours, so fishing during these times may yield better results.
It’s also important to consider the weather and water conditions. Walleye tend to be more active during overcast or cloudy weather. However, they are sensitive to water temperature and prefer warmer waters. Therefore, it’s advisable to pay special attention to water temperature when selecting a fishing spot.
When you start fishing, it’s crucial to pay close attention to the movements of walleye. When using jigging, after a period of up and down movements of the fishing rod, you can pause and observe the motion of the fishing line.
If you feel a sudden downward pull or the line becomes heavier while reeling in, it may indicate that a walleye has taken the bait! At this point, don’t panic. Quickly start reeling in and bring the walleye up to the surface.
Maintain patience and persistency
The above five tips may seem easy, but in reality, catching walleye is not as simple as it appears. It requires a great deal of patience. Walleye typically congregate in specific areas and depths within a water body. If you haven’t been successful, it’s important to keep trying.
However, if you’ve had numerous unsuccessful attempts, it’s advisable to make some changes to your fishing conditions. You can try using the same fishing gear and techniques at different fishing spots or employ different fishing gear at the same location. Don’t be upset. Keep trying different fishing spots, gear, and techniques, and eventually, you will discover a method to catch walleye.
5 Essential Walleye Jigging techniques you must know
When it comes to fishing techniques for walleye, there are several popular methods that anglers use, including casting, drifting, and jigging. Let’s learn together the top 5 tips for effectively catching walleye:
Vertical jigging is a classic technique, and walleye often gather in specific areas, especially around structures. You can position your boat near rocky walls or high spots near reefs, which won’t startle them as much.
Before starting vertical jigging, take some time to observe the underwater structures and the fish’s location. Lower your bait vertically into the water, allowing it to sink straight down until it touches the bottom. Then, you can start retrieving the line slightly, ideally stopping it about 6 inches above the bottom. Begin gently jigging the rod up and down, creating a subtle motion that mimics an injured baitfish, attracting walleye to bite.
Casting is an effective method when walleye are in specific areas within 20 feet of water, and the best casting spots are on hard bottom areas or in the transition zone from soft to hard bottom.
To start, secure the bait onto the lure and cast the lure to the target water surface, ensuring that it sinks and touches the bottom. Then, the retrieval technique becomes crucial:
- Lift the tip of the fishing rod slightly and retrieve the fishing line before giving it slack, allowing the line to come off the bottom and initiate a hopping motion. Repeat this action continuously.
- Retrieve the fishing line steadily and slowly, creating a subtle movement and rotation of the bait.
- If using soft bait, you can jig the tip of the fishing rod to create irregular movements in the bait, mimicking the actions of an injured small fish.
While casting is a great technique, snap jigging offers equal appeal to both inactive and aggressive walleye, making it a great opportunity to catch them.
To employ snap jigging, the choice of fishing tackle is crucial. Opt for a jig with a weight ranging from approximately 1/8 to 3/8 ounces, depending on your fishing depth.
Next, the most important aspect is to cast the jig as far behind the boat as possible, allowing the fishing line to naturally slide out. Then, engage the bail and point the fishing rod tip directly towards the jig, ready to quickly tighten the line. Once the line is taut, give a quick and forceful snap of the fishing rod, causing the tip to extend from a sideways position, and the jig rapidly jerks upward, moving away from the bottom.
You can repeat this action continuously, varying the rhythm and intensity as needed. Sometimes, aggressive movements can elicit a response from inactive walleye. Keep an eye out for any subtle vibrations or twitches in the fishing line, as it could indicate that a fish has taken the bait.
You can let the jig drift, but drifting is often a fishing method more suited for river fishing, where there is wind, waves, or water current that allows the jig to move along with the water.
The process is simple. Position your boat upstream in an area where walleye are congregating, and cast out your jig. We recommend using small baitfish or artificial soft plastics, as they tend to drift more easily in faster currents.
After casting the jig, each time you reel in the fishing line, the jig will be lifted gently off the bottom but quickly drift back down with the current. In rivers, walleye often stay close to the bottom and face the direction of the water flow.
Imagine a scenario where a walleye is facing the current, and a trembling, rolling small fish approaches. The walleye will likely open its mouth and bite, making it easier for you to hook them.
Drifting with the current in a river can be an effective technique for targeting walleye in their preferred feeding positions.
Walleye have a tendency to stay close to the bottom or seek refuge in underwater structures. However, when they suspend at different depths, bottom hopping is a highly effective fishing technique that is hard to surpass.
If you want to engage in bottom hopping, it is recommended to use a jig tipped with a nightcrawler. Nightcrawlers flutter as they sink in the water, which is particularly enticing for walleye.
The key aspect of bottom hopping lies in the tension of the fishing line as the jig descends. A loose line allows the jig to drop quickly and straight down. On the other hand, a tight line creates a pendulum effect, slowing down the descent but covering more water. Anglers can choose their preferred line tension based on their preferences.
There are various ways to present the bottom hopping technique, including the strength and range of rod movements, the pauses between each line pull, and whether multiple jigs are linked together, creating a dancing motion on the way up before they fall.
Experimenting with different variations and paying attention to patterns will be crucial for success in bottom hopping for walleye.
Can I catch walleye using slow jigging?
We have introduced five different effective fishing techniques, and I understand that everyone has their own preferences when it comes to fishing. If your preferred fishing technique is something other than vertical jigging, snap jigging, casting, drifting, or bottom hopping, you can certainly give it a try to see if it is effective in catching walleye.
If you were to ask me, “Can I use slow jigging to catch walleye?”
I would tell you “Yes, you can.”
Slow jigging involves using a weighted jigging lure and employing a slow and deliberate technique to entice fish to bite. Walleye typically respond well to slow jigging presentations.
If you’d like to learn more about slow jigging, you can check out more information here:
Wanna learn more fishing tips? Here are extra tips for catching groupers!
Besides walleye, have you ever tried to catch grouper and failed repeatedly? Finally, as a bonus, here are extra six tips for catching grouper. Hurry up and give grouper fishing a try!
1. Understanding Groupers
There are over 100 species of groupers in the world, and these fish are found in tropical and subtropical waters worldwide, with the majority of species inhabiting the Indo-Pacific region.
Groupers are characterized by their large mouths and robust bodies. Common types of groupers include the Grouper, Red Grouper, Snowy Grouper, and Scamp Grouper.
2. Identifying Suitable Grouper Habitat
Groupers are deep-water fish that are mainly found in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, as well as the Mediterranean Sea.
One of the most famous locations for grouper fishing is off the southern coast of Florida in the United States, extending from the Bahamas and the southern Gulf of Mexico to the surrounding areas of Cuba and further south to the Caribbean region.
Grouper can also be found in places such as the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, Costa Rica, Panama, Madagascar, and the Strait of Gibraltar.
3. Preparing Fishing Gear
Grouper and walleye differ in size, habitat, and the type of fishing gear required. If your goal is to catch smaller grouper, it is recommended to use a fishing rod with a line weight of around 12 to 20 pounds. For targeting larger grouper, a heavier fishing rod is advised, such as a rod with a line weight of 30 to 50 pounds.
Choosing a larger reel is also recommended, with a capacity of 15 to 40 pounds, as it provides sufficient strength. While live bait can certainly attract grouper, if you intend to catch deep-sea grouper, using heavier lures is more effective. Lures can sink more steadily and maintain a stable motion in the water compared to bait.
4. Choosing the Ideal Fishing Spot
Groupers are known to be attracted to and prefer areas with underwater structures, making large reefs and areas near sunken ships ideal spots to find them. When fishing, precise boat positioning is crucial. The closer your boat is to the structure, the more likely your bait will be noticed by the groupers.
To achieve this, when positioning your boat, anchor it slightly ahead of the structure, allowing your lure to naturally drift towards the vicinity of the structure, following the water current.
5. Employing Slow Jigging Techniques
Slow jigging is an effective method for catching grouper. Originating from Japan, slow jigging is a fishing technique where a jigging lure is slowly lowered into the water and allowed to sway up and down, imitating the slow movements of an injured fish.
This technique requires specialized equipment and anglers with advanced skills. It is considered a more challenging fishing technique, but it is also one of the most effective methods for attracting grouper.
6. Try trolling
Groupers have a gentle temperament, but they have a habit of hiding in crevices or caves. They venture out of their hiding spots to search for food. However, when they encounter danger or get hooked, they will vigorously swim towards the bottom of the sea, attempting to retreat back into their hiding places.
One technique you can try is trolling for groupers. By doing so, it becomes more difficult for them to retreat into their hiding spots, and after some time, they may give up struggling.
To catch grouper, you’ll need the following fishing gear!
Are you ready for grouper fishing? If you want to successfully catch grouper, you’ll need these specialized fishing gear! Check out the fishing supplies available on Tokayo now!
Slow Jigging III SG limited rod
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4 Questions about How to Jig for Walleye
How to Jig for Walleye? | Tokayo
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How to Jig for Walleye and Groupers? 5 Essential Jigging techniques you must know
As an avid angler, do you know how to jig for walleye? It's not always an easy task to catch walleye, so let's explore the 6 tips to catching walleye and 5 strategies that can help you successfully catch walleye!
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