The walleye, once only a Northwoods delicacy, is now abundant in many of the reservoirs of our southern and western states. It's become one of our most sought after game fish.
A keeper walleye will weigh 1-3 pounds, depending on where it's caught. A 6-8 pounder is braggin size, and anything bigger can be called a trophy. Walleyes spawn just after ice-out when water temperatures reach 45-50 degrees. Following spawning, males feed heavily. Females, however, rest for about two weeks, then go on a feeding binge. This is the best time to land a wall-hanger.
Walleye, by nature, are night feeders but don't be lulled into thinking this is the only time to fish them. Water color has a definite effect on the feeding habits of the walleye. Many lakes are dark water lakes. High noon is a good time to fish for walleyes in these waters. Keep in mind, too, that walleye are gentle feeders. They hit light. Use a s-l-o-w retrieve.
The #3 copper Mepps Aglia Streamer can be deadly when fishing lake inlets and gravel bars. Underwater copper takes on the color of a nightcrawler, especially following a heavy rain. Gold is an excellent choice on overcast days. On especially bright days, a genuine silver plated blade is a must. Don't use nickel or chrome. Genuine silver plating reflects white, while chrome or nickel reflect black.
Walleyes will wait at lake inlets for the river current to bring them food. When fishing from a boat, anchor on either side of the channel and cast into it. Following a heavy rain, the current in these channels speeds up. When this happens, switch to a #2 or #3 Mepps Aglia Streamer, a #2 Syclops, or a 1/4 oz. Little Wolf spoon.
Walleyes are basically bottom feeders, but don't ignore those fish that suspend over drop-offs in deep lakes. Some of the best summer walleye fishing is provided by suspended fish. A great way to go after these fish is to troll for them . Vary your trolling speed and try fishing with several different colors until you hit on a successful combination.
River fishing requires a different approach. Seek out deep holes that contain large rocks or sunken logs. Big walleye are consistently taken from these holes. Mepps Aglia Streamers in sizes #2 and #3 are ideally suited for river bank fishing. Look for a likely holding area and position yourself slightly behind it. Cast upstream as far as possible. Let the spinner fall back into the holding area following the natural flow of the current. Twitch the spinner lightly as you begin a slow retrieve. Watch for any change in your line that might indicate a pick-up.
Walleyes may love big rocks and gravel bars, but, this late evening predator also likes to prowl the weeds. Don't ignore weed-beds near lake inlets at any time of the year, especially in the evening. Mepps Combos, are extremely effective under these conditions. In the hour preceding sunset begin fishing a #4 Black Fury Combo, a #4 Comet Combo, or a 1/4 ounce black Timber Doodle.
Anchor out from the weeds and work the area well. Don't lose patience. Walleyes are a schooling fish and can move in at any time.