1 - 10 pounds
12" - 42"
Walleye are freshwater fish that is a part of the perch family. They are a very popular game fish for the angler in the regions where they are found, and also a favorite for the dining table. Walleye are long and thin and have a golden and olive coloring with white bellies. One predominant feature of the walleye is its eyes, which have a silver eyeshine called the tapetum lucidum. This eyeshine greatly aids the walleyes when feeding in low light conditions.
Walleye live in a wide range of habitats. In small to large rivers, to deep and shallow lakes. They are fairly particular to where they like to be in these bodies of water and see out sand, rock, or gravel bottoms. Walleye will usually stay deeper in the water column during the daylight hours and use weeds, timber, or other structures for cover. In River systems, they will likely spend their daylight hours in deep holes and drop-offs, and move out into the shallows to seek forage during the lowlight period. Walleyes can tolerate water temperatures from 32 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit but are most comfortable when water temperatures are at 70 degrees.
Walleye are found in the Arctic south of Canada down to the Great Lakes region and east to the St. Lawrence systems. Lake Erie is a well-known home of walleye anglers and great walleye fishing. The Midwest and Canada are the most popular areas with the best fishing, but over decades the species has been introduced artificially into lakes and reservoirs all over North America.
Walleye are a fairly large fish and have a sleek and conical body shape and a mouth lined with sharp teeth. the adult walleye can grow to 30 inches or more in length and top out at around 20 pounds in weight. Females generally grow larger than males.
The Sander Genus which the Walleye is part of, also has a European counterpart, the zander that looks very similar but the zander can grow much larger and can reach a weight of 40 plus pounds.
The walleye can live for decades, with the oldest recorded fish being 29 years old. In areas with heavy fishing pressure however, Walleye usually don’t live past 5 or 6 years of age.
Walleye can be a challenging game fish to pursue. Their location in a body of water and the tactics used to catch these fish can vary depending on certain times of the year. Walleye generally live at depths of 10 feet or greater, though in the spring and at night they can be found in shallow water areas.
Finding the fish is one of the biggest challenges for the walleye angler and the best place to start it by fishing structure. The angler should search multiple types of structure at varying depths to figure out where the walleye are on any given day. Be sure to check break lines, deep weed edges rock piles, and even in the middle of the basin for suspended schools of baitfish. With a little bit of time on water exploration, you will find the Walleye population.
Live bait is the key to successful Walleye catches such as minnows, nightcrawlers, and leeches. One of the best techniques is a live bait rig, to which you troll your bait slowly along the bottom. These rigs include a ¼ or a ½ pound sinker, a swivel, a 3 - 6 foot leader of a 6-pound fishing line, and a No. 4 or 6 hook.