Ice Fishing for Walleye: 10 BEST Tips and Tricks of All Time!

Ice Fishing for Walleyes Tips

Ice fishing is a challenging and rewarding activity for anglers of all levels. Whether you’re a fishing beginner or a seasoned pro, wintertime fishing can be a thrilling experience.

Walleyes are one of the most sought-after game fish and they can be found in many lakes throughout North America. Knowing where to look and how to approach them will put you in a better position to catch these elusive fish.

That’s why I’ve compiled a list of the best ice fishing for walleyes tips and tricks of all time. With these tips, you’ll be able to catch more walleyes and improve your overall ice fishing experience.

So, if you’re ready to hit the ice and start fishing, let’s get started! 

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Here are the BEST Tips for Walleye Ice Fishing

Walleye fishing is a lot of fun. It's a great way to spend time with friends and family, and it can be a rewarding experience.

Here are my favorite tips and tricks for ice anglers!

Tip #1: Locate Walleye Correctly

Novice walleye anglers think that walleyes are inactive and impossible to catch in winter, but the truth is, they are not. You can catch them the same way as in the summer from the shore.

Same as every fish species, walleyes change their usual behavioural patterns in winter.

Early in winter, you have to think about fall transition.

“Early ice” means that walleyes will be in deeper water, close to large underwater structures. That transition occurred in fall, and during early winter and first ice, that hasn’t changed. Look for areas with steep drop-off, where deep water is very close to shallow areas.

Later in winter, during “late ice”, look for shorelines and locations where streams enter the lake. Warmer water source will attract walleyes which are getting ready for spring.

Search for ridges and structures which are great hiding places for baitfish.

Tip #2: Choose the Best Time of the Day

Do you know when the do walleye bite best?

Fishing in winter can be done through out the day, but the best time would be when the light is changing. Early morning and evening are the best. Activity period is strongest around 1-2 hours around sunrise and sunset.

The same light changing conditions can apply on cloudy days, or times before storms. Absence of bright light will increase the activity and you will notice more bites than during sunny days.

Ice Fishing for Walleyes - When Bite Best

Tip #3: Ice Fishing for Walleye at Night

Winter walleye is very active in low light conditions, but you can also fish for walleyes with no light at all.

Try to fish after sunrise in the evening. To attract walleye attention in the light conditions where the fish can’t see very well, you will have to use proper lures.

Try using rattle spoons that produce a lot if vibration.

Don't be afraid of more aggressiv presentation and powerful jigging. In addition, you can try to use glow lures. Those will illuminate underwater and help you catch hungry fish.

Finding walleyes in dark can be a hard task, so think about some electronic help. There are different fish finders available on the market and some of them are made to be used under ice. Those are called flashers and can help you find fish in thoughest conditions!

Tip #4: The Best Depth to Ice Fish for Walleye

Do you know how deep to fish for walleye in winter

Choosing the right depth can be tricky, and the depth has to be in correlation with the location.

In clear lakes, you will find walleyes between 10 and 20 feet (3-6 meters). This deeper location should be near the steep underwater incline where the water is 3 – 6 feet deep (1-2 meters).

In deeper lakes, try to find underwater areas where the shallow part is around 8-10 feet, while adjacent deeper areas go as deep as 30 feet (10 meters).

Finding the right depth doesn’t mean that the walleye will be there. There must be underwater structures and usual hiding places which are attractive to walleyes ...

Ice Fishing for Walleyes - How Deep

Tip #5: Use Only the BEST Ice Fishing Lure (Bait) for Walleyes

Choosing the right bait is essential. I already mentioned glowing lures for night fishing, but what about daytime?

Natural ones like night-crawlers or minnows may not be as effective as you would assume.

In winter, a lot of vibration and movement is necessary to attract the walleye.

The best walleye ice fishing lure choice are jigging lures, jigging lures with swim action, jig heads and small rattle spoons.

And your jigging technique has to be more aggressive than in summer! 

If you want to maximize your success, try combining these lures with small pieces of natural bait, such as minnow heads, to add some smell and taste.

Attach a small night crawler or similar alongside your lure and you will have more success.

If live bait is allowed, try using leaches, shiners, minnows or night crawlers, depending on which one is available to you. Don't forget that walleye teeth are really strong!

Tip #6: Choose the Right Colors

Except for choosing the best walleye ice fishing lure type, you have to choose the right colour.

And of course, always have a few different ones in your tackle box to be able to change it on the spot.

Walleyes can perceive certain colours better than others (check what reserch say about "Do fish see in color?"). According to a certain scientific research, walleyes can perceive red, orange and yellow better than other colours. After those three, the next best choice would be green.

Other colours, especially those in the blue range are not perceived by walleyes and those colours seem dark to them.

According to water clarity, choose a colour from red or orange spectrum which can be lighter or brighter.

Ice Fishing for Walleyes - Best Lure

Tip #7: Attracting Walleye in the Right Way

Finding a good spot, together with a good lure, is just one part of the job. Another important thing you have to do is to attract walleyes.

In order to get their attention, you will have to use the right bait presentation method.

In winter, walleyes can be a bit slower and your lure has to seem attractive.

Aggressive presentation, as already mentioned, is the key. Walleyes are predators, and they will naturally hunt prey that is positioned above them. When you present your lure, make sure it is not in line with the fish or below it.

Work your bait to attract the fish. When the fish comes close, stop with those hard motions and let the lure slow down. It will look like an injured fish and the walleye will bite.

Proper presentation is very important and it is very logical. Biology of a walleye will work in your favour.

Tip #8: Use the Best Rig, to Keep Your Bait ...

If you can use two fishing rods, try the followingSet up one “dead one” and one jigging.

Dead one should be simple, with a float and a live bait, such as minnow.

Jigging one should be equipped with a vibration producing lure. Work that one to attract walleyes. When the walleye arrives attracted by the noise, there is a chance it will go for your lure, but it may also choose the live minnow. This will definitely increase your chances.

If you are using just one rod, use a slip bobber rig. This option is also good for beginners.

Slip bobber rig enable you to present the bait at any depth. Thread the slip tie, pull it in place, add the bead and the float. Attach a split shoote about 1 foot (30 centimetres) above the hook. Adjust the depth so that the bait is above the bottom and the float is standing upright.

Ice Fishing for Walleyes - Float

Tip #9: Use the Right Tackle and Equipment

Walleyes can be caught on different equipment and it depends on a location, technique and year time.

In winter, you should choose a well-balanced, medium powered, fast action rod, about 28 inches (70 centimetres) long

Choose a fishing reel that has good and dependable drag option that works well under any load.

You can use spinning reel if you don’t want/don’t have an ice fishing one. 1000 size should be enough.

When choosing a line, and thinking about ice fishing line vs regular line, buy the ice one. This option is also the best ice fishing line for walleye!

Monofilament line in the range of 6 to 8 pounds should be enough, but make sure that you choose those that can withstand icy conditions. Mono line is a bit stretchy so it lowers the shock and stress on the line when the fish bites aggressively. Those made for ice are less visible and more abrasion resistant, among other advantages.

When adding leaders, use a swivel to eliminate twists.

Tip #10: Drill Multiple Ice Fishing Holes (Contour fishing)

When trying to catch walleyes through the ice, don’t be lazy.

Arrive early and find a spot as described in previous tips. When you find a spot, drill several holes along different depths.

Do it in the deep part, then on the transition area, and finally the shallower part. You have to have these holes ready so that you can instantly change the spot if necessary.

Even better, suspend your live baits under tip ups for ice fishing! It is an excellent method to cover more water at once and fish multiple holes at the same time.

Some anglers like to use tip downs for ice fishing, but those are more suitable for smaller fish species. Use them only if walleyes in your area are particularly small.

Drill 3-5 holes per location. BUT, don’t drill them too close and use a zig-zag pattern, not in-line.

When walleyes become active and start to feed aggressively, they will swim from deep to shallow water, and back. You have to recognize this time and move together with walleyes.

Drilling a hole or two is not sufficient.

Ice Fishing for Walleyes Tips - Hole in Water

Conclusion

There are numerous ice fishing for walleyes tips, and every angler has certain opinions about it.

However, not all tips and advices can be applied and practiced everywhere and they will not work the same on all waters.

All tips stated here can be used in any water with just minor adjustments on the spot. Get to know the local waters and try to change your approach by using methods stated here. You will be surprised how a proper lure or a bait presentation can help you catch more fish.

About Me

Slo-fishing - About Us

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I am Siniša Pintar (friends call me Sina), the guy behind Slo-fishing.si and eBook writer. This site is base camp for fishing enthusiasts from all over the world. I love fishing and want to share all my stories, knowledge and my experience with any and all potential anglers. Read more ...

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