Jig Fishing for Walleye: Learn How to be Successful

Jig Fishing for Walleye

Jigging for walleye is probably the best way to catch fish and have a lot of fun at the same time.

If you are an experienced angler here, I assume you agree with me, and if you are a beginner, you will discover it soon.

Jigging is not just a way to land a big one, but it is also a great tool to “feel” the bottom and have an excellent idea of your underwater surroundings. The key is to have good equipment, knowing when and where to use it, and to get the hand for it. 

Although it may sound complicated, it is easy to get started and experience will come with time.

To avoid too much philosophy, in the next chapters, you will get all the important info, including some tips. 

I will tell you everything I wish I had known when I started jigging!

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Do Walleye Fish Like Jigs?

Jig fishing, although a great technique, is only effective if you present it to fish who react to it. Luckily, walleyes love jigs!

You can use them either with live bait or plastic. Versatility makes it effective throughout the year, in all bodies of water.

As a predator, this fish is attracted to the movement of injured prey and reacts well to it. 

What are the Benefits of Using Jigs in Jigging for Walleyes?

There are various benefits, but here are the top 3 that always make me go back to jigging:

Mapping the bottom - Bottom contact with jigs allows you to feel the area, and see the exact depth, find drop-offs or structures, and have a great overview of the area although you don’t physically see it.

Versatility – jigs are available in all kinds of types, sizes, and colors. They can be paired with plastic or natural bait, and work excellently in various depths, in various conditions, and in different year times.

High effectiveness – in my experience, jigs are by far the best way to land a walleye, whether you are on ice or basically any other place and season!

Jig Fishing for Walleye - Benefits

What are the Best Jigging Rod and Reel for Walleye?

Equipment is a big part of success. If you are shopping on a budget, you can pull off with rod and reel combo for jigging walleye. Features of selected gear are important.

Jigging rod for walleye:

Depending on the jigging technique you prefer, you can either do vertical or casting. I like vertical jigging, so my recommendation is a 6 to 6.5 ft long rod with high sensitivity. Sensitivity is key to feel all the slightest bumps on your jig. Rod tip should not be too flexible to avoid losing some of that flexibility. Fast action and medium power are best.

Jigging reel for walleye:

This depends on the fact if you are using casting or spinning reel. As a beginner, start with spinning, but if you plan to use heavier lures and line for bigger fish, you can choose baitcasting. The spool needs a decent line capacity, especially if dropping jigs in deep water. And don't forget to choose to correct gear ratio ...

What Bait or Lure to Use for Walleye Jigging?

To be successful, you have various options, and depending on your fishing conditions you can change between:

Jigging rap – these (the correct colors) work excellently in open water or under ice. Circular movement makes walleyes attack like crazy!

Jigging spoons – flutterspoons of smaller size work the best. Length of 2 and ¼ inches and width of ½ inches are the best. Position them directly below your boat as that is the best for spoons.

Minnows – minnows are among the best natural baits and their injured wiggling is attractive. They are resistant and live long on the hook. It works best post-spawn in shallower water. 

Worms – nightcrawlers work excellently when presented in shallow to mid-depth water without too much hard cover around.

Leeches – leeches are another good option. They are extremely resistant and work well in rocky areas around hard obstacles because they don’t fall off as easily as nightcrawlers.

Jig Fishing for Walleye - Baits and Lures

What are the Recommended Line and Hook Sizes for Walleye Jigging?

The best fishing line for walleye jigging must be chosen in accordance with the rest of your gear. For a smaller spinning setup go for mono. But the monofilament you choose must be low stretch. 

Otherwise, go for braid lines as they add to your equipment sensitivity.

Fluorocarbon is excellent due to low visibility and lack of stretch, and it makes an excellent leader. Pair 8-10 lbs braided min line with 6-8 fluorocarbon leader for the most versatile setup.

When it comes to hooks, anglers choose a variety of sizes. From conservative #6 to as big as 3/0. I would advise you to stay on the smaller side of the range as a beginner. Match with the size of the lure and targeted fish. 

Is Vertical Jigging the Best Technique to Catch Walleye?

Among all types, this is my top choice at almost all times. From ice jigging for walleye to boat, it works incredibly. 

The most important part of the presentation is letting the jig fall naturally without overworking it. Let the jig to drop and let it fall back without creating too much erratic movement.

The best way to catch a big one is to position it on the bottom, and then work it a few feet up the water column. Do it naturally, add pauses, and don’t be too repetitive

Where are the Best Micro-Locations to Jig for Walleye?

Jig presentation, no matter how good, must be done in the right place.

Among the most important walleye jig fishing tips I give to young anglers is to devote some time to checking out the area.

Shallow water, protected bays, and areas where currents bring food are excellent for spring. In summer, weed beds, deep structures, woody and covered flats, and open basins are a place to be. Fall brings them out of deep covers; however, they still prefer structures over open space. And lastly, in winter, micro locations to look for, especially under ice, are drop-offs.

What is the Best Time to Jig for Walleye?

Like many other species, dusk and dawn are excellent times for walleye fishing, as that time makes them come to shallower areas. This works especially well in warmer times of the year.

Jigging for walleye at night can also be very productive and works better than daytime fishing. That is why many walleye anglers come to the water before sunset and stay late, especially in hot summer.

When it comes to winter, the same rule applies. Walleyes are simply not daytime creatures.

What are the Common Mistakes to Avoid When Jigging for Bass?

Essential walleye tips to catch more fish are based on avoiding mistakes. Here are top 5:

Avoid crystal clear water – jigging is the least successful in extremely high visibility.

Avoid too large rig – some anglers create huge setups with 3/0 hooks, large plastics with added natural bait and that will never work for a beginner as it limits you to big fish only.

Avoid repetitive and too-aggressive movement - fish a jig in a way that appears natural. Lift the jig by creating a movement of various speeds and pauses because that is the way injured prey would move. 

Avoid too high presentation – working your jig way up the water column and not getting close to the bottom is a mistake. More than 90% of your drops reach the bottom.

Avoid using the wrong colors – jig color is important. Natural ones for standard conditions, glowy and UV at low light, and chrome in bright light for attractive reflection.

Jig Fishing for Walleye - Mistakes

Conclusion

I have created this short walleye guide to help you catch more fish and enjoy your time on the water. By applying these tips and tricks you can really improve your technique!

The only way to master catching fish is to take your rod and head out to the water! Jigging is fun and effective, and it enables you to have an excellent sense of what is going on below the surface. 

Invest in a sensitive rod, have a tackle box filled with various jigs, and success is guaranteed!

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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