Spring Walleye Fishing Tips – When, Where, and How (A Quick Guide)

I think you’ll agree with me that a well-prepared angler improves the odds of a good catch.

Here, I will talk about things that increase the chance of successful walleye fishing:

  • Time of the season.
  • Best lures and baits.
  • Best time of the day for walleye fishing, and of course:
  • Spring walleye fishing tips and techniques.

I am going to show you that it is often easier than one might think, and everyone can have a great catch.

Remember! A walleye’s size can be quite impressive! They can be over 10 pounds and 25 inches long, and it is one of the tastiest freshwater fish there is!

Table of Contents

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When Can You Start Spring Walleye Fishing?

You can begin spring walleye fishing as soon as it is legal in your area, as early as possible.


Spring is a hungry time for walleye. It is a season when they eat and spawn.

They look for shallow water of about 45 degrees, and move up rivers or hide in rock beds or gravelly reefs. This is where you can find them.

Early spring walleye fishing can be done even from shorelines. The fish is on the move after an easy meal, so you must move as well. For fishing from a boat, you can use different baits trolled behind planer boards not far from a shoreline.

After spawning is done, the walleye returns to deeper places (about 15-25 ft.).

Post spawn walleye feed voraciously to compensate for the energy expended during spawning.

And that makes late spring walleye fishing the perfect time to lure them in with something tasty!

big walleye in hands of fisherman

The Importance of Bait

Live bait fishing is a great tactic. It works almost for any situation. We can use minnows, nightcrawlers and leeches. You can fish by slowly reeling in or fishing just above the bottom.


If you want to fish faster and cover more water, it is better to use lures (baits and jigs). This is an exciting and popular method among walleye anglers.

A walleye’s main diet of small fish teaches us that minnows and minnow-imitating lures are the best choices for walleye fishing.

But when they lack small fish and insects, they can also each crayfish, snails, and even frogs.

As such, there are many lures available for walleye fishing, and here are some of the best.

Lures come in a broad variety of colors that matter. You can cast them or troll them, as they work great both ways.

Jigs are the most effective type of lure to catch walleye. Many anglers prefer them to other lures. Jigs also come in different styles and colors, so you can always choose the best one for you.

Your lure choice will be determined by the fish preferences. One day differs from another. You never know.

But you definitely win the game if you have a few of these lures and test them throughout your fishing trip.

Walleye caught on summer day with fishing lure from boat

Where to Fish for Walleye

Large lakes and slow-moving water, and deep rivers with rocky bottoms create a prime habitat for walleye that stimulates their behavior.

Walleye move and feed near river islands or rock piles, or find water pockets. It all depends on how deep the water is. Areas directly below dams and spillways are good places for walleye fishing. These areas are especially productive in the spring when the flow from the dam is high and the fish move upstream.

It’s always a bonus if you know the area, but what do you do if you’re unfamiliar with the water?

There are many spring walleye fishing techniques, but trolling is the best solution to cover a lot of water quickly to find fish.

When you’ve spotted a school, you can explore that particular area better by casting jigs and crankbaits.

You can also fish spring walleye along rocky banks using any bait or lures you have. Darker hours are the key.

walleye being pulled to a fishing boat after being hooked

The Importance of Time

Yes! Walleye behavior depends on the time of day. Think of it when you’re planning your early spring walleye fishing trip.

Walleye have light-sensitive eyes, so they see in the dark better, and they also feed most actively in shallower water during this time.

The evening hours during the sunset and the time from midnight to sunrise work best. It’s not impossible to catch walleye during the daytime, but they seek out deep water and avoid sunlight, so you’ll need to change your fishing tactics.

We also have to understand that to find fish and catch fish are two different things.

fisherman in fishing boat catching walleye in lake

Remember the following fishing gear:

  • Slightly heavy tackle (if you use one).
  • A medium-weight, spinning rod (it works well for most spring walleye fishing techniques).
  • A 6 -8 lb fishing line will work in most cases (or a slightly heavier line for very rocky areas).
  • Bait hooks sizes 4, 6 and 8 will work well.
  • It’s also good to have a few sinkers for walleye trolling.

Speaking the Truth

We never know what the fish want. But we have our knowledge.

Therefore, never be afraid of failure and be ready to try all sorts of techniques and fishing gear you have prepared. Use everything you know and everything you have!

Some days walleye prefer flashy and brightly colored baits that trigger their reaction and desire to bite. On other days, it is a real challenge. But, no worries. Just be slow and constant, go around and try again.

Remember, walleye are bottom fish. Keep within a few feet of the bottom, and you will find them. And no matter where you fish, the tactics you can use to catch walleye are strikingly similar.

Bob Hoffmann

The author of this post is Bob Hoffmann. Bob has spend most of his childhood fishing with his father and now share all his knowledge with other anglers. Feel free to leave a comment below.

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