Walleye Fishing: An Introduction To The Walleye
Without a doubt, walleye are one of the more difficult species of freshwater fish to fish for. Many walleye fishermen will tell you that you must have a well rounded understanding of walleye biology and walleye fishing techniques in order to be successful. Much more so than a fisherman that seeks trout, bass or steelhead.
Where Walleye Can Be Found
In the beginning….at least the beginning of Walleye in the United States goes, walleye were only found in a small area between Canada and Alabama. But Today, walleye can be found in 32 states across the US.
The reason so many walleye can now be found in such a wide expanse of territory is because of aggressive stocking efforts.
Top 10 Walleye Fishing States
According to In-Fisherman, the best walleye states are:
- South Dakota
- North Dakota
- New York
As you know, I’m an Oregon boy, and there are most definitely walleye to be caught in Oregon and Washington both. The Columbia River boasts some of the best world class trophy walleye, the Columbia River is the only place we are able to find these trophy fish.
Whereas the other 10 states listed have numerous locations to seek out trophy sized walleye.
The Walleye is a nomadic fish. They tend to travel in schools and feed in schools, which bodes well for walleye fishermen. Like bass, the walleye has an incredible method of eating its prey.
Feeding Habits Of The Walleye
How the walleye feeds is interesting, as the fish will “inhale” its prey into its fierce teeth filled mouth. If the prey is drawn in sideways, the walleye will crush it with it’s powerful jaws then turn it straight to swallow it head first.
Because of the way walleye inhale their food, and don’t take time to “feel” the food beforehand, many fisherman prefer not to still fish walleye. Instead, many fishermen prefer to troll spinners, live bait or even crankbaits.
How Walleye Fight
Walleye fishing is fun in part because of the fight that these fish put on. The walleye fight has been described as slow yet determined. And even though walleye can put up a good fight, it doesn’t compare to the fight of a steelhead, salmon or even large trout
But just because walleye can be more difficult to catch than these other fish, walleye beat them all in taste. Walleye are delicious to eat and is what keeps fishermen coming back for them time and time again.
The Walleye Species
There are two different species of walleye, the North American Walleye and the European Walleye. Both of these walleye species are part of the perch family. As a matter of fact, the walleye is the largest member of the perch family and are very closely related to the European Zander or pike perch.
Take one look at a walleye and you’ll be able to take a good guess at where its name comes from. The walleyes massive eye reflects so much light that the fish is able to see in the dark. This is why walleye fishing is best at night, dawn and dusk. And bright sunny days you’ll see the walleye escape to deeper darker waters.
I hope this short introduction to the walleye is helpful in some way. If anything, if you’re new to walleye fishing, then hopefully you have a little more insight into what you’re actually going after.
I’ll be going over in future posts more detail on how to fish for walleye, what kind of equipment to use for walleye fishing and different kinds of bait to use for walleye.