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Best Walleye Lures to Have in Your Tackle Box

Although there are literally thousands of walleye lures available out there narrowing down your choices is what will yield the best results.

The best walleye lures are never going to work in every situation and every possible light or season.

You need to pick the right tool for the job. Crankbaits, trolling lures, blade baits and jigs have always been the most productive lure for walleye that have stood the test of time.​

Best Walleye Lures

The best walleye lures to have in your tackle box are:

  • Cotton Cordell Wally Diver​
  • Rapala Shad Rap
  • Salmo Hornet
  • Lindy Fizz-E Grub
  • Storm Hot'n'Tot Mad Flash
  • Rapala Husky Jerk
  • Rapala Jigging Rap
  • Strike King Red Eye Shad​
  • Reef Runner Deep Diver​
  • Rapala Original Floating

1. Cotton Cordell Wally Diver

The Cotton Cordell ​Wally Diver can be considered as one of the most successful walleye lures ever.

Great for trolling thanks to an aggressive lip which gets them running down to just under 20 feet depending on your setup.​

A slim design profile gives a tight wiggling action on the retrieve.

There are two sizes available a CD5 and a CD6​.

The CD5 is 2-1/2 inches in length will dive down to a depth on about 8 feet when casting and when on the troll down to roughly 11 feet. Like all trolling lures for walleye this can be extended down to deeper depths with the use of a downrigger or lead core line.

The CD6 is 3-1/8 inches in length. When using a casting setup it'll go down to about 11feet, when trolling it'll go to 18 feet.

Between both sizes you can cover pretty much any depth that walleye are commonly found at.

With a big range of colors available there are lots of options depending on the time of year and the what kind of light you are fishing on. 

2. Rapala Shad Rap​

The Rapala Shad Rap along with the Wally Diver above is one of the best walleye crankbaits every built​.

Personally I have a pretty even split of Shad Rap's and Wally Diver in my tackle box. Of those Shad Rap's I tend to favor the size 5 with a few number 7's thrown in for good measure.

Available in a shallow diver(with a shorter angled lip) and a deep diver variation. Once you find the most productive colors for the water you are fishing it is a good idea to get those colors in both the shallow and deep diving models.

This way you can use ​the colors that you know are working at a variety of depths. 

The Shad Rap is a solid performer and with only a handful of the size #5's you should be able to catch walleye in almost any type of light and water.​

3. Salmo Hornet​

The Salmo Hornet ​is quite the stocky looking little crankbait. As a walleye lure it is best fished in a size #3 or a #5. Occasionally you may need to move up to a size #5.

With a big dive lip and short stocky body it produces quite an aggressive swim action.​

There is also a 'rattlin' model available with a built in rattle. Personally I only tend to try those types of lures in very bad light situations. ​

4. Lindy Fuzz-E Grub

Fuzz-E Grubs are the all time classic walleye lures used for jigging.​ The distinctive marabou tail gives them an extremely life like action when jigging.

Personally I have found any color variation that contains chartreuse or black to be the most effective.

5. Storm Hot ‘n Tot Mad Flash

One of the go to walleye lures for late spring or early summer the Storn Hot 'n Tot Mad Flash has a highly erratic left to right action.

The action needs to be tuned to the speed at which you run the lure for the best results​.

The 1/2 ounce size is a particular killer if trolled in lakes. The black/chrome and black/gold are the basic colors that work well.

You can experiment with the brighter colors depending on the day. Sometimes the fire tiger will produce all day long other times it's the more naturals looking lures that work best. ​

6. Rapala Husky Jerk

The Husky Jerk from Rapala is a really versatile lure for walleye. It is just as good a performer as a casting lure as it is for trolling.

Unlike the Original Floating Rapala featured below the Husky Jerk is a suspending model meaning that it has an almost perfect neutral buoyancy.

This neutral buoyancy allows you to use a stop/go retrieval method when casting from the shore over gravel bottoms and on the outside edges of weeds beds. 

When casting from the shore line you can throw the Husky Jerk retrieve for a few seconds then pause. Instead of starting the retrieve again give the it a little 'jerk' by twitching the rod tip. 

This tactic is particularly effective in cold water as walleye will be generally a little lazier. You'll find this can be more effective than trolling as a winter walleye will try to expend as little energy as possible.​

When trolled they will run deeper than the original floating Rapala without the need for lead core line or ​split shot to be added to your setup.

7. Rapala Jigging Rap

Often thought of as a ice fishing lure only, those in the know have used the Jigging Rap to murder walleye in the early season.

It has a very distinctive circular swim pattern when used for vertical jigging in open water. Best used when the bottom structures change in depth such as a drop off shelf or some thing similar. ​

8. Strike King Red Eye Shad

A great lipless crankbait the Strike King Red Eye Shad gets it's name from the distinctive red eye that shimmers when light reflects off of it. They also have a built in rattle which helps walleye to hone in on them.

These walleye fishing lures work best in shallower waters. They are a sinking lure so you can control the depth at which they run by using a slow count after they hot the water before you start to retrieve them.

9. Reef Runner Deep Diver

When a Rapala is just running too shallow and you need to get your lures down into the depths it is the ​Reef Runner Deep Diver the reigns supreme.

Available in a large range of colors this lures are responsible for producing some of the largest walleyes ever caught.

10. Rapala Original Floating 

The Original Floating Rapala is one of the best selling lures of all time. They've taken monster musky, salmon, trout and walleye. When you troll one of these you get one of the most life like swim actions ever produced.

Each one is individually hand tested in a tank to ensure the very best swim action.​

There is a big range of colors and sizes available. They can be flat lined or used with downriggers and lead core lines alike.

Built from balsa wood they are a floating lure and will generally dive to shallow depths on retrieval.​

Salmo Lures for Walleye – How to Fish Them

Salmo lures for walleye have been one of the top performing crankbaits for decades. Countless large walleye have been taken on lure like the Salmo Hornet.

Without a doubt the the Hornet from Salmo is their most popular crankbait. Walleye love it's action when trolled. ​

We'll take a look at the best way to fish them and some of the best Salmo Hornet Colors for that are tried and tested.​

Best Salmo Lures for Walleye

Salmo Hornet

The original Salmo Hornet is arguably their most popular crankbait and with good reason; it produces on the water!

 They are a real killer when trolled and you generally do not need that many different colors especially if you fish the same lakes on a regular basis.

Salmo Rattlin' Hornet

How to make the original Hornet even better ?

Add a built in rattle to the body of the lure. Hard-bodied lures with rattles have been proven time and time again. The inbuilt sound acts as an added attraction, especially in low light scenario's or in darker waters.

What Size Salmo Hornet for Walleye

The most popular sizes of Salmo Hornet to use when fishing for walleye are the size 3 or size 4.

You can of course move up to the larger size 5, but for some reason walleye prefer the somewhat smaller sizes. 

Best Salmo Hornet Colors for Walleye

The color that you choose can have a massive impact on how well you fish. However I'm still convinced that trolling depth is the most important thing to get right.

The most popular choices would be:

  • ​Viking 
  • Gold Florescent Perch
  • Variety of Sade colors
  • Hollywood

How to Fish Salmo Hornet for Walleye

Hornets are probably best trolled from a boat however you can use then to cast near dams and rocky beds or near drop offs in the depth of the bottom on a lake.

When walleye trolling you generally need to troll along some kind of structure. That structure can take the form of a dam wall, weed beds, rocky shallows or a drop off in the bottom.

In summer months trolling along long contour lines of the bottom deep down is highly productive as ​walleye will tend to favor a specific depth.

You can control the depth with a couple of different methods:

  • Lead core line​
  • Three way sinker rig
  • Downrigger

This depth is usually determined by water temperature. How the depth and temperature relate to each other like a lot of other variables will change from venue to venue. The best approach is to experiment at a different depths through the day and record the water temperature if you find fish at a certain depth.​

Speed wise you should be looking to maintain a speed of roughly 2 miles per hour. This can of course vary depending on the depth that you are trolling at.​

Walleye Crankbaits – Top 10 Crankbaits

Crankbaits for walleye are one of the most versatile lures you can have in your tackle box.

The best walleye crankbaits imitate smaller bait fish that the walleye will naturally feed on. This imitation combined with an irresistible action or wobble forces the walleye to strike the crankbait lures really hard.

There are a number of different types of crankbaits that you can use:

  • Deep diving  
  • Shad 
  • Floating minnow
  • Lipless
  • Jerkbaits
  • Jointed
  • Sinking
  • Neutral

As you can see from the list above there is a huge range of crankbaits that you can choose from. Combined with the vast array of colors and different brands available the choices are seemingly endless.

Below we have profiles the top crankbaits for walleye. With so many walleye lures available to choose from we have tried hard to keep the list short at only 10 lures. You could easily pick a few 100 crankbaits and every one of them would produce fish depending on your location, time of year and weather.

​Best Walleye Crankbaits

1. Rapala Shad Rap

Along with the original floating the Shad Rap is one of Rapala's most successful lures. It can be see as the ultimate walleye cranking lure. Available in a massive range of colors and 4 different configurations there is literally one for any occasion.

For walleye the most popular sizes would be the #5 and the #7. Casting them on light spinning tackle can be a lot of fun and trolling with the larger sizes has produced many specimen walleye.​

2. Cotton Cordell Wally Diver

The Wally diver from Cotton Cordell is a killer on the troll. It has a very aggressive lip which helps get it down to about 20 feet when trolled depending on the size. The action is pretty tight as you would expect from a lure with a slim profile.

If casting is your thing you can do quite well with the neutral/suspending model. Lots of pausing and twitching can tempt fussy walleye that refuse to hit anything that is moving at speed. 

3. Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow Deep Diver

The Yo-Zuri Deep Diver is a staple for those out trolling deep for larger walleye when they lie down in the depths in the summer heat. Available in a large range of colors, some of the more popular are the bright reflective ones on dull days and the more natural ones on brighter days.

These lure have a great action and tend to run quite deep. Trolled over larger structures or along steep drop off's in larger lakes and reservoirs ​are when they are most effective.

4. Strike King Red Eye Shad Bait

The Red Eye Shad from Strike King is one of the best lipless lures available. It has a built in rattler and bright red eyes(as the name suggests) that all add to its attractor qualities.

These work great in the summer months cast over a sand bar or flat or a gravel bed when walleye fishing on rivers. Allow the lure to sink and create a small plume of sand as it it's the bottom, continue this action on the retrieve. You can cover a large area by working each cast over a large arc across the sand flat.​

They can also​ be trolled at very slow speeds along weed beds and other vegetation.

5. Bomber Model A

With it's large lip and big chunky body the Model A has a big action for a small lure. The large plastic lip can be used to bounce it off of rocks and is a killer when cast along the side of weed beds and other structures.

On the retrieve it will dive to between 6 and 8 feet depending on your set up and speed of retrieval. If you are in really shallow water you can work it with the rod tip up and as fast speed, the resulting wake just under the surface can help to force strikes. ​

6. Rapala Original Floating

The original mioow lure from Rapala is probably the most successful floating minnow lure ever made. 

Each lure is hand tested in a tank to ensure the perfect swim action. The #11 is a a favorite and can be trolled in just about every situation provided you have a means of getting it down to your desired depth.

They don't dive super deep but because of their shape and lip have what is arguably the most natural swimming action you can find in any lure.​

7. Reef Runner Deep Diver

crankbaits for walleye

Another deep running crank for trolling the Reef Runner. The range has a lot of of crazy colors to choose from and most will work best on really dull days or when night fishing for walleye.

This are best when water temperatures are low. In summer heat you can try to get them down deep where the water can be may degrees ​cooler.

8. Berkley Flicker Shad

Yet another shad crankbait, but just as high a quality one as the previous ones listed. Just like all Rapala lures these are individually tank tested for optimal performance.

They have a distinctive flicker when retrieved hence the name.​

9. Salmo Rattlin Hornet

One of the smallest lures listed here the Hornet is an excellent choice if you are fishing in really shallow water. As the name suggests it has an in built rattle that helps entice fish out from under cover.

10. Storm Hot 'N Tot

Another small lure just like the Salmo Hornet above it but just as effective as some of the other larger crankbaits for trolling.

Walleye Crankbait Colors

The type of colors that you choose when fishing with crankbaits for walleye like most other lures will generally depend on the weather or in other words how bright the sun is shining.

To a lesser extent the water temperature can also have a big impact on what to fish with. Just be aware that water temperature and sunlight are of course closely linked, but what season you are fishing in will generally have a larger impact on the water temperature.

​Natural Colors

Without a doubt on bright days and in clear water you really do want to avoid anything too unnatural or flashy.

  • Non-patterned colors - Choose crankbaits with colors like silver/black or gold/black these are the go to lures of choice. Light chartreuse or other dull natural shades can also work well.
  • Patterned naturals - perch/trout and pike patterns are all highly effective

Artificially Bright Colors​

Overly bright and flashy colors will work best on dark days or in darker water. You can use florescent pink as an extreme example especially when down real deep. Try to pick patterns that have some kind of contrast on them such as a firetiger or sparkling minnow.

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