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 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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