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Jigging for Walleye

​Arguably one of the most popular techniques jigging for walleye is also one of the most versatile.

Walleye jigging can be done year round even in the summer heat when walleyes retreat to deeper waters.

But the term jigging is so much more than just vertical jigging as this is what most anglers will think off once you mention a jig.

  • Vertical - the most basic technique, drop your jig to the right depth and start jigging.
  • Dragging -  dragging a jig involves pulling it along a specific structure from a moving boat when walleye are holding right on the bottom, works quite well in large rivers.
  • Drifting - from a moving boat lower the jig to the correct depth and allow the boat to move either with the wind or occasionally with the help of a trolling motor.
  • Bottom ​Hopping - cast your jig out allow it to hit bottom and then jig it up off of the bottom allowing it to fall back down, repeat until it is back in close to you.

​Of course when winter comes and the ice has formed a safe enough thickness ice fishing with a jig really comes into it's own.

In this scenario a jig head topped with some kind of bait light a worm, leech or minnow and fished very slowly really produces big fish as walleye will be less prone to chasing a fast moving jig.

Jigging for Walleye

Jigging for walleye involves lowering a jig head with either a soft plastic body or tipped with bait down to the depth where walleye are holding and then adding some life into the jig by twitching the rod tip.

There is a huge selection of walleye jigs available and each jig head will have a specific use.

Sounds extremely simple but it's easy to get wrong!

The first step is to locate the fish at the right depth. Local knowledge trumps all so if you are fishing a new water try to ask around and see where they are likely to be holding depending on the time of year and where about they are in their spawning season.

​A fish finder is one of the most important piece of walleye tackle that you can have on any boat.

And learning how to read it is crucial to both find the fish and understanding the types of structures and bottom below you.

Vertical Walleye Jigging

Vertical jigging for walleye is probably the most simplest form of fishing that you can do.

Locate the fish and their depth and then lower your jig down to them.

Life is added to the jig by twitching your rod tip vertically.

The classic round head jig is the go to choice for this presentation as it usually has a 90 degree tie in point that allows it to hang horizontally in the water.

​It's usually all too tempting to just drop your jig directly down onto them.

I've found better hook up rates by making short casts to about a yard beyond the edge of the pod and either dragging or bottom hopping the jig back towards the boat and the pod of walleyes if they are holding on or near the bottom.

This gives the jig a more natural horizontal element to it's movement instead of just straight up straight down.

If they are holding at a mid-height depth then you just jig back into the pod allowing your jig to fall in a very controlled manner.

Never allow your line to go slack by dropping your rod tip too quickly.

Instead jerk it upwards quickly while then slowly and in a controlled manner lowering the jig back down.

Keeping some tension in your line allows you to sense a bite, you will more often than not get that bite as the jig is falling so it is important to have feedback coming through the rod tip from the line at all times.

​Dragging/Drifting

Dragging a jig for walleye involves casting out your jig and allowing it to sink to the bottom.

Then using a slow lift of the rod tip pull the jig vertically and then allow it to fall back down.

The action is much slower than bottom bouncing which is described below.

Dragging a jig means not allowing too much vertical height to be gained, rather more horizontal distance with each jig.

Dragging has one major drawback in that you will get snagged up a lot more often as the hook is being constantly pulled across the bottom.

It is very good however when walleye are holding just off of the bottom and are not keen to chase a normal walleye lure or fast moving jig.

The above is how to drag on a lake where you are targeting walleye in a very specific area.

On a river you can drag by ​drifting it slowly downstream which is essentially back ​trolling with a jig in fast moving currents or to troll up stream at a very slow speed in very light currents.

The jig is normally at least 30 feet out behind the boat and you need to maintain a speed and jig head weight that allows the jigs to slowly move across the bottom or no more than a foot off of the bottom.

You can do this allow gravel lines and specific contours that run in the direction of the flow of the river.

​Bottom Hopping

Bottom hopping a jig involves casting the jig out and allowing it to touch the bottom. You will know it has touches as your line will start to bow.

Once on the bottom use a short sharp lift of the rod tip and then allow the jig to hit bottom. After it falls you will have to reel in a small bit of line as the jig will start to move towards you with every lift of the rod.

​When bottom hopping there are usually two mistakes that are commonly made.

The first is to lift your rod way to high up to an almost vertical position. This high a lift will result in the jig rising as much as 6 feet upwards and then dropping down from this height again.

​The second is to lift your rod too slowly so that you basically end up dragging the jig along the bottom.

The solution to both of these issues is to use a shorter snappier lift of only one or two feet.

This shorter lift keeps the jig no more than a foot or so off of the bottom allowing the walleye to really home in on it.

Minnows and leeches work great as a bait when bottom hopping.

​Tackle Considerations

Jigging is most definitely a light line technique and it requires the correct gear to really excel at it.

A good walleye jig setup will need a light spinning rod and reel and a low stretch line such as braid or fluorocarbon for the main line.

Monofilament is not a good choice as it has a certain amount of in built stretch to it. You do not want any stretch in your system as you will loose feedback and sensitivity and you will also slow down your hook-set.

Both braid and fluoro have a lot less stretch in them than mono. If you are using braid as a main line then use a six foot length of fluoro as your leader, jigging is a light presentation technique and braid is just too visible to run straight to the jig head.

A 6 ' or 6'6" spinning rod with a medium/light power rating and a fast action is the correct choice as a walleye jigging rod.

If is crucial that you have a rod with a fast action.

A moderate action rod starts to bend in the middle portion of the rod blank making it less sensitive at the tip.

A fast action rod will start to form it's natural bend in the top one third of the rod towards the tip.

This makes for much better feedback from the rod and allows you to put a lot more precise jigging action into your jigs.

A fast action will also allow you to set the hook much quicker than a moderate action.

​A size 2500 spinning reel for walleye is just right to balance out the rod above. A high quality reel should be seen as an investment and if looked after will last many years of service, rods on the other hand can and do break more easily.

Jerkbaits for Walleye

​Fishing jerkbaits for walleye allows you to over a lot of water when either casting or trolling.

Whereas a crankbait has a very aggressive diving lip and a more stout body a jerkbait is generally considered any long slender bodied minnow imitator.  

They have a less aggressive swim action than a standard crankbait.

Some anglers will describe these types of lures as stick baits, unfortunately that term can mean different things to different people.

​For me a jerkbait is a shallow diving stick bait or minnow imitator that needs the rod tip to be twitched and "jerked" to add a lot more life into it's action.

There is also a slight pause between twitches that allows the jerk bait to suspend or float in a stationary position for a moment.

That twitching is deigned to make the lure dart and twitch from side to side in a fairly random manner.

It replicates a small bait fish stopping and starting as it darts from side to side.

Jerkbaits for Walleye

​Jerkbaits are ultimately about imitating the movement of bait fish that walleye are prone to feeding on or to force a predatory strike.

You can drag them behind a boat on a long line at a constant speed or cast them in close to cover or other natural structures and twitch the rod tip to add extra life.

​Early season means a slower speed, whereas when water temps hot up a fast speed will help to force a predatory strike out of more active walleye.

They have a fairly shallow diving depth unless you are using a jerkbait that is specifically designed for deeper running.

Casting Jerkbaits for Walleye 

Casting jerkbaits really allows you to mix up the type of retrieve and swim action that you put into the lures.

When trolling chances are the swim action will remain fairly constant unless you are trolling in a zig zag like pattern or adding a twitch to the rod tip.

However, when using a cast and retrieve method you can pause the jerk bait for a slow count and then continue.

Twitching the rod tip on the retrieve is also very effective and this is commonly how bass anglers would use a jerkbait.

Like fishing any stick baits for walleye making the lure moves in a fairly random pattern will actually make it look a lot more natural.

Jerkbaits won't dive much more than 5 or 6 feet when retrieved so it is a perfect technique to use when you know that walleye are holding at these types of depths or just below them.

Trolling Jerkbaits for Walleye 

Unlike trolling a crankbait such as a Shad Rap for walleye a jerk bait still needs some action put into it by twitching the rod tip.

So to get the best results you need the rod in hand when trolling to add that extra bit of movement into the lure.

When trolling at slower speeds you can pull the rod tip forward and then drop it back to the starting position again.

This will make the jerk bait swim forward quickly and then stop suspended in the water, this pattern then continues over and over as you troll.

More often than not you will get a strike as the lure has stopped and is sitting there suspended in the water.

For most anglers tolling means deep water only, however trolling for walleye can and should be done at a variety of depths.

It really all comes down to fine tuning the running depth of your lures to match where in the water column the walleye are holding.

Clearly the use of a fish finder is a massive advantage in this regard.

In shallower waters trolling a jerk bait is best done over an even bottom, so think sandy bottoms or gravel beds.

You can also troll along weed lines and break point in the shore line.

Deep water trolling when running jerkbaits is at it's best during the summer months when walleye move to greater depths to escape the summer heat.

​Early season walleye when water temps are under 60 degrees a slower trolling speed is best at roughly 1 to 1.5 mph.

Once the temperatures start to rise and walleye become more aggressive they will happily strike a lure when you are trolling around 2 ​mph.

​Husky Jerk for Walleye

Of all of the jerkbaits available on the market today the Rapala Husky Jerk is considered the go to classic walleye jerkbait.

Rapala hand tune all of their lures for a near perfect swim action. The Husky Jerk has a brilliant slow roll or wobble that makes it look really natural as it swims through the water.

It is one of the best suspending jerkbaits for walleye and works well in a variety of situations and locations.

​Tackle Considerations

Clearly most anglers will know that a trolling rod and reel is best suited to just trolling if you are looking to cast jerkbaits then you need a light enough setup to allow you to get a decent casting performance.

You can use a light spinning setup preferably a 7 foot walleye rod as it will allow you to get some decent casting distance when compared to a shorter 6 or 6'6" rod.

​In the early season I prefer to use monofilament as you are usually moving the jerk bait at a slower speed and mono has some in built stretch to it that acts as a shock absorber, which will make the action less pronounced.

Once you water temps pick up and walleye are more aggressive then I switch to braid as the main line always with a fluorocarbon leader.

Both fishing lines have little or no stretch when compared to mono so the swim action becomes a lot more aggressive and it has a bit more life to it as it moves through the water.

Shad Rap for Walleye

​Fishing a Rapala Shad Rap for Walleye is one of the most effective ways to target walleye whether that's trolling or casting it can produce when other methods fail.

The ​initial release of the Shad Rap was a massive success and as a result they became like gold dust until Rapala could finally satisfy demand by ramping up their production facilities.

The original orange crawdad was a clear winner with walleye anglers in either a #5 or #7.

And it is considered one of the all time great crankbaits for walleye.

The modern day range includes a variety of sizes and colors and there are jointed, RS(heavier plastic version for casting) and a shallow running models too.

They are used primarily to force a strike from the walleyes predatory instincts particularly when they are feeding on smaller baitfish.

Shad Rap for Walleye

Fishing a Shad Rap for walleye is done either on the troll or by casting in and around drop offs, weed lines and shore break points.

​When trolling you can run them out from 50 to 100 feet, depending on the size of Shad Rap and how thin your line diameter is you can get to roughly 16 feet down which is at the upper limit of their diving capacity without adding weight to your system.

There is also a shallow running model that has a different lip on it allowing you to troll in shallower waters along a shore.

Casting towards structures on a lighter spinning rod and reel can be a great way to handle shallow walleye as sometimes shallow water trolling can result in a lot of snags depending on the bottom contours.

​You can also vary the retrieve to run them at varying depths, and a lot of time you will find that they get hit just after you slow down the retrieve.

There is a model called the RS which is made from plastic and not the original balsa wood, it is heavier and so cast better especially on windy days.

​Best Shad Rap Color for Walleye

The original orange crawdad, gold, firetiger and perch have been the most reliable color of Shad Rap for decades.

Although the best approach to color selection is to try and match what kind of baitfish that the local walleye are used to feeding on, the ​four colors above are always worth tying on.

​What Size Shad Rap ​for Walleye

​A size #5 or #7 are the most productive for walleye. The larger sizes will run deeper but to get down past ​10 feet or so you will need either lead core line, inline weights or the use of a down-rigger.

​The #5 will run to about ​4 to 6 feet in depth with roughly 100 yards of line out ​when trolling.

A #7 will run as deep as 10 feet anything beyond that will require the use of change of trolling setup as mentioned above.

​Tackle Considerations

​Casting and trolling will have different walleye tackle requirements.

​When casting any large treble hook lure I prefer to delay the strike a little. This can be achieved by using a rod with a more moderate action or switching from braid/fluoro back to monofilament as it has a certain degree of natural stretch in it when compared to the other two types of lines.

Whilst this is true for larger heavier crankbaits, just like a lighter jerkbait for walleye Shad Raps are not that heavy so to get a decent casting performance braid is actually a better choice.

With really light braid it can be quite limp and you run the risk of tangling those treble hooks mid-flight.

A stiffer fluorocarbon leader of roughly 3 feet will help to reduce this risk significantly.

​You can use a medium power, fast action walleye rod of roughly 7 feet in length. A 7 foor rod will give you a better casting distance than a shorter 6 or 6.5 foot rod that you might be used to for jigging.

​When trolling for walleyes with a Shad Rap ​a good line choice is Suffix ​932 Superline braid with a fluorocarbon leader is the way to go.

​Braid will be much thinner and a thin line will allow you to get the best possible depth out of a crankbait.

​It is also super sensitive so if you Shad Rap has been fouled on anything you will notice the lack of vibration and can reel it in for a clean.

A line counter reel is always a good choice as once you find the correct running depth you can repeatedly let out the same amount of line time and time again.

Trolling Spoons for Walleye

​Trolling spoons for walleye allow you to cover a lot of water in a quick amount of time. Spoons are generally designed to be trolled fast but you can slow troll them in the right situations.

When trolling for walleye there are generally two choices; out in deep waters or closer inshore specifically targeting structures or drop offs.

In the height of summer when walleye are out in deep waters escaping the higher temperatures I like to run four rods with spoons on all.

Two spoons running deep and two running at mid-height. This can give you the best coverage, of course a fish finder is a massive advantage in these situations.

Once you find the depth they are suspended at then you can adjust your other rods to match.

When they are congregating in shallower waters I look to target them along drop offs, deep pockets, sand banks and break points on the shore line.

Trolling Spoons for Walleye

​Although on the surface trolling spoons for walleye may seem pretty simple ​however there are a few key elements to get right some of which you will only figure out through trial and error on your local waters.

​Almost every lake will fish a little different due to the temperatures, depth and the structures of the bottom.

So try not to look for any hard and fast rules that you may find online, as ever local knowledge is generally best.

That being said the basics will still be the same no matter where you are fishing.

​Thick, heavy casting spoons are usually not what you want to use although they can still work.

Flutter spoons for walleye are the top producers as they are designed to run at speed.

The only drawback is that their light weight and thin profile means they have no natural diving capabilities of their own so once you are at depth your rigging needs to help set the running depth.

1. ​How Do You Troll Spoons for Walleye?

Trolling a spoon for walleye is pretty simple, let out your line behind the boat at the correct speed and then cover water where walleye are known to hold in.

But;

Nothing in life is simple.

Once you start to troll at anything beyond the 15 to 20 feet range you really will need to employ either a down-rigger, planer boards or some kind of weighted trolling rig to help fine tune the depth your spoon will run at.

Planer boards also allow you to run a lot of lines at a wide distance from the boat.

My personal favorite when running four lines is to have the two widest also running out the longest.

This allows a hooked walleye two never really get near your shorter run lines that are out the back on down-riggers.

2. How Do You Rig a Walleye Spoon?

The simplest rig when trolling with a spoon is to attach a swivel to your main line and then a leader length of roughly six feet of fluorocarbon to a link snap link.

Spoons need swivels in the rig as the can twist your line up in only a matter of minutes especially if you are trolling fast.

This is best when trolling in shallower waters and the amount of line you have out and the speed at which you are trolling is the only real way to fine tune your running depth.

Once you hit deeper waters as mentioned above you need planer boards or down-riggers.

​You can also run a three way rig with a spoon running off of the back and a deep diving crankbait running off the bottom.

3. What Size Spoon for Walleye?

Shorter spoons that are in the 2 to 3.5 inch seem to be the best size spoon for walleye.

​When using walleye trolling spoons size really does matter in fact I would say it matters more than color.

Larger salmon or lake trout spoons are just that little bit too big.

The only issue with using the 2 inch spoons is that you will have to deal with hooking into a lot of smaller fish, small walleyes, perch and even juvenile northern pike.

​In my experience 3 inch spoons hits the sweet spot you get less bites but those bites will be higher quality and more targeted to decent sized walleye.

4. What Color Walleye Spoons?

The best color spoons for walleye will be silver, gold, five of diamonds and a bright contrasting pattern.

Whilst gold and copper might be the most consistent base color spoons on Lake Erie, on somewhere like Saginaw Bay ​silver can often be the dominant color choice when trolling spoons.

When we talk patterns ever angler has his favorite but ultimately I think it comes down to contrast more so than the exact choice of color.

Contrasting colors give the walleye something to really chase and stand out from the background.

Every day is different so on your first troll of the day set a variety of colors and see what works.

​5. Tackle Considerations

Trolling is not jigging and the types of tackle you use is entirely different. Pulling heavy walleye lures on planer boards or down-riggers needs a setup that is able to handle a lot of pressure all day long so your lighter jigging setup just won't cut it.

​A good walleye trolling rod with a medium or medium/heavy power rating and a high quality trolling reel.

Personally I favor a line counter for most trolling work but they are not crucial.

Walleye Tackle and Fishing Gear

​There are a lot of different ways to catch walleye and unfortunately that means tailoring your walleye tackle and gear to the specific technique you are using.

Trolling gear will be useless for ice fishing and a jigging setup won't work be strong enough when using divers and down-riggers and vice versa.

If you fish for walleye year round then you will end up fishing one of the major techniques at a specific

  • ​Jigging - lighter rods with a fast action usually a spinning setup
  • ​Ice fishing - very short ice fishing rods and reels  
  • Spinning/casting - throwing lures or jigs into cover or structure  
  • ​Trolling -  heavier setup using planer boards, down-riggers or weighted rigs to fine tune depth

​Walleye Tackle

​Walleye tackle is quite diverse owing to the fact that there are several entirely different techniques that have very little crossover between the types of fishing gear that is used.

​Your tackle will ultimately change with the seasons in some form or another.

1. Jigging 

Jigging for walleye is one of the most popular techniques. Whether that's using small spoons or walleye jigs the tackle really needs to give you the most feedback possible through the rod.

Most walleye ​rods for this style of fishing will have a fast action, a medium/light power rating and be roughly 6.5 feet in length, this is a pretty standard walleye jigging setup.

A fast action means that the natural bend in the rod will start higher up in the top one third of the rod blank.

This means a quicker snappier jig action and a lot more feel is transmitted from the line to the rod.

Fishing line will either be fluorocarbon or braid as your main line and a fluorocarbon leader or roughly six feet.

Monofilament is a bad choice when using walleye jigs as there is too much natural stretch in it.

That added stretch is kill the sensitivity of the rod as you loose a lot of feedback.

​2. Ice Fishing

​When ice fishing the gear changes completely over to very short and light rods. A long rod is a hindrance when fishing over an ice hole. 

​When choosing an ice fishing line for walleye it is better to to stick to the specialty ice fishing lines that are designed specifically for it.

You need a line that is extremely abrasion resistant and one that stills remains pliable even in very cold temperatures.

​The majority of walleye ice fishing lures will be jigs as vertical jigging or a light bait rig is your best option.

3. Casting Lures

If you like to cast lures out from bank when walleye fishing from the shore or if you like to stop your boat and cast at structures or deep cover then either a good spinning setup or a casting setup is needed.

You can use the same rod and reel as you do for jigging, the only issue is that it may not be able to handle really big lures.

A medium power rod with a fast action in either a spinning or baitcasting variation works just fine.

4. Trolling

When walleye trolling the constant drag puts a lot of strain on your gear especially if you are running down-riggers or planer boards.

Both add a lot of pressure to your line albeit in different ways.

A good trolling rod and reel is essential​ particularly if you like to troll deep.

When trolling spoons for walleye for example you may do so at great depths and at a faster speed than other types of lures which will put a lot of pressure on your gear.

When shallow water trolling you can use a lighter setup and I see quite a few anglers using a spinning reel but personally speaking I find spinning reel too awkward when trolling.

Line counter reels are a nice to have but not essential.


​With so much variation in walleye fishing gear available a beginner might be a little overwhelmed.

The best bet is to choose one summer technique and an ice fishing setup if your intention is to fish year round.

Using a jig is probably the easiest tactic to master when you are starting out. You can also use the same tackle for casting lighter lures.

Walleye Jig Setup

​A good walleye jig setup requires a rod, reel and line combo that can transmit the maximum amount of feedback back through the rod and into your hand.

A well balanced setup is key to adding the best action to your jigs whilst allowing you to detect even the faintest of strikes.

You need a rod that has a lot of sensitivity, the right reel to balance your rod and a low stretch line that can transmit as much feedback from the jig head back to the rod.

  • Rod - spinning rod, 6 to 6'6" in length, medium/light power rating with a fast action
  • Reel - spinning reel size 2500
  • ​Line - braid or fluorocarbon  

​Most walleye anglers will use a spinning setup and either braid or fluorocarbon as the main line.

Walleye Jig Setup

1. Rod

Sensitivity is key when using a jig and a light, crisp rod that is well balanced is key to get the best action into your jigs.

When jigging for walleye all day a heavy unbalanced rod will do nothing more than tire your arm out.

Look for a rod with a medium/light power rating and fast action and roughly 6 to 6'6" in length.

​Rod action describes where on the rod blank the bend in the rod will start to form once some pressure is applied to it.

A more moderate action will have the bend start in the middle of the rod whereas a fast action will start to bend in the top one third section towards the rod tip.

​Most walleye rods will have a fast action as it gives you much better feedback, a snappier cast and will also allow you to set the hook quickly.

​2. Reel

A high quality rod needs good reel and with reels it's often a case of you pay for what you get.

A size 2500 spinning reel should be able to hold 120 yards of 10 lbs fluorocarbon or 120 yards of 20 lbs braid.

A heavy reel is definitely a poor choice as jigging demands that you are constantly moving the rod tip all day and if your reel is too heavy then you will have an unbalanced jig setup.

​One of the best walleye spinning reels is the Shimano Stradic Ci4+ which is one incredibly smooth casting reel.

​3. Line

Understanding that eliminating as much stretch from your line as possible is one of the best ways to figure out what makes a good walleye jigging setup.

The best walleye fishing line for jigging is either going to be braid or fluorocarbon

Monofilament comes with a natural stretch in it that is just not suitable for jigging with.

You need a line with low stretch as any action you put into the rod tip needs to be transmitted down through the line and into the jigs movement.

There is not much point in buying a light weight rod with a nice responsive tip only to loose the responsiveness because of your line stretching too much.

Braid is a great main line but you must use a fluorocarbon leader as braid is very visible.

Fluorocarbon can be used as a main line, normally in the 8 to 10 lbs range.

Most walleye fishing tackle requires a low stretch line with the exception of crankbaits as larger treble hook lures work better with a slightly delayed strike.

​4. Jigs

​There is a massive range of walleye jigs available and the for a beginner it can seem overwhelming. 

The best walleye jigs are usually round headed jigs with a wide gap on the hook.

There are lots of different shaped heads to choose from. Round heads, stand-ups, floating heads and swim heads to name but a few. 

And a lot of plastic lures and baits that can be added to them.

Best Walleye Jigs

​Although ​jigs are pretty simple lures, choosing the best walleye jigs for any given location, weather scenario or season is not always as simple as it first seems.

A jig is nothing more than a hook with a weighted head.

Yet;

There are thousands of possible variations once you account for the different types of walleye jig head shapes, sizes, floating, stand up and weedless plus dressed jigs, soft plastics, dead bait, live bait, etc........

And that's before you even choose a color!

Learning the basics of what type of jig head does what will give you a solid grounding in how and what to choose.

Sure, you can tie on any old jig for walleye and hope for the best but if you want to increase your hook up rate then a little bit of knowledge goes a long way.

​There are generally two types of eyes used with walleye fishing jigs, the traditional 90 degree tie which is used primarily for vertical jigging and the forward tie which is better suited to bottom jigging.

​Different types of walleye jigs:

  • ​Round Head - the traditional round head is the most popular and will lie flat on the bottom and will be less prone to snagging on a rocky bottom due to it's shape.
  • Stand Up - stand up jig heads have a flat shaped jig head on the opposite side to the tie point and the gap of the hook that allows the jig to "stand" on the bottom with the hook pointing ​upwards.
  • Floating - floating jig heads are designed to float or suspend off of the bottom assuming that you don't add too much weight to the jig when you dress it or add bait/soft plastic that is too heavy.
  • Underspins/Blades -  underspin jig heads have a small willow shaped spinner blade that is attached to the head, blade type jig heads feature a double bladed prop that spins on the shank of the hook, the classic Northland Whistler Jig is a great example.

​Ultimately the style of walleye jig head you choose should be determined on where in the water column you are targeting walleye.

​Best Walleye Jigs


​The all time best walleye jig ? Certainly the most popular!

The Northland Fire-Ball is responsible for many trophy walleye and is sure to be seen in just about every walleye anglers tackle box.

They come in a decent range of colors and in a range of sizes from 1/16 oz to 1/4 oz jig weights.

​One key design aspect of the Fire-Ball jig is the second ​eyelet behind the jig head. You can attach an underspin willow blade or add a stinger hook for when walleye are biting short.

The round head design and 90 degree tie point makes them best suited to vertical jigging.

The hook has a pretty wide gap so it can cater to a lot of different types of bait.


The VMC Neon Moon Eyes are a great walleye jig to use in low light scenario's.

They have big heads with a very distinctive painted 3D holographic eye that walleye can home in on.

The hooks are razor sharp and they also come with a bait keeper barb that helps to stop you live bait or soft plastic from slipping off the hook especially if you are getting a lot of strikes.


The Slurp from Northland is purposely designed for use with soft plastics. The jig head has a minnow shaped design with the tie in point on the top.

They also have to bait keeper barbs positioned about a third of the way down the hook shank to help keep your plastics on the hook.

These walleye jig heads will work best with grub, shad or minnow style soft plastic imitators and are generally fished in a very proactive manner i.e you need to keep them moving to get the best life possible out of the tail of the plastic.


​Although not strictly a jig head what walleye jigging lures list would be complete without a mention of the famous Rapala Jigging Rap?

They are the best hard-bodied jigging baits for walleye ever invented and can be fished in a variety of different ways not just vertically.

You can of course fish them vertically as they were designed to do but they work equally well when pitched or dragged.

The work really well when jigged in an aggressive manner in summer temps and also when used in winter out on the ice.

The are a very popular walleye ice fishing lure as they can attract fish in from a distance to your ice hole.

Fishing a jigging rap for walleye can be done vertically, pitching or dragging.

The tend to work best over a flat bottom of sand or gravel as when they touch down and are jerked up it can leave a small plume of sand or dirt that looks just like a real fish moving off of the bottom.


​The all time classic Lindy Fuzz-E grub is part soft body grub part marabou jig and walleye absolutely love em!

These will work really well when walleye are proving to be lazy.That marabou tail adds a lot of life like movement into the back of the jig.

​They come in a pretty decent variety of colors and sizes.

I have now switched over to these almost as a full time replacement for the more traditional walleye hair jigs that have been popular for a very long time.


​Walleye Jigs

Selecting the right walleye jigs will ultimately be determined by where in the water column you are looking to target walleye.

​Most anglers will learn this through experience. Below we have listed the main types of jigs for walleye and where the are best used.

Of course a lot of anglers will stick to the more traditional round style of jig head but knowing and understanding the other types is crucial to really get the best out of your walleye fishing.

Round Head

Round headed walleye jigs are the most popular and are generally quite usable in most situations.

I tend to favor these when vertical jigging for walleyes as more often than not the tie in point will be at a 90 degree angle to the hook shank.

They will generally have a long hook shank so they can be used for soft plastics and bait.

​Stand Up

Stand up jig heads are best suited to when you need to keep the gap of the hook off of the bottom.

There are a variety of different shapes but they all result in the same thing; the jig standing upright or at an angle with the gap of the hook pointing upwards as opposed to horizontally.

When you are using a soft plastic with a tail and you want to put a long pause into your jigging so that the jig will stay on the bottom for an extended period a stand up jig head for walleye is best

​A stand up jig head keeps the tail upright(and potentially moving) and also keeps the hook in an ideal orientation so as to maximize the chances of hooking the walleye solidly.

Floating

Floating jig heads allow you to suspend your jig off of the bottom. They can be used when bottom bouncing to help keep you bait or jig suspended a few feet above the bottom.

You need to be careful when adding anything to the hook as too much weight may kill the inbuilt buoyancy.

Some anglers will actually inject air into a nightcrawler from an empty syringe to help keep the jig head floating.

​Weedless Jig Heads

Hugely popular in the bass fishing world walleye anglers have been slow to truly embrace these types of walleye fishing jig heads.

However, the smarter anglers have really caught on to just how good fishing with a weedless hook can be in and around weed or submerged trees or stumps.

Basically any location that has a lot of snags is now a lot more accessible when you use a weed-guard on your jig head.

​Underspin/Bladed

Underspins add an extra element of both flash and vibration from the blade. The blade type is usually a slender willow blade.

They are really good when using bait that may not have a lot of movement in it.

Bladed jigs heads really work best when you are moving the jig in a more horizontal manner rather than a strictly vertical jigging


​Tackle Considerations

​A good walleye jig setup will use a spinning ​rod and reel and a low stretch walleye fishing line.

A good walleye jigging rod will have a fast action that allows you to not only put a lot of life into the jig but also get a lot of feedback through the rod tip so that you can feel as much as possible what is going on at the jig.

More than any other type of walleye lures jigs require a line with

Mono has too much natural stretch in it so that just leaves braid and fluorocarbon.

If you are choosing blade as your main line then you should use a fluorocarbon leader.

Best Walleye Ice Fishing Lures

​Although dead-sticking with natural bait can be extremely effective when out on the ice sometimes you need a bit of action or vibration to get walleye to bite.

The best walleye ice fishing lures tend to produce an injured bait-fish action. Jigging for walleye is most definitely one of the most productive methods of snagging a winter walleye out on the hard-water.

​Some of the best walleye lures can be used year round even in the depths of winter. Trolling with a harness rig is pretty much finished once the ice starts to form, but your summer walleye jigs can be used during winter.

Action, vibration and a flash of color are the most important attributes of a good ice fishing lure for walleye.

​There are ​generally three types of lures that are most effective:

  • Jigging lures with a swim action
  • Small spoons
  • Jig heads

All of which require a jigging action to add some life, vibration and flash into them.

A common technique is to put a small piece of natural bait on one of the treble hooks. This also adds some scent onto your lure which is often overlooked when ice fishing for walleye.

A small night-crawler, minnows or leeches can work wonders on a small spoon or jig head.

​Best Walleye Ice Fishing Lures


​This really was a toss up between the Jigging Rap and the Bay de Noc below as to which would be first in our list of the best ice fishing lures for walleye, but the Jigging Rap wins it just by a whisper.

The Jigging Rap has been producing fish for the past thirty years and shows no sign of slowing down with age it is a type of jig that can also be categorized as a swimming lure due to it's lifelike swim action.

And it is just as effective in summer as in winter. If you are ever stuck trolling a harness and seeing no results, find a few walleye on your depth finder and start jigging with a Jigging Rap!

For walleye you can use up to a size #9 although that would only be on the largest of waters where you know there are big walleye lurking.

A good approach is to start with a size #5 and see what is biting. Color wise I always try to "match the hatch" as they say. If there is a healthy population of small perch in the waters you are fishing then start with the classic perch pattern.

Otherwise the classic silver is a safe bet.


​The all time classic walleye ice fishing spoon the Bay de Noc Swedish Pimple is responsible for catching literally thousands of walleye down through the years.

It is the go to flutter spoon for many walleye fishermen. It's swim action imitates an injured minnow or other small bait fish.

Fishing a Swedish Pimple is very simple drop it to the bottom or just off it, reel in some slack and then jig it with vary different twitches and pauses of your rod tip.

It flutters on the drop and and emits a lot of flash that can pull in walleye from a long distance especially in low light scenario's.

You can add scent easily to the treble hook using a head or tail of a small minnow or shiner.

A lot of anglers will go o far as to replace the treble hook with a single or dropper chain.

Size wise look at the number #3 or #4 in a variety of colors. A good place to start is with a more natural gold or silver and it that is not producing switch to one of the more flashier artificial patterns.


​The Sebile Vibrato as is part flutter spoon part swimming jig and it sure does produce. Another all time classic ice fishing lure for walleye.

It is best worked with shorter, snappier twitches of the rod tip rather than with long powerful strokes. These shorter twitches done in batches of two or three with a brief pause between give it a very distinctive movement through the water.

Allow it to rest on the bottom for a brief count of two or three seconds and then start again. A lot of the time you'll actually get a strike when it is at rest on the lake bottom.


​A classic jigging spoon with a rather chunky body the Slender spoon from Custom Jigs and Spins is simple but certainly effective.

Unlike a lot of other flutter spoons the Slender spoon is actually quite wide at the head and thinner at the tail. This shape gives it quite a pronounced fluttering action as they fall through the water.

Walleye love them and they are best jigged with a slower action given the width of the body. Again it is to imitate an injured minnow so start with more natural colors and start from there.


​Although it may look pretty similar to the Jigging Rap above the Rapala Snap Rap has a much more pronounced swim action. This ice lure can be fished in almost the same way as the Jigging Rap but you do need to be a bit more form with your jigging action to get the best out of it.

It has a beefier tail fin than it's more popular cousin and has a more slender body. These design differences means that it has a different swim action.

They tend to sink much quicker and are more suited to deeper jigging work. The Snap Rap is also useful in larger open water jigging.


​A jigging spoon with a difference as the name suggests the Northland Buck-Shot Rattle spoon have a built in rattle that helps draw in walleye from far under the ice. 

A very basic jigging spoon but with addition of the inbuilt rattle it can be a top performer when other spoons seem to fail.

The patterns are also top notch with the gold/perch being one of the best ice lures for walleyes of all time.

Size wise look for the 1/16 or 1/8 of an ounce as the go to sizes.

You can fish these off the bottom with a nice rhythmic jigging action. Some of the patterns are glow in the dark so if you are ice fishing for walleye at night then make sure to have a small selection of these excellent walleye ice spoons in your tackle box.


​Another walleye ice lure that has an inbuilt rattle the Lindy Darter Rattling is pretty similar to one of the most successful lures of all time the Salmo Chubby Darter.

They are great in darker waters where the walleye need the added attration of a little bit of sound to help with the strike.

They have a slightly slower action and sink rate than some of the other lures listed above, so they are not really suitable for really deep walleye jigging.


Walleye Ice Fishing Lures

There are a few main types of lures for walleye ice fishing. They will of course vary by size shape and color depending on the brand that you buy.

With a seemingly endless choice of walleye fishing tackle available in can be a little overwhelming.

Once you have a small selection of each lure you can be pretty sure that you have almost every situation covered.

You don't need a massive tackle box full of lures, just a decent spread of colors and types.

Start out with a couple of each of the lures from out list above. Those lures are considered all time great walleye ice jigs and you can be sure that on any given day one if not half of them will definitely produce.

A common addition to any of these lures is to add some form of natural bait to one of the hooks.

Most of these lures worth by giving out a flash, vibration and/or a rattle or a combination of all three.

However, you can really increase your chances if you add a small bit of bait to the hook.

Natural bait has a scent that will increase the chances of a walleye investigating your lure.

Nightcrawlers or a minnow head are the two most popular choices to use.

Just be aware that if you add too much bait to the hook it will affect the swim action of the lure so you need to be really careful to only add just enough.

When using minnows the most common practice is to only use the head of the minnow.

With the right walleye ice fishing rod and reel and ice fishing line you can have a pretty good jig setup that will not cost the earth.

A good selection of lures is worth the investment.

Trolling for Walleye – How to Guide

During the winter and early spring months most walleye fishing usually involves a jig or bait. 

However, once the spawning season ends and the temperatures begin to rise your focus should turn to trolling. The best walleye lures for trolling will be crankbaits, spinners, small flatfish lures and Rapala's. 

Walleye trolling is much like other trolling for other freshwater species like salmon or lake trout except the gear may be slightly lighter and you may use a hybrid rig like a crawler harness.

Traditional trolling rigs for walleye are just as effective as a harness. But in the early season when you need to slow things down a bit a harness allows you to troll at super slow speeds. 

Trolling for Walleye

Trolling for walleye consists of trolling one of the following setups behind a boat usually in conjunction with a fish finder to help determine the depth:

  • Crawler harness
  • Crankbaits
  • Rapala's
  • Spinners and spoons

The types of lures you choose will vary depending on the time of year and the depth at which you are trolling.

​Crawler harnesses in the late spring and early summer and then larger crankbaits ​such as Rapala's Shad Rap in the summer. 

Spinners and trolling spoons for walleye can be used at speed in the summer but spinners are most effective when used as part of a crawler harness at slower speeds when walleye are feeling lazy.​

Smaller light lures such as walleye jerkbaits can also be trolled but to get the best performance from them you will need to twitch the rod tip and troll with rod in hand.

Walleye tend to love structures so best to start there and if it is not producing you an head for more open water.

In deeper open water walleye can start to school in smaller groups hitting one of these schools can be a little bit hit and miss. 

Weed beds, drop offs and other sub-surface structures and features should always be your first choice.

Once you find them at these structures try to make long sweeps along the structures rather than directly over them.​

Walleye Trolling Speed

The best trolling speed for walleye will fall somewhere in the range of 0.5 to 3 mph. It will of course depend on a number of factors such as:

  • Season
  • Type of lure
  • Depth

During late spring and into the early summer your speed will need to be on the slower side. Walleye are often quite lazy following their spawning season and as a result are less inclined to chase a lure that is moving too fast.

Once the warmer summer days arrive walleye will tend to feed in a much more aggressive manner. There is also a lot more food on offer.

Once they are done with spawning you can start to use lures that require a slightly faster speed to get the best action out of them.

When trolling larger crankbaits you can troll at the higher end speeds up to around 3 mph. 

However, most crankbaits for walleye will perform best at around the 2 mph mark.

Walleye Trolling Tips

Although there are a lot of fishermen who will just tie on a crankbait let out lots of line and hope for the best this really is not the best approach to catching walleye from a boat. 

You need to stop and think about some of the factors already mentioned above, some walleye trolling tips to follow:

  • Season can determine your trolling speed
  • Use a fish finder to find the walleye
  • Pay attention to the contours of the bottom
  • Cover as much ground as you can
  • Change your speed 
  • Move the boat in an 'S' pattern

Walleye Trolling Setup

The type of walleye fishing gear required for trolling is a lot different to when you are jigging.

If you are using more than two rods on your boat then you may need to use planer boards to get keep the out side lines as wide as possible from the inner lines.

To get to the desired depth you can control your lure by adding weight to the line. There are usually two options used when using weight whilst trolling:

  • Bottom bouncing​
  • Three way rig

Both require a little experimentation to get the desired depth just right. 

If your budget allows for it you can of course invest in a downrigger.

A downrigger allows you to get a much more accurate running depth for you lures.

But a downrigger can require the use of a heavier rod as the constant strain is likely to ruin a lighter rod.

Jigging Rap for Walleye

​Although a lot of angler are familiar with using a jigging rap for walleye when ice fishing what they don't realize is that it is one of the most versatile year round walleye lures available.

The Rapala Jigging Rap is a strange lure, not quite jig, not quite hard body stickbait.

Instead it exists in a grey area between the two.

A hard body jig who's ​shape allows it to swim in a rather unique pattern as it rises and falls.

To only use the Jigging Rap as a vertical jig is to not unlock it's full potential.

Of course there are similar lures such as the Shiver Minnow, Puppet Minnow and the Snap Rap for walleye.

It is still considered one of the most successful ice fishing lures for walleye ever invented and has spawned a bunch of imitators.

Jigging Rap for Walleye

​The Jigging Rap like other hard body jigs has a very particular swim and fall action that forces fish into striking like no other lure.

Varying your action and getting the right depth are probably the two most important aspects, even more so than size or color.

It can be used in a variety of locations and with several different techniques not just the usual vertical jigging action everyone is so familiar with.

​Vertical

Probably the most popular way to fish a Jigging Rap is as a vertical jig.

Whether that's on ice or out in deep water the approach is fairly similar. Lower it down and then raise it up a foot or two with an upwards jerk of your rod tip.

If you know the exact depth that the fish are holding at as seen on a fish finder then you can lower it directly to them and continue to work the jig in a depth range that over laps.

However if you don't know the exact depth then the best option is to let it fall to the bottom and the jig it upwards allowing it to fall to the bottom again naturally and repeat.

This works really well on open bottom that is free from snags, so sandy bars, gravel beds or rocky bottoms that don't snag too easily.

On sandy bottoms in particular the jig will actually throw up a small cloud of sand that looks really natural as it hits the bottom and then raises off it.

A good tip is to vary how you do the jigging, so instead of a single jerk upwards vary the number of vertical pulls you put on the rod before you allow the jig to fall to the bottom.

This more random type of jigging action is a lot more natural that straight up, straight down.

A lot of anglers will use a bow mounted trolling motor set on it's lowest speed in conjunction with a fish finder to gradually move across a school of fish or a drop off.

As the boat moves slowly so too will your jig across the bottom with every few jerks of the rod.

This allows you to cover a bit more water than just staying stationary although it is nowhere near as fast paced as pitching described below.

Pitching

Pitching across structures or at natural drop offs and contours is a much more aggressive form of power jigging than the more usual vertical jigging.

You'll want to cast away from the boat towards a specific point or better yet just beyond it.

​Allow the jig to sink right down and then jerk it up a few times.

After the jerk pulls it off of the bottom reel in a few feet of line. This will then force to move the jig back towards you and hopefully over where there walleye are holding.

If pitching towards weed lines then position the boat about 50 feet out, cast to right on the edge of the weeds and then start to jerk and retrieve.

More often than not you get a strike just as the contour of the bottom starts to go deeper in anywhere from 3 to 10 feet from where the weeds end.

Dragging

​Dragging lies somewhere in between trolling and vertical jigging.

Think of it as extremely slow trolling with a jig.

It is particularly effective on rivers but can also be used to great affect in shallower waters on lakes.

You need a trolling motor as your speed will need to be somewhere ​around 0.5 mph.

Cast your jig out behind your boat and let out a sufficient amount of line so that the jig will run at roughly a 30 degree angle to the water surface.

30 degrees means you will get a better hook up rate as a 45 degree or more angle means that your line might start to bow and sag which results in less speed when striking and setting the hook.

You can move along a particular structure or at a depth that walleye are known to be holding.

To run deeper use a larger size Jigging Rap and for shallow work use a smaller size.

​What Size Jigging Rap for Walleye ?

The best size Jigging Rap for walleye in open water is a #7 or #9, for shallower water work the anything from a size #2 to a size #7 will work best depending on the depth and structure.

​In 15 feet or more you really need the larger sized #7 or #9 to get down to your required depth quickly.

The smaller sizes of Jigging Rap will not sink quick enough to cover the type of depth that you want especially if you are on top of a large school of walleye, you need to get the jig down quickly after landing every fish.

The smaller sizes work best when out on the ice and in depths of 10 feet or less. They have a nice soft swim action when they are lighter and it's not very often you will get a winter walleye to chase a large lure.

​What ​Color Jigging Rap for Walleye ?

The most successful color Jigging Rap lures are perch, chrome/blue, ​ gold, fluorescent orange/gold depending on the day and the light conditions.

​I truly believe that the color is not the most important aspect of how to fish a Jigging Rap, it's more about the correct size and the action that you put into it.

That being said sometimes only one color will produce on a given day so you need to have a small collection or different colors and sizes.

​Tackle Considerations

​To get the very best out any walleye fishing jigs you need a rod that can transmit as much action into the jig as possible.

A fast action walleye rods with a medium to medium/light power rating will work best.

​Monofilament has too much stretch in it so use either braid or fluorocarbon. If you are using braid as a main line then always use a fluorocarbon leader as braid is too visible.

​When jigging your rod needs as much feedback from the line down through the blank and into your hand.

If your line has some stretch to is then you will loose some of that sensitivity.

​This is why you should always use a low stretch line when using a Rapala Jigging Rap for Walleye.

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