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.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Most walleye anglers will use a spinning setup and either braid or fluorocarbon as the main line.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Ultimately the style of walleye jig head you choose should be determined on where in the water column you are targeting walleye.
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.
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 headed walleye jigs are the most popular and are generally quite usable in most situations.
I tend to favor these when vertical jigging 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 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 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.
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.
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
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.
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 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:
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.
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.
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.
A good selection of lures is worth the investment.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The best walleye lures to have in your tackle box are:
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.
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.
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.
Fuzz-E Grubs are an all time classic walleye lures. Often described as one of the best walleye jigs 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Another small lure just like the Salmo Hornet above it but just as effective as some of the other larger crankbaits for trolling.
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.
Without a doubt on bright days and in clear water you really do want to avoid anything too unnatural or flashy.
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.