Walleye Fishing 101
The walleyes are out there—but how do you find them? That’s the central question of any fishing adventure. We at Epic Guide Service have earned a few answers in our day—and while we think you should sign up for a Walleye Fishing Trip with us, that doesn’t mean you can’t start practicing on your own. Here’s a brief guide to catching walleye to get you prepared for your next major adventure:
Is Walleye Fishing an Art or a Science?
You might hear a fishing guide tell you that fishing is more art than science. You know what we say to that? They just want to make an excuse for why they’re not catching anything.
The truth is, fishing can be a science just like anything else. Walleye tend to have a very specific set of habits—and those habits are worth learning. But you can’t learn them overnight. That’s why it’s so integral to hire a proper walleye fishing tour guide to ensure that you have the best chance possible of acquiring that photo-worthy walleye on your first trip out.
Keys to Catching Walleye More Consistently
If catching walleye can be narrowed down to a science, then it only follows that you should be able to catch them consistently. After all, that’s what we do at Epic Guide Service. What have we learned in our experience with Walleye? Plenty:
- Versatility is key. If you have “one spot” where you catch walleye, prepare to be disappointed. There is no universal magic spot to catch a fish like walleye. Sure, maybe some areas are better suited than others, but a good fishing guide can steer you in the direction of walleye even if the usual spots aren’t working.
- Adapt to your conditions. When the walleye aren’t biting, it’s not an excuse to pack up and head for the dock. Instead, adapt to your conditions. Ask yourself where the walleye might have went given the weather, the time of day, and even the season.
- Think outside the box. Sometimes, a simple change will help you catch more walleye. But if it doesn’t, are you capable of thinking outside the box? Can you think of more than one adjustment? Sometimes, a fisherman has to think on the fly—and that’s what separates a sporadic guide from one who delivers a consistent catch.
- Know the water. We regularly check the water clarity to have a better understanding of what we’ll be able to see—and what we can’t.
- Use your electronics. Fish finders are a great tool, if you know how to use them properly. The key here is understanding the difference between any old fish and walleye. We have experience in finding and identifying the nearest walleye.
The Top Mistakes to Avoid When Fishing for Walleye
Sounds good, right? Yet you might find that inexperience alone can still lead you to make a number of mistakes, such as:
- Fishing too deep. One of the key mistakes new fishers make? They assume that the big fish always swim in deep areas. This isn’t necessarily true. At Epic Guide Service, we’ve caught walleyes in three feet of water. In the right conditions, you’ll find that these fish venture to much shallower areas of the lake than you might imagine.
- Inappropriate lures. Matching the lure to the fish is key. Without it, the walleye will have no idea you’re even trying to attract them. Usually that means that the lure is the wrong color, or even too small for a walleye to consider worth checking out.
- Following the crowd. If you’re experienced, you should trust your gut. Don’t follow the crowd when it comes to catching walleyes—instead, give your own instincts a chance and look for the fish yourself. You’d be amazed at what you can accomplish if you’re willing to sometimes venture off the beaten path.
Most of these mistakes are mistakes of inexperience, which is why it pays to have a knowledgeable guide when you venture out onto the lake.
What if the Walleye Aren’t Biting
Perhaps the top question we get here is “what happens if the walleye aren’t biting?”
The answer is simple: if your approach isn’t working, then you change the approach.
Walleye behavior can vary from day to day. It can even vary from hour to hour, depending on the conditions. You need to be able to adapt and change to stay on the fish all day long, which in turn will give you more “at-bats,” so to speak. The more you can expose your lures to walleye, the better a chance you’ll have of hooking one.
What many people don’t realize about walleyes is that they will migrate much farther than people tend to think. That, in turn, means that you have to be on a boat with adequate fishfinding equipment and adequate lures. You also have to be willing to change your strategy if the current one isn’t working.
How do you put it all together to ensure that your next walleye trip will be as fun as you can possibly make it?
The key is to start out with experience. Either start practicing on your own or consult with an experienced guide like Epic Guide Service to ensure that you have the proper instruction. This will not only help you land the walleye you want, but will give you the most “at-bats” for catching these fish.
Next, make sure that you have a quality boat. You need to exercise patience when you catch walleye, and patience requires comfort. At Epic Guide Service, our preferred boat for fishing is a Ranger 620, which makes it easy to find the walleyes in the lake while enjoying your day out on the lake. Put it all together, avoid the mistakes listed above, and you should have no problem finding walleyes that will bite on your lures. Oh—you did remember to use the right lures, didn’t you? If not, we can show you—just sign up with us today.