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everythingthatswims

Learning How To Walleye Fish

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The river here in Morgantown seems to be a lot better for walleye than bass, and since it's getting cold I've pretty much given up on the bass (in this particular river). Coming from central Virginia where we have very few walleyes, I didn't really know how to fish for them, back home I have caught them on accident or on a shad rap, that's it. I've thrown a lot of "crossover" baits like jerkbaits and little swimbaits because that way I am sort of targeting both species, but the real success came when I finally broke down and tipped a 4" curly tail grub with a minnow like I see on TV when they walleye fish.

I found an area that has thousands of tiny silver shiners (they are very similar to a glass minnow) that sit in huge schools all day, but when evening rolls around, they get broken up by walleyes who periodically pull up into the shallow water to feed in waves in the dark. In the afternoon, I throw shiners out into the river channel on carolina rigs, but once the sun dips below the horizon, I bring those in and cast with a jig. When the walleyes are there, nearly every cast results in a fish, but at any given time they will either shut off or leave for 30 minutes or more. What I've learned is that when they are in the area, especially with that much bait around, a grub tipped with a minnow will outfish a bare grub 5 to 1. I also learned that (at least these fish) like a VERY slow retrieve. I toss the bait out, and slowly hop (I would call it a "lift" because it is such a slow movement) the bait all the way back in, many times pausing for 5 to 10 seconds between hops. Usually I feel a small tap as the bait falls to the bottom, much like a jig bite but on a much smaller scale.

One thing I haven't been able to figure out is how to catch the walleyes that are cruising the surface. I can hear and see them eating the shiners on the surface, and if I shine a light, I can see their eyes darting around, but even a free lined shiner won't get a sniff. I am thinking it has to do with the same phenomenon we experience when bass are very keyed in on a particular baitfish that is overly abundant, and often won't touch anything we offer to them.

I've fished the spot three times, the first night by friend and I landed a combined 17 walleye. Second night was slow, we only landed 4. Tonight I went alone, and landed 15 walleyes, 3 sauger. Definitely a unique style of fishing, too bad I live in a dorm and have no way to keep or cook fish, lots and lots of nice 15-16" fish being turned loose!

 

Double Walleye.jpg

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Man I've seen those eyes' get BIG. I've heard them called the worst fresh water fighters but their max size is impressive to say the least. I also admire their design.. some say they are ugly, I think they're neat. My mother used to catch them fishing lake Michigan with a crawler harness. 

Their table fair is questionably unmatched as far as freshwater fish are concerned. 

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When they're feeding on the surface at night like that I've seen them eat topwater pretty regularly. One of the local favorites is a floating minnow bait like a original Rapala, but the Bagley Bang-O with the prop on the tail seems to be particularly deadly. A slowly worked super spook jr can be good, and some guys will even strip streams on a fly rod for those fish. 

It seems you're finding the same situation with catching walleye that I normally experience. When they're biting, walleye are not difficult to catch, but when they decide to stop biting, they're nearly impossible to get to bite anything including livebait. 

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Low light conditions, after dark & when surface feeding put on a black jitterbug. You can thank me later. 

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Since you are a fellow West Virginian, let me share the Walleye I caught in New Martinsville at the Hannibal Locks and Dam on November 3rd.  Caught him on a Maroon Crawfish "Grave Digger" deep diving crankbait from Cabela's with an orange belly.  Hardest fighting fish I've ever caught.Screenshot_2016-11-03-10-29-41.png

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2 hours ago, BankBassing said:

Since you are a fellow West Virginian, let me share the Walleye I caught in New Martinsville at the Hannibal Locks and Dam on November 3rd.  Caught him on a Maroon Crawfish "Grave Digger" deep diving crankbait from Cabela's with an orange belly.  Hardest fighting fish I've ever caught.Screenshot_2016-11-03-10-29-41.png

I saw! I need to find one like that because all of the walleyes I've caught feel like a sock that shakes its head.

I'm a student at WVU but I'm from Virginia. 

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I catch a lot of river walleye on the ned rig, as well as a keitechs on plain jigheads. Suspending jerk baits can be deadly in the right conditions too. 

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I will be in morgantown this weekend for the game. Wait until next year when you can get your own place. There are so many great smallmouth and trout streams within a couple hours of Morgantown. Another great bait when they are hitting on top like that is a pencil style bait popper.

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Generally speaking, walleye fishing requires a little more finesse and lighter tackle to have success than bass fishing does.  They generally get bigger than bass do, but they don't fight much more than dead weight so there's no reason to upgrade gear.  And they usually are way more sensitive to sunlight than bass which is why the best fishing is often at sunset, night time, or on a cloudy/windy day.  I live in Minnesota and walleyes are king around here but I realized recently that 90% of all those walleye anglers are ONLY doing it to harvest fish.  If they can't keep any, they go somewhere else.  Kind of sad actually, I don't know why they can't just go to enjoy it (like most bass anglers).  Most people fish them with some sort of live bait but when they're in an aggressive mood, artificial lures will often produce fish too.

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On 11/23/2016 at 6:32 PM, gimruis said:

Generally speaking, walleye fishing requires a little more finesse and lighter tackle to have success than bass fishing does.  They generally get bigger than bass do, but they don't fight much more than dead weight so there's no reason to upgrade gear.  And they usually are way more sensitive to sunlight than bass which is why the best fishing is often at sunset, night time, or on a cloudy/windy day.  I live in Minnesota and walleyes are king around here but I realized recently that 90% of all those walleye anglers are ONLY doing it to harvest fish.  If they can't keep any, they go somewhere else.  Kind of sad actually, I don't know why they can't just go to enjoy it (like most bass anglers).  Most people fish them with some sort of live bait but when they're in an aggressive mood, artificial lures will often produce fish too.

Most people don't fish them just for fun because they are not fun to catch.  Watching a rod troll around all day isn't exciting for most guys unless they are rewarded with something tasty on the end.

I love to walleye fish but not because they are exciting to fish for or put up a great fight.

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Our walleye must be a different subspecies or something. The ones I catch fishing for bass often fight harder than a similar sized largemouth. I think it has something to do with the fact that I usually catch them very shallow (<5') while casting instead of trolling or jigging. I'm always happy when I feel those heavy head shakes at the initial hookset, followed by a hard steady pull and even drag peeling. Maybe they're just learning they need to fight hard because their lives probably depend on it :lol:

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On 11/26/2016 at 2:34 AM, Bluebasser86 said:

Our walleye must be a different subspecies or something. The ones I catch fishing for bass often fight harder than a similar sized largemouth. I think it has something to do with the fact that I usually catch them very shallow (<5') while casting instead of trolling or jigging. I'm always happy when I feel those heavy head shakes at the initial hookset, followed by a hard steady pull and even drag peeling. Maybe they're just learning they need to fight hard because their lives probably depend on it :lol:

Yup! I catch them in a river and really enjoy the fight, but I'm catching them on lighter-powered rods and not power-reeling them in skiing them across the water.

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On 11/26/2016 at 1:34 AM, Bluebasser86 said:

Our walleye must be a different subspecies or something. The ones I catch fishing for bass often fight harder than a similar sized largemouth. I think it has something to do with the fact that I usually catch them very shallow (<5') while casting instead of trolling or jigging. I'm always happy when I feel those heavy head shakes at the initial hookset, followed by a hard steady pull and even drag peeling. Maybe they're just learning they need to fight hard because their lives probably depend on it :lol:

I'm not a walleye expert and usually dont target them specifically but catch a few every year when targeting other fish. I have caught walleyes that didnt fight and some that gave a heck of a struggle .  One day many years ago I got on a rock point pattern and the Eyes were slamming a Manns Razorback Pig . Those fish fought extremely hard .

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