Walleye are the most popular freshwater gamefish in the northern parts of the country. Most anglers know they make a challenging catch, as well as a fantastic meal. Walleye fishing can be great fun. They bite all day and can be caught in respectable sizes. Angling for walleye is fun for beginners and experts, as well as being great for you!
In this article, we’re going to share all the information you need to become a fantastic walleye angler. A list of the very best walleye jigs and lures will help you set up your tackle, and we’ll also tell you about the most effective baits for walleye. In addition, we’ll explain how you should approach catching walleye, and how to use each lure to reel in a winner!
10 Best Walleye Lures & Jigs – Overview
1. Rapala Husky Jerk 10 Walleye Trolling Lure Crank Bait
- Suspending/Neutral Buoyancy
The Rapala Husky Jerk is an excellent crankbait that every angler should keep in their tackle box. This walleye lure comes in many colors and sizes so you can tailor it directly to your target fish; for walleye, we recommend the color Fire Tiger, which is a shiny green and black easily visible through water by walleye. The Husky Jerk is neutrally buoyant for perfect presentation and can be used for both casting and trolling.
This Rapala walleye lure runs straight and true on the retrieve, while the loud rattle chamber attracts surrounding fish. The Rapala Husky Jerk is a tried and true lure for walleye, especially as the fish dive deeper during summer. Crankbaits are an essential piece of walleye angling equipment, allowing you to cover lots of distance while calling fish with the attractive rattle. We recommend trying out a very slow troll around any humps or drop-offs, where walleye are likely to converge. You can also try fishing the Rapala Husky Jerk like a jerk bait, cranking and stopping, to create a more dramatic presentation.
2. Rapala Shad Rap Walleye Lure
- The world's best running hardbait, hand-tuned and tank-tested at the factory.
This walleye lure is similar to the previous crankbait we listed, except the Shad Rap also brings a wobbling action which makes it even more irresistible. You can use this lure for trolling, casting and retrieving, and many other different styles. As one of the most useful and versatile walleye lures available, we don’t recommend you go fishing without a Rapala Shad Rap.
A huge range of colors and sizes are available in this lure, so you can make the best choice depending on the environment and time of day. For walleye, blue, chartreuse, silver, and firetiger are always excellent color choices, as they stand out to these freshwater fish. With a hard-diving lip and sharp treble hooks, this durable fishing lure is built to last. The construction is balsa wood, which makes this lure super responsive as well as long-lasting. The Rapala Shad Rap has fantastic action, mimicking a wounded minnow, which is perfect for temping walleye to bite. That’s why this is one of the best walleye lures and has been for years.
3. Bandit Deep Diver Walleye Trolling Lure
- 20 1/2-inch slender minnow/jerkbait catches fish on both sides of the big pond – walleyes, bass, pike and others here in the States and zander and other predator fish from waters on the other side...
The Bandit Deep Diver is a classic trolling lure you can use for catching a lot of different fish. As well as walleye, this lure is highly effective when used on bass, pike, and zander. A range of colors and sizes are available, including eye-catching chartreuse. This lure is ideal for trolling at around 12 feet, at speeds just under 2 miles per hour. The diving lip is perfectly molded so the lure will run smoothly through the water.
This Bandit lure is a perfect choice for attracting the attention of deep-dwelling walleye. The vibrant colors and eye-catching sparkle of this jerk bait make it one of the best walleye lures. Use this jerkbait to mimic an injured minnow and you won’t be able to keep the walleye away! We recommend using a crank and jerk approach, especially when covering weeds and other structures.
4. Cotton Cordell Wally Diver Walleye Crankbait
- Slender profile and tight wiggle to attract fish
Another doubly useful walleye lure is the Cotton Cordell Wally Diver, which is also an excellent crankbait for smallmouth bass. This lure has an excellent presentation, showing a great profile and wiggle in the water to attract walleye from all around. We recommend the fluorescent red-black color in the Wally Diver as this standout color combination is very eye-catching to walleye. Red walleye lures are highly effective from 15-20 feet, while green or silver is a better color choice for deeper water.
Crankbaits like the Cotton Cordell Wally Diver are an essential piece of kit for walleye fishing. Without one of these lures, you won’t be able to cover as much ground, and finding the fish is more difficult. Additionally, any lure with this shaking and wiggling action is very helpful when trying to catch walleye. With a carefully shaped diving lip and a bright range of colors, the Wally Diver is one of the best walleye fishing lures.
5. Berkley Fusion19 Snap Fishing Jighead
Jigging is one of the most popular ways to catch walleye, so you’ll need a decent jig head in your tackle box. This Berkely walleye lure has a versatile jig action, so you can fish it using a cast, snap, retrieve, or vertical jig technique. Use this jig with any of your favorite soft plastic baits for walleye and reel in fish after fish. This versatile lure is effective when used in open water, under ice, or fishing vertically over structures.
This fusion jig head can also be used with live bait, in a simple but highly effective combination. A minnow, nightcrawler, or leech would all make a very attractive bait to bass on this jighead, available in a range of colors and sizes. If you fancy a change for fishing for walleye with a crankbait, jigging could be the next big thing! This simple and straightforward walleye lure can be the most effective tool in your arsenal. The Berkley Fusion19 is one of the best walleye jigs.
6. Lindy Spinner Rig Blade Bait
Lindy rigs are a popular choice for catching walleye, in some parts they can also be called spinner rigs and spinner harnesses. This lindy rig features a holographic spinner blade that imitates baitfish colors, as do the bead patterns to make the lure as attractive as possible. A simple lindy spinner can be very effective in certain walleye lakes; try fishing with a slow retrieve and be amazed at the results!
You can also use this lure in combination with a bottom bouncer to really get the fish going; lindy rigs are some of the most versatile walleye fishing lures. Live bait such as leeches work best with spinnerbaits, but there are many combinations to try out. Color options for walleye include redtail and shad, and you can also add your own blades to personalize your lure.
7. Storm Hot ‘n Tot MadFlash Fishing Lure
If you want a walleye lure which produces action like no other, try the Storm Hot ‘N Tot Madflash. This premium walleye lure has an erratic back-and-forth diving action that can be replicated by no other lure; its movement is irresistible to walleye. The presentation is made possible by the specially designed metal diving lip, which causes the lure to wiggle all over the place as you pull it through the water.
The MadFlash is a high-shine lure, made to be as eye-catching as possible. This walleye lure is available in holographic and UV finishes, but we like this shiny black and orange chrome option. In deeper water, walleye are more likely to notice a flashy lure. The Storm Hot ‘N Tot is best used in any sort of open water, and as well as walleye, bass and salmon are big fans of the MadFlash.
8. Strike King Red Eyed Shad
The Strike King Red Eyed Shad is considered one of the very best lipless crankbaits, especially when it comes to catching walleye. On colder fall mornings, a time of year where catching walleye can be difficult, this Strike King lure can produce a catch. As well as wiggling through the water, this lipless crankbait produces a loud rattling sound to attract even more fish.
Fishing a crankbait allows you more stealth in shallow water, which is necessary for catching walleye. These fish have excellent vision, so a low-level presentation is vital. Additionally, the Strike King Red Eyed Shad can cover large areas of water quickly, so you can easily work out where the fish hotspots are located. This flashy vibrating crankbait is one of the best walleye lures all year round.
9. Strike King Walleye Elite Series Jerkbait Trolling Lure
For a lure completely optimized for bringing in the largest walleye possible, choose the Strike King Walleye Elite Jerkbait. This fishing lure comes in a large range of colors and patterns, each specifically designed to attract walleye in a different environment. The diving range of this jerkbait is around 11 feet unassisted, while each design mimics the movement of the baitfish it was modeled after.
This Strike King Lure will roll and wiggle in the water until it catches the attention of a passing walleye. Designed to mimic an injured baitfish, this jerkbait is sure to attract large predators. Fishing a jerkbait may need a little more practice than other techniques, but it’s highly effective once you get the movements down. If you’re trolling through deep water, the Strike King Walleye Elite Series might be exactly what you need.
10. Reef Runner 800
- The Deep Little Ripper has a incredible darting action as it dives deeper than the Little Ripper.
This popular deep diving lure is for anglers aiming to reel in big walleye! If you want to land a ten-pound fish, you need a lure with a lot of action as well as flexibility. You can use the Reef Runner 800 to troll or cast to depths of 28 feet, so you can get to where the largest fish are hiding. A wide wobble action, as well as internal rattle, makes this minnow lure practically irresistible.
Fishing for walleye with the Reef Runner takes a bit of practice and is easier for more experienced anglers. However, once you master this lure, its performance in use is outstanding. You can buy Reef Runners in a range of colors and sizes, each to catch walleye in different water conditions. This realistic deep diver is certainly one of the best walleye lures.
Best Baits for Walleye
If you’re going to fish for walleye, you’ll need more tackle than just jigs and lures. To catch walleye, the right lure needs to be used with the correct bait selection. Most anglers use live bait when fishing for walleye, as this is the most tried and tested approach. Minnows, leeches, and worms are the most attractive live bait to walleye. You can pick these up at your local sporting or fishing store.
Leeches work well when used for vertical jigging, so if you use a jig head make sure to pick a small hook. Then, when tying your line to the hook eye, make sure it faces outwards to lift the tail and present the leech in a more appealing fashion to passing fish. When the weather is hot, leeches make a better bait choice than minnows, although worms can substitute if necessary. Spinnerbaits are best for use with worms as they add more action to your presentation.
Minnow bait works well in shadowed areas and cooler water and should be presented with a lot of movement. Crankbaits and jerkbaits are ideal for use with minnows to add extra movement. However, when hooking your live bait, try to injure the fish as little as possible so it can still swim in the water. No matter how erratic your lure presentation is, nothing is more enticing to walleye than a real live snack.
If you don’t want to use live bait when fishing, or can’t get your hands on the real thing, there are several artificial walleye baits that can do just as good of a job! Here are a few of the best walleye baits when live bait isn’t an option:
- Berkley Gulp Nightcrawlers: Real nightcrawlers are the best bait for use with lindy rig or harness lures, but they aren’t always available. Berkley Gulp artificial nightcrawlers are the next best thing for your spinner rig, designed to look and taste just like the real deal.
- Soft Plastic Swimbait: A large swimbait can be very effective when jigging for walleye, and can trigger even the laziest fish to strike. Extra-soft plastic baits like this walleye lure from Amazon make an excellent choice.
How To catch Walleye
Now that you’re properly equipped to catch all the walleye in your local lake, we’re going to share a few fishing tips. Every game fish has a different predatory approach, so anglers need to tailor their presentation. You can use the same bass fishing techniques to catch walleye, as each sport fish needs a different angling methodology. When you’re fishing for walleye, keep in mind this advice so that you have the best chances of success.
Walleye have excellent vision, and this is the main sense they use to hunt. They cruise around using shadowy areas as cover, taking advantage of their superior eyesight to sneak up on prey. Preferred feeding times are dawn, dusk, and night because lower light levels give these fish an advantage. This means angling for walleye is always best during these times, as active fish are more likely to strike.
This game fish’s reliance on sight means they’re very attracted to contrasts. As well as picking out bright and contrasting fishing lures, look out for areas of the lake that stick out as different. Rocks on a sandy lake bed, or vice versa, are bound to attract walleye. At most times of the year, walleye hunt in the shallows. However, these fish may move to deeper water as temperatures rise, so fishing deep divers is a good idea.
As well as good vision, walleye have a very sensitive lateral line that can detect out-of-sight underwater vibrations. Far-away disturbances can attract lots of walleye, so any movement you can add to your fishing is a benefit. As well as live lures; blades, spinners, and crankbaits can all help you make more erratic movements in the water. Make sure you tailor your choice of bait so it’s appropriate to your lure, as realistic presentation is vital.
Walleye are an excellent target for anglers, as they can provide a varied and challenging fishing experience. There are many different approaches you can use when fishing for walleye, making them perfect for anglers to add their own personal flair. You can find success fishing with jigs, crankbaits, spinners, and more. There’s even a range of different bait options that all make a great choice. From beginners to experienced veterans, everyone can have a fantastic day fishing for walleye if they’re properly equipped.
Bonus tip: Check out this video for some tricks on catching summer walleye!