Use the Right Rig for the Right Condition
If you're fishing for walleye close to the bottom, you can use a ball-hooked jig or a spinner and crawler harness (color spinners work best, especially blue, silver or chartreuse). You can also use crank baits to cast and retrieve if the weather's cool or to troll in the warm weather [source: Hornebeck].
Technique 2: Walleye Fishing With a Planer Board
Planer boards are another useful trolling device, used mostly in shallow water. Like downriggers, planer boards let you fish multiple lines and drop your lures away from the boat.
Your average dual planer boards consist of two vertical runners placed parallel to each other, spaced apart by steel rods, with a mast that mounts near the bow of the boat. A towline and reel attaches to the mast, allowing you to adjust the distance between the planer board and the boat.
You should position your planer board somewhere between 50 and 100 feet (15.2 and 30 meters) off the side of the boat, more if you're fishing in especially calm waters. Dual boards let you use up to five lines per side, and they're especially useful if you're fishing in rough water.
Inline boards, however, are the planers of choice among walleye fishers [source: Richardson]. An inline planer is a single ballasted board that attaches directly to the fishing line, a configuration that allows the board itself to act as a strike signaler. Inline boards are also cheaper, but they need to be kept properly ballasted to keep them from dipping beneath the surface in rough water.
Whether you're using a dual or an inline planer board, you should position your weight 50 feet behind the planer, and let the lure go out 50 feet behind the weight [source: Landahl]. In spring, it's best to use shallow-running stick baits, and use crawlers and spinners in warmer weather. Always use a snap weight and a light tension release.
If you really want to get the full walleye experience, you should try fishing at night. Read on to learn how to get the big walleye to bite at night.