How Walleye River Fishing Works

Walleye River Fishing Lures and Baits

So you have decided to try walleye river fishing. You have ch­osen a river, have access to a boat, and your best friend has agreed to go with you. You are ready to hit the water, right? Not quite. In order to catch a walleye, you need to hook the bait that walleye prefer on lures that will make the bait look really attractive.

There is a debate as to whether or not to use live bait. Walleye are natural predators and typically feed on other fish and small aquatic animals like insects, crayfish, grubs, salamanders and frogs. For the live bait option, check your local bait and tackle shop, or, if you are a do-it-yourself kind of person, your own backyard or nearby pond. When deciding on live bait for walleye, try minnows, leeches or night crawlers. [source: Scott]

Plastic bait can also be used. Professionals have won walleye tournaments by using plastic crawlers, thumper plastics, twitch baits, shad raps or spoons. [source: Kalkofen]

The key to catching walleye is making the bait look alive. To do this, use a lure that creates the illusion of free-swimming live bait. You can use these three basic lures combined with any of the bait listed above:

  • Spinner rig -These come with a hook and blade that causes the bait to spin when it is pulled through the water. This is great bait for trolling, when the boat is constantly moving.
  • Slip-bobber -These are great for fishing in deep water or rougher areas of a river. The bobber slips (hence the name) along the fishing line until it hits a stopper you have positioned on the line, giving you control of the length of the fishing line in the water.
  • Leadhead jig -This is the simplest of the three lures. It is simply a weight attached to the top of a hook. This lure allows you the most control over the motion of your bait. [source: Scott]


Gather your tackle box, and read on to learn how to best use your equipment.