How the Walleye Spawn Works

By: Andrew Aguecheek

Where Walleye Spawn

­Walleye spawn occurs in shallow waters­ -- usually from 1 to 20 feet (0.3 to 6.1 meters) in depth and preferably rocky-bottomed areas. They use reefs, gravelly beachfronts and rip-rap used to protect the shoreline from erosion [source: Pitlo]. Rocky, uneven surfaces provide the gestating eggs some protection from predatory fish. The best spawn sites have moderate waves because wave action keeps the gestating eggs oxygenated, clean and free of silt buildup. If no suitable sites are available, walleye may use sandy beaches. Often you'll find them along the northern and eastern shores. They choose those directions to take in the southern and western sunshine in the afternoon, which are the warmest time of day [source: McClelland].

Some walleye spawn in lakes and reservoirs, while others spawn in streams and tributaries. The variation protects the entire school from being wiped out by natural disasters. The stream spawn comes sooner because of the warmer water; it may even begin before the ice is fully thawed [source: Shining Falls Lodge]. Stream-spawning walleye swim upstream as far as they can until they're blocked by a dam, gorge or other obstacle. That's where they congregate for the pre-spawn party [source: McClelland]. Alternately, they'll gather at the mouth of an inlet, and when the females make their appearance, they'll all travel up tributaries to spawn on banks and rocky places [source: Webb].


Lake-spawning walleye typically gather early at a place of sufficient depth and then dart into the shallow water to deposit their eggs [source: Webb].

Female walleye spend most of their time in deep waters -- where there is greater cover and food availability -- and appear just before the nocturnal spawn. Even then, they'll retreat to deeper water in the daytime. When their efforts are complete, they return to deep water to rest [sources: Shining Falls Lodge, Webb]. Stream-spawning walleye often head back to larger bodies of water after the spawn. Males tend to linger in the staging area for a few weeks, and then abandon it once the females have disappeared [source: Pitlo]. The spawn provides ample opportunity for the fisherman who understands walleye habits.

Now you've got all the background information. Read on to learn the tricks of the catch.

AdventureResponsible FishingIce FishingAdventureResponsible FishingFishing PicturesAdventureSnow SportsIntroduction to How Ice Fishing WorksAdventureFish PopulationsHow are fishing reports created?AdventureFish PopulationsHow are fishing quotas set?AdventureResponsible FishingWhy was Alaskan fishing named the most dangerous job in the world?AdventureResponsible FishingHelicopter FishingAdventureResponsible FishingFly FishingAdventureWalleye Fishing TipsIntroduction to Walleye Fishing TechniquesAdventureSalmon Fishing TipsIntroduction to Salmon Fishing TechniquesAdventurePike Fishing TipsIntroduction to Pike Fishing Techniques AdventurePanfishing TipsIntroduction to Crappie Fishing TipsAdventurePanfishing TipsIntroduction to Perch Fishing TipsAdventureTrout Fishing TipsIntroduction to Lake Trout FishingAdventureBass Fishing TipsIntroduction to Bass Fishing SwimbaitsAdventureTrout Fishing TipsIntroduction to River Trout FishingAdventureRedfish Fishing TipsIntroduction to Redfish Fishing TechniquesAdventurePanfishing TipsIntroduction to Bluegill Fishing TipsAdventureTrout Fishing TipsTop 5 Trout Fishing Gear EssentialsAdventureWalleye Fishing TipsIntroduction to Walleye River FishingAdventureResponsible FishingIs sport fishing bad for the environment?AdventureResponsible FishingJet Ski FishingAdventureBass Fishing TipsIntroduction to Top Water Bass FishingAdventureBass Fishing TipsIntroduction to Bass Fishing at NightAdventureSummer Travel Destinations for FamiliesEverything I Need to Know I Learned ... Halibut FishingAdventureSummer Travel Destinations for FamiliesEverything I Need to Know I Learned ... Salmon FishingAdventureTrout Fishing TipsIntroduction to Trout Fishing Lures and BaitsAdventureBass Fishing TipsIntroduction to Barometric Pressure and Bass FishingAdventureResponsible Fishing5 Wackiest Ways to Go FishingAdventureWater Sports5 Tips for Outfitting a Canoe for FishingAdventureResponsible FishingHow to Choose Your Bait when FishingAdventureHiking & CampingHow to Tie Fishing Rods to a Roof RackAdventureCatfishing TipsIntroduction to Catfishing TechniquesAdventureBass Fishing TipsTop 10 Bass Fishing LuresAdventureDisaster ScenariosWhat if I were ice fishing and fell through the ice?AdventureTraditional Hunting MethodsHow Bowfishing WorksAdventureWalleye Fishing TipsWhere Walleye SpawnAdventureFish PopulationsHow Fisheries WorkAdventureSalmon Fishing TipsIntroduction to the Salmon SpawnAdventureResponsible FishingShould fisherman always catch and release?AdventureResponsible FishingCrab BoatAdventureFish PopulationsWhat are fish ladders?AdventureFish PopulationsHow Fish Stocking WorksAdventureResponsible FishingWhy do you need a license to fish?AdventureResponsible FishingHow to Remove a Hook Without Injuring the FishAdventureFish PopulationsWhat's depleting salmon populations?AdventureResponsible FishingDo fish feel pain?AdventureWalleye Fishing TipsTechnique 2: Walleye Fishing With a Planer Board - Walleye Fishing with a Planer Board