Walleye Fishing Tips: Why is it Difficult to Find Success in Wintertime?

Winter Walleye Fishing Cold Water Classics
November 21, 2022

There is a time and place for everything. Most of us enjoy fishing for bass in the spring and summer months, but in the winter, we often turn to walleye fishing.

Winter walleye fishing in the winter is not for novices. It takes patience, concentration, and a very realistic attitude. If you have these things, winter walleye fishing can be exciting and rewarding.

This article will give you some very important tips for winter walleye fishing. Many anglers are hesitant to venture into cold water during the winter months, but with a few simple tips, you can go out and catch a huge limit of walleye, even during the dead of winter.

Where do walleyes go in the winter?

When fishing for walleyes in the winter, I first think about the water. Does the lake have deep holes or drop-offs? If it's a large lake, you may have to travel to find places where the fish congregate. If it's a small lake or pond, you may be able to find spots where the fish gather by themselves.

That doesn’t mean you won’t find any walleyes in the shallows. They will be there too. It’s just that the majority of them will be in the deep areas. The key is to know where to look.

If the lake freezes in winter, you may have to rely on weeds, fallen trees, and other natural structures to locate the fish. If you have an ice fisherman with you, they will know where the walleye are because they will wear the warmest clothing and have the most difficulty keeping their body temperature up.

How to get a walleye bite when it's cold

Wintertime is not the time for rookies to mess with the lake. Lake conditions change dramatically during the cold months, and you must be ready for whatever Mother Nature throws. The first thing you should pay attention to is the temperature of the water.

When the water gets cold, most walleye go into hibernation. They become lethargic and less active. This means they are much more likely to take your bait or lure. You can use this to your advantage by fishing near areas where there is open water. You might have to go ice fishing if the water is very cold. Ice fishing at lake of the woods is one of my favorite winter pastimes.

Choose the right spot.

First, you need to find the right spots. Walleyes are most active around cover, so you'll have the best luck finding a spot with some structure to it, like rocks, reeds, or a dock.

You should also try to find a spot that has a current flowing through it. This helps to keep the water warm and provides a place for the walleyes to hide during the day.

Most walleyes in the winter will be near the drop-offs, where the water is slightly warmer than the rest of the lake. Just remember to check the weather report and adjust your schedule accordingly.

Use the correct bait.

Walleye are aggressive, scavenger-type fish, meaning they will take almost anything moving. Live bait such as shiners, leeches, bloodworms, and artificial lures will get the biggest action from a walleye.

My 5 favorite lures for catching winter walleye are: 

  1. Jigging Rap
  2. Slender Spoon
  3. Buck-Shot Spoon
  4. Rippin’ Rap
  5. Puppet Minnow

Lures are one of the best tools in your tackle bag when fishing for walleye in the winter. They will provide an attractive-looking meal for the walleye while they are picky, giving you the best chance of success.

What do walleye eat in winter

During winter, walleye are often found in deep, icy water. This means they will feed on almost anything that is swimming in the deep parts of the lake or river.

Some of their favorite wintertime meals include bloodworms, crappies, perch, and other species that might roam into their area.

Tips for late winter walleye fishing

Winter Walleye Fishing Man Holding His Catch

Walleye fishing in mid-February is nothing to sneeze at. It's one of the best times of year to catch these feisty little fighters. They've been forced to move up into shallow water, where the ice and snow have melted. This opens up a whole new world of opportunities for walleye anglers.

In the middle of winter, the walleye bite is as good as it gets. If you can find deep, clear water with some structure, you can catch them on just about anything.

Walleye will eat almost anything, so don't limit yourself to traditional walleye lures. Try cut baits, minnows, and even leeches.

If you're going after the big boys, you'll need something bigger than a minnow or a leech, so you might as well go all the way and use a jig or crankbait. Don't forget about live bait, either. Many lakes are still chock full of bluegill, so you can still use those fat, old gill nets you've been hanging up in the garage.

Check the laws in your area before you start chucking lots of live bait into the water. Some states don't allow gill nets so you could end up with a fine.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, fishing for walleye during winter is one of my favorite pastimes. They are aggressive, scavenger-type fish, making them extremely receptive to almost any type of winter lure or bait.

If you find yourself in a location where there is open water and you have some form of cover nearby, you should give it a try. Give yourself the best chance of success by using the right kind of bait and lure.

Keep an eye on the weather report and adjust your schedule accordingly. And finally, don’t forget to have fun winter walleye fishing!

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