Understanding the cyclical patterns of walleye from spawn to post-spawn to summer is key to landing spring walleye.
In the spring or post-spawn, focus on shallow structure between spawning grounds and the best spots in the summer. Find the in-between areas that contain rocky bottoms or emerging vegetation. Walleye can be found throughout these mid-depth food shelfs and move throughout the area depending on numerous variables including weather and water temperature.
A lot of anglers target spring walleyes with a classic jig and minnow presentation, but don’t just rely on old faithful.
FISHING WORLD RECOMMENDS: Berkley Powerbait Maxscent 4"Flatnose Minnow
If you can keep your lure in the strike zone — about a foot off the bottom — casting and trolling lures over structure and drop-offs can pay off with big walleyes!
Versatility is key in getting fish to bite and there are several different lure types that every walleye angler should have in their tackle box.
Crankbaits for Walleye
Crankbaits have been a go-to bait for spring walleye anglers for a long time. Crankbaits allow you to bump the bottom and the action create can incite fish from a long way off. Crankbaits can also be fished faster than other baits, which allows you to cover water more quickly either by casting or trolling.
FISHING WORLD RECOMMENDS: Berkley Money Badger
Lipless Crankbaits for Walleye
These lures can be absolutely fantastic as the water warms and walleye become more active in the late spring. These lures must be fished differently than their normal crank bait cousins. Let the lure sink down to the bottom before ripping it up and then let it fall back down. Repeat this all the way back to the dock, boat or shoreline. Walleye normally bite when the bait is sinking or when it’s on the bottom. Be ready!
FISHING WORLD RECOMMENDS: Rapala Rippin Rap
Swimbaits for Walleye
Extremely versatile, swim baits can be used very fast to cover water or you can slow way down and attract less active walleyes. The most productive way to use a swimbait is with a slow, steady retrieve with some small rod jerks along the way to attack attention.
FISHING WORLD RECOMMENDS: Kailin's Tickle Tail
Jerkbaits for Walleye
Another great lure for covering water during the spring. A slow pull-and-pause retrieve when the water temperatures are cold gives you the best chance at success. When the fish are active, you can move these baits along pretty quickly but always make sure to match your jerk bait running depth to the water you are fishing. Remember you want to be a foot or so off the bottom!
FISHING WORLD RECOMMENDS: Rapala Husky Jerk