Top 6 Spring Walleye Baits
Spring is a magical time of year. Old man winter slowly releases his grip on the Midwestern part of the United States as temperatures begin to rise. For anglers this can only mean one thing, it’s fishing time!
Walleyes are highly sought out due to their delicious meat and their trophy status amongst Midwest anglers. There are many ways to catch these famed fish - this article will give you some insight on Top Baits and Tactics to catch your next spring walleye!
Photo by: Ben Royce
The infamous Rapala Rippin’ Rap is one of my favorite ways to catch spring walleyes. The tight wobble and loud rattle of this bait allows bottom dwelling walleyes to home in easily on your lure. This bait is great on flats making long casts and should be fished with a variance of 6”-10” rips off the bottom. The fish typically pin the bait to bottom and you will hook them when you rip up.
Blade Baits have been around for a long time and are a staple in cold water for many species. Early in the spring walleyes are lethargic and the super tight vibration and lack of sound on a blade bait can drive them wild. This bait is effective just about anywhere but truly shines on flats. It should be fished with small hops around 4-6” as the fish are a bit more finicky in early spring.
Jigging Baits are deadly baits year-round, but certainly have their place in your spring arsenal. Some jigging Baits you may recognize are the Rapala Jigging Rap and the Eurotackle Z- Darter. These Baits are unique as they can be casted and jigged back to the boat and fished vertically. They are effective in many areas due to their versatility.
This is probably the most popular lure in the article due to its ease of use. A lead or tungsten jig is usually rigged with a Fathead Minnow or Plastic bait of some sort. This bait is effective when slowly worked across flats or around rocks- usually the most effective technique is a slow dragging action mixed with some pops and light jigging. You will feel a light bump when the fish picks your jig up off bottom.
Jerk baits tend to be underutilized by many walleye anglers because of their size and the skill required to fish them. They are actually easier than most think. Jerk baits can be trolled or casted; however, we will focus on casting here. Jerk baits are great for spring due to their versatility. Jerk baits are fished with a twitch-pause-twitch-pause cadence. When the water is cold and fish are lethargic - you will want to make longer pauses between the twitches. This can be a deadly night fishing technique. There’s no mistaking the bit on these baits, just twitch, pause and Hold on!
Live bait rigs come in many different forms, but essentially, they all do the same thing. My favorite set up consists of a 1/8 oz to 1/4 Oz Texas weight on the mainline which is then tied to a barrel swivel. You then add a 2-3 ft Fluorocarbon leader down to #2 octopus hook. Hooks come in many different colors which can be effective as walleyes tend to target bright colors. This is a great beginner’s technique as it requires a simple slow dragging technique. You may feel a slight bump or slack line when a walleye picks up your bait.
Walleyes are a ton of fun to catch in the spring and they make GREAT table fare. As you can see above there are a lot of fun ways to catch Walleyes, so get out there and give it your best- you might just come home with your next trophy or at least a fantastic spring dinner.