The Ultimate Walleye Fishing Gear Guide
Before going into Walleye fishing gear let me tell you about Walleye Fishing. I started fishing for Walleye during my first fishing trip to Canada and it is by far my favorite all around fish. Walleye will put up a great fight, they are excellent to eat, in Canada they are plentiful, and they are cool looking fish with cat like teeth.
Every Walleye fisherman will tell you about their best Walleye fishing gear. They are all right and all wrong because what works today might not work tomorrow, so before investing in a ton of gear learn about Walleye and their behaviors and make sure you have enough in your tackle box to try out different things and see what works best for you.
Different fishing conditions require different approaches
A tea stained lake on a cloudy and windy day vs a clear lake on a sunny calm day are two different fishing environments. The differences environments or time of the year cause fish to be docile, aggressive, suspended deep, or shallow and near the shore. You’ll need fishing gear to find where they are and see what the Walleye are interested in on a specific day, lake, for certain weather, etc.
On top of that there are also different sized gear for your fishing needs. In order to understand the importance of different size fishing reels I’ll start with an exaggeration to give you a visual.
Imagine trying to reel in a grown shark with a kids fishing pole. Assuming you are strong enough to stay put and hold the rod. The rod would likely snap in half and the reel has no chance in pulling the shark in your direction. This is a very clear example of having a rod and reel too small.
On the other hand imagine having a steel cable attached to a ship with a hydraulic pulley to reel in fish. Let’s assume a small bass gets on the hook. You won’t have a clue it’s there and it’s obviously way more than what you need and overkill for fishing for bass.
Both examples are extreme, yet they illustrate a point that you need to use the right fishing gear for the type of fish being targeted. It is not so obvious when looking for gear to differentiate between two similar sized fish.
We will help you get all of the right gear necessary to have a successful Walleye fishing trip even if it means trying out different lures, jigs, baits, or techniques.
Best Walleye Fishing Gear
Every Walleye fisherman needs a good fishing rod an reel. Sure you can get away with a $19.99 special at Walmart, but if you are planning to Walleye fish for many years then invest in the best Walleye fishing gear you can afford.
Walleye are typically in 1-20 pound range and put up a good fight, which means you need a equipment that will stand up to the fight yet sensitive enough to determine when you have a bite quick enough to set the hook
Walleye Fishing Rod –
6-7’ Spinning rod
Medium light to Medium action
Made with Carbon Fiber or Graphite
Don’t use fiberglass
The 6-7’ medium light to medium action rod will give you enough length to get out away from the boat and short enough to provide the right amount of sensitivity to quickly identify when there is a Walleye biting on the other end. Speaking of sensitivity it is very important to buy either graphite or carbon fiber rods. They are more expensive than fiberglass, but they are much more sensitive and can make the difference between fishing and catching.
Walleye Fishing Reel –
Small to Medium sized reel (30, 35, 40 size)
Each manufacturer uses a loose standard numbering system for sizing fishing reels. The numbers start at 10 for the smallest and go up to 30,000 for the largest. The problem is that some manufacturers will use 10 for the smallest and another will use 1000 designating the same size reel. It gets a bit confusing so we included a chart below to make it clear.
I prefer using a 30 or 3000 spinning reel. It’s big enough to power in a large walleye, but small enough to provide a good fight even with smaller fish. I’ve also used a 40 or 4000 size reel for a considerable amount of time, however it just seemed too big. The smaller fish didn’t present much of a challenge and the additional weight makes a difference when you hold the fishing pole for 8 hours on the lake.
Go with a 30/3000 for general Walleye fishing and you can’t go wrong. It’s my preferred fishing reel that I use 95% of the time. If you are only targeting the monster Walleye then bump that up to a 40/4000.
Walleye Fishing Line –
I recommend 6 lb test line. Its about as light as you want to go, but still enough strength to bring in the largest walleyes as long as you have your drag set properly and know how to bring in a fish. If you want to be safe with larger fish then bump up the test to 8lb, but I wouldn’t go any larger than that.
Mono vs Braid is a topic of great debate and I won’t try to sell you on either one of them. i would suggest trying both and see what you like better. It boils down to preference and there are plenty of discussions about which one is better. Who cares, just try and decide yourself.
Walleye Tackle Box –
I like to think I’m a practical fisherman when it comes to fishing gear. Some people have suitcase sized tackle boxes. I prefer a small tackle box that stores the essential items such as pliers, extra fishing line, and enough jigs, lures, and bait varieties to try in case the walleye are not jumping into the boat.
Once you have the basic Walleye fishing gear you are now ready to jump into the wide world of tackle. Specifically what tackle you need for Walleye Fishing. Our Walleye Lures resource page will give you the knowledge required to make smart buying decisions to fill up your tackle box.