Walleye fishing at night is an exciting and rewarding experience that offers a unique challenge for walleye anglers. While walleye are known for their elusive nature, they become more active and aggressive during the nighttime hours.
Night fishing for walleye provides several benefits, including less competition from other anglers, cooler temperatures, and the opportunity to catch larger fish. During the warmest months of the year, the best time to catch walleyes at night is in lakes or rivers with very clear water. Additionally, walleye are more likely to be found in shallow water at night, making them easier to target.
In this complete guide, we will explore how to catch walleye at night and the essential gear needed for night fishing. So let’s dive in and learn how to catch your next trophy walleye at night like a pro!
Nighttime Walleye Behavior
Feeding Habits of Walleye After Dark
Walleye have a natural preference for low-light conditions, as their eyes are highly sensitive to bright light. This makes them more active and aggressive during the nighttime hours.
The impact of moon phases on walleye activity is significant. During a full moon, hungry walleye tend to feed more actively, while during a new moon, they may be less active. Understanding these patterns can help you plan your night freshwater fishing trips more effectively.
Locating Walleye Hotspots at Night
Identifying structure and cover is crucial when targeting walleye at night. Look for areas with submerged vegetation, rocky points, drop-offs, and underwater structures such as sunken logs or brush piles.
Utilizing electronics such as fish finders and depth finders can greatly enhance your ability to locate walleye. These tools can help you identify underwater structures, locate schools of baitfish, and determine the depth at which hungry walleye are feeding.
Best Gear for Fishing for Walleye at Night
Choosing the Right Fishing Rod and Reel
Optimal rod length and action for walleye fishing at night are typically between six and seven feet with medium to medium-light action. This allows for better sensitivity and control when fishing in low-light conditions.
Selecting a reel with a smooth drag system is essential for fighting and landing walleye. Look for a reel with a high-quality drag system that can handle the power and speed of these active fish.
Best Tackle for Night Walleye Fishing
Jigs and soft plastics are highly effective for night walleye fishing. Choose jigs in weights ranging from 1/8 to 1/2 ounce, depending on the depth and current conditions. Pair them with soft plastic bodies in natural colors such as white, chartreuse, or black.
Crankbaits and jerkbaits can also be productive lures for night walleye fishing. Opt for lures with a slow, subtle action and natural color patterns that mimic the prey of walleye.
Live bait options such as nightcrawlers, minnows, or leeches can be highly effective for enticing walleye to bite. Experiment with different bait options to see what works best in your fishing location.
Techniques for Catching Walleye at Night
Slow and Steady Retrieve
A controlled presentation is crucial when fishing for walleye at night. Use a slow and steady retrieve to mimic the natural movement of prey and entice walleye to strike.
Using a slow-rolling technique with jigs can be highly effective. Cast your jig out, let it sink to the desired depth, and then retrieve it slowly, keeping it just off the bottom.
Vertical jigging is a popular technique for targeting walleye at night. Drop your jig straight down to the desired depth and then lift it up and down in a rhythmic motion. This mimics the movement of injured baitfish and can trigger a walleye’s predatory instincts.
Tips for jigging success at night include varying your jigging motion, experimenting with different jig colors and sizes, and paying attention to subtle strikes or changes in line tension.
Trolling for Walleye After Dark
Trolling can be an effective technique for covering more water and locating active walleye at night. Choose the right trolling speed and depth based on the location and conditions.
Using planer boards can help you cover a wider area and keep your lines spread out, increasing your chances of hooking into a walleye. Experiment with different trolling speeds and lure depths to find what works best.
Walleye Night Fishing Tips
Use Proper Lighting
The importance of a headlamp or flashlight cannot be overstated. These tools will not only help you navigate in the dark but also allow you to see your fishing line and detect subtle strikes.
Using glow-in-the-dark lures and bait can be highly effective for attracting walleye in low-light conditions. These lures emit a subtle glow that can make them more visible and enticing to walleye, especially in deep water.
Pay Attention to Water Temperature
Understanding the impact of water temperature on walleye behavior is crucial. Walleye are cold-water fish and tend to be more active in cooler temperatures. Pay attention to water temperature changes and adjust your fishing strategy accordingly.
Adjusting your fishing strategy based on temperature changes may involve targeting different depths, using different lures or bait, or changing your fishing location.
Stay Patient and Persistent
The need for perseverance when night fishing cannot be emphasized enough. Walleye can be elusive and unpredictable, so it’s important to stay focused and keep trying different techniques and locations.
Experimenting with different techniques and locations is key to finding success. Don’t be afraid to try new things and adapt your approach based on the conditions and feedback you’re receiving from the fish.
Night fishing for walleye can be a thrilling and rewarding experience. By understanding walleye behavior, using the right gear and techniques, and staying patient and persistent, you can increase your chances of catching these elusive, active fish. So grab your best bait, lure, and other gear, head out to your favorite walleye fishing spot, and enjoy the excitement of night fishing for walleye.
FAQs About Walleye Fishing at Night
What Time of Night Is Best for Walleye Fishing?
The best time to fish for walleye at night is typically from dusk until midnight. During the summer, the best time to catch walleye is at night, when the water is the warmest. Most of the time, these conditions occur from late June to the end of August.
What Color Lure for Walleye at Night?
Choosing a lure with a fluorescent color can be a smart move. In the dark, these bright, eye-catching colors stand out and draw the attention of curious walleye that are hiding in the shadows. Fluorescent lures have a bright flash of color that stands out in the dark. This makes them look like the confused prey that walleye often go after when the moon is out.
What Is the Best Bait for Walleye at Night?
When night fishing for walleye, shallow-running crankbaits are one of the best choices because they let you cover a lot of water and find the fish quickly. You can start in about 20 feet of water and work your way up to shallower water.