Whether you prefer to stand on a pier or wade from shore while casting, this article is for you. As water temperatures rise, walleye push into shallow water to spawn and eventually feed on baitfish. Baitfish are predators themselves and begin to feed on algae and bacteria once the water warms. This is an excellent opportunity to catch active walleye without leaving the dock. Typically, once the water hits around 50 or 60 degrees it’s the best time to catch these fish. It’s not uncommon, though, to catch fish outside of these temperatures.
The most common rod choice is a 6-7 foot, medium or medium light with a fast action. The line weight will depend on the clarity of the water you are fishing and the size of the lure you are using. Usually, anything between six and ten-pound test is good for this setup. Your reel should be between a 2000-3000 size, as well.
When selecting lures, remember to think of the size of fish you are after. If you want to catch walleyes in general and any “keeper” is good enough, baits like a 4.5” Bomber Long A or Bay Rat Long Shallow Diver are excellent choices. If you are specifically trophy fishing for big walleye, selecting a lure like Rapala Original Floaters in the F13 or F18 is a great option. When using floating stickbaits like these at night, try reeling at different speeds. Typically, a slower retrieve works best, but sometimes only a fast retrieve will work. Ripping the bait at varying speeds can also give it a different action and will entice fish to bite.
Finding these fish can be as easy as looking at a map or as difficult as fishing the entire lake to find them. Most anglers stay tight-lipped with their casting spots for walleye. When looking at a lake from a map or when first arriving, try to find the sandbars, points, drop offs or creek channels. These are going to be the most common places to find walleye feeding at night. Also, shallow sand flats will have some walleye move through, however, this is only common when the water temperatures are very low. Make sure, when arriving at your spot, to keep flashlights or small lights off the water. While some lights are designed to attract baitfish which attract the walleye, small lights can spook walleye from moving in close enough to be caught.
Whether you are new to fishing or are as close to being a pro as it gets, nighttime walleye casting from shore is a great way to fill your freezer without having to fill the boat up with a bunch of gas. Remember to keep it simple and try to scout out your spots prior to heading out. Also, check your state regulations to make sure walleye are in season as many states close walleye season during the spawning stretch. Be safe and give night time walleye fishing a try this season.