Unlocking the Secrets: How to Master Drift Fishing for Walleye

The Ultimate Guide: How to Drift Fish for Walleye

Introduction: The Art of Drift Fishing

Drift fishing has become increasingly popular among anglers targeting walleye. This versatile technique allows you to cover a large area while presenting your bait naturally, increasing the chances of landing that trophy-sized walleye. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the essentials of drift fishing for walleye and help you master this effective method.

Gearing Up for Success

Before embarking on your drift fishing adventure, it’s crucial to gather the right gear:

Fishing Rod and Reel:

Choose a medium-action spinning rod paired with a quality reel capable of holding enough line (6-10 lb test) for long drifts.

Fishing Line:

Opt for low visibility monofilament or fluorocarbon lines in the 8-12 lb range, as they provide excellent sensitivity and strength.

Bait Selection:

Walleye are known to favor live bait such as minnows, leeches, and nightcrawlers. Ensure you have an ample supply before hitting the water.

Selecting Your Drift Area

Identifying productive areas is key to successful drift fishing. Consider these factors when choosing your spot:

Underwater Structures:

Look out for drop-offs, rock piles, submerged vegetation beds or any other structures where walleye might seek shelter or ambush prey.

Current Breaks:

Walleye often congregate near current breaks like points or inside turns where they can easily intercept drifting food sources.

Mastering Drifting Techniques

Anchoring Vs. Controlled Drifting

While anchoring can be effective, controlled drifting offers a more dynamic approach. Follow these steps to perfect your drift fishing technique:


Approach your chosen area upwind or upstream and position yourself parallel to the desired path of the drift.

Casting & Presentation:

Cast your bait slightly ahead of the boat’s drift path, allowing it to naturally descend towards the walleye zone. Maintain a semi-slack line for better sensitivity and ensure you stay in contact with your bait at all times.

Working Your Bait

Varying Techniques for Walleye Success

Experimenting with different presentations is crucial when targeting walleye. Try out these techniques until you find what works best:

Bounce Jigging:

Using a jig head, gently bounce it along the bottom as you drift, imitating injured prey that triggers walleye feeding instincts.

Slow Trolling:

Attach a crawler harness or crankbait behind a bottom bouncer weight and troll slowly while keeping constant contact with the bottom.

Tips and Tricks for Drift Fishing Success

Be Stealthy

Walleye have exceptional vision, so avoid making unnecessary noise or sudden movements that might spook them away.

Paying Attention to Weather Conditions

Keep an eye on weather conditions since light-sensitive walleyes tend to bite better under overcast skies or during dawn/dusk periods.

Stay Patient & Adapt

Drift fishing requires patience. Be prepared to adjust your speed, depth, lure choice, and presentation until you find what entices those finicky ‘eyes!

In Conclusion: Mastering Drift Fishing for Walleye Takes Time!

By following the techniques and tips outlined in this guide, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a drift fishing expert. Remember, practice makes perfect! So head out to your favorite walleye waters armed with knowledge, patience, and determination – soon enough, you’ll be reeling in those prized walleye using the art of drift fishing.