Expert Tips: How to Fish for Walleye Using Leeches

How to Fish with Leeches for Walleye: A Comprehensive Guide


Fishing with leeches is a tried and tested method that has proven effective when targeting walleye. These elusive freshwater fish are known for their fantastic taste and the thrill they provide during the catch. In this guide, we will delve into the nitty-gritty of fishing with leeches for walleye, covering everything from preparing your gear to landing that prized catch.

Gearing Up for Success

When it comes to fishing with leeches for walleye, having the right gear can make all the difference. Let’s take a closer look at what you’ll need:

Tackle Selection

Choosing appropriate tackle is crucial to optimize your chances of success. Opt for a medium-action spinning rod paired with a quality reel capable of holding 10-12 lb test monofilament line.

Setting Up Your Rig

To fish effectively with leeches, set up a slip-bobber rig or Lindy rig. Attach an appropriate sized slip sinker above a swivel on your mainline, followed by an 18-24 inch fluorocarbon leader terminating in a size 6 or 8 live bait hook.

Bait Selection and Preparation

Select healthy and lively leeches from reputable bait shops or acquire them yourself using proper collection techniques. Keep them cool (around 45°F) in moist bedding such as damp moss before use.

Finding Prime Walleye Spots

Now that you’re geared up let’s explore how to locate prime spots where walleye tend to congregate:

Understanding Their Behavior Patterns

Walleye are often found near underwater structures such as drop-offs, rocky points, weed beds, or submerged trees. They tend to be more active during low light conditions like dawn or dusk.

Utilizing Electronics

Invest in a fish finder or use a smartphone app with GPS mapping capabilities to locate promising underwater structures and potential walleye hotspots. These tools can give you a significant advantage in finding their hiding spots.

Presentation Techniques

Once you have identified the perfect spot for walleye, it’s time to perfect your presentation techniques:

Casting and Retrieving

Cast your baited rig towards the targeted area while allowing it to sink slowly. Maintain contact with the bottom as you retrieve by periodically lifting and dropping your rod tip to impart subtle movement on the leech.

Suspension Under Slip-Bobber

If using a slip-bobber rig, adjust its stopper knot so that your bait hovers just above the structure where walleye are lurking. This technique allows for precise depth control while keeping your offering in front of these cunning predators.

Mastering Hook Sets and Landing Walleye

Exercising precision during hook sets is crucial when fishing with leeches for walleye:

Patience is Key

Resist the urge to set the hook prematurely when detecting any nibbles or bumps. Allow enough time (around 5-10 seconds) for proper hook penetration before setting firmly but smoothly.

Fighting and Landing Walleye Properly

Once hooked up, play the fish patiently without applying excessive pressure on light tackle setups. Keep tension on your line at all times while skillfully maneuvering it closer until you can net or lip grip this prized catch safely.

Taking Care of Your Catch Responsibly

Remember that responsible fishing involves proper catch and release practices or ensuring the fish is kept fresh for consumption. Take great care when handling walleye, removing hooks gently and releasing them unharmed or preserving them properly if you plan to keep any within fishing regulations.


Fishing with leeches for walleye can be a thrilling experience that yields great results if done correctly. By employing the right gear, locating prime spots, utilizing effective presentation techniques, mastering hook sets, and practicing responsible catch and release procedures, you increase your chances of a successful day on the water. Enjoy this exciting angling adventure while respecting nature’s bounty!