The Ultimate Walleye Fisherman’s Guide: Best Bait Options Revealed!

What Bait to Use for Walleye Fishing: A Comprehensive Guide


Walleye fishing is a popular sport that requires the right equipment and proper knowledge of walleye behavior. One crucial aspect to master is choosing the right bait, as it can significantly impact your chances of success. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore different types of bait commonly used for walleye fishing, helping you make an informed decision on what bait to use.

1. Live Bait

A) Minnows

Minnows are by far one of the most effective baits when targeting walleye. These small fish naturally attract walleye due to their movement and scent in the water. When using minnows as bait, it’s recommended to hook them through their lips or dorsal fin using a size 4-6 hook for optimal presentation.

B) Leeches

Leeches are another popular live bait option when targeting walleye. Their natural undulating motion entices these predatory fish, making them hard to resist. Hook your leeches through their sucker segment or near the tail with a size 8-10 hook for maximum effectiveness.

C) Nightcrawlers

Nightcrawlers are readily available and affordable live baits that work exceptionally well for catching walleye during certain seasons. Thread them onto a hook (size 4-6) in a way that leaves some dangling off, giving them lifelike movement underwater.

2. Artificial Baits

A) Jigs

Jigs are versatile artificial baits widely used by anglers targeting various fish species, including walleye. Choose jigs weighing between 1/8 and 1/4 ounces, and opt for colors that imitate the prey walleye feed on in your specific fishing location. Add a soft plastic tail or live bait (like minnows) to enhance its effectiveness.

B) Crankbaits

Crankbaits are effective at attracting aggressive walleye, particularly when they are feeding near the water’s surface. Opt for medium-sized crankbaits with lifelike swimming actions and natural color patterns. Experiment with various depths until you find the sweet spot where active walleye are lurking.

C) Spinnerbaits

Spinnerbaits combine flash and vibration to attract nearby fish, making them an excellent choice for catching walleye. Choose spinnerbaits weighing around 1/8 ounce, featuring blades that spin easily at slower retrieval speeds. Bright or metallic-colored skirts can help increase visibility in murky waters.

3. Soft Plastic Baits

A) Swimbaits

Swimbaits mimic small fish perfectly and are highly effective when targeting large trophy walleye. Choose swimbait sizes between 4-6 inches and match them to the local baitfish species’ coloration for optimal results.

B) Grubs

Grubs are soft plastic baits shaped like worms or insects, which work well when tipped on jigs or used alone with light jig heads (around 1/16 ounce). Select grub colors based on water clarity; lighter shades in clear water and darker hues in murkier conditions.


Choosing the right bait plays a crucial role in successful walleye fishing trips. Whether opting for live bait like minnows, leeches, or nightcrawlers; artificial baits such as jigs, crankbaits, or spinnerbaits; or soft plastic baits like swimbaits and grubs, understanding the behavior of walleye and their preferred prey can greatly improve your chances of reeling in a trophy catch. Experiment with different bait types, sizes, and colors to find what works best in your fishing location. Remember to comply with local regulations regarding bait usage and enjoy the thrill of walleye fishing!