What Fish Do Walleye Eat?
Walleye, known for their impressive size and delicious flavor, are highly sought after by anglers across North America. To successfully target walleye, it is essential to understand their feeding habits and the types of fish they prefer as prey.
1. Yellow Perch
Yellow perch make up a significant portion of a walleye’s diet. These small fish are abundant in many freshwater lakes and rivers, making them an easily accessible food source for walleye. With their vibrant yellow coloration and distinct vertical stripes, yellow perch attract the attention of predatory walleyes.
2. Cisco (Lake Herring)
Cisco or lake herring also rank high on a walleye’s menu. They are often found in deep-water habitats where walleyes tend to roam during certain periods of the year. Cisco have silvery bodies that reflect light well, making them an easy target for hunting nocturnal predators like the walleye.
The whitefish is another common prey species for hungry walleyes. Known for their mild taste and flaky texture when cooked, whitefish are typically found in colder waters such as Great Lakes regions and northern Canada – favorite hangouts for this popular gamefish.
In areas with shad populations, such as large reservoirs or river systems connected to major waterways like the Mississippi River Basin or Tennessee River System; these baitfish become prime targets for hungry walleye looking to pack on some weight before winter arrives.
5. Alewife (Gizzard Shad)
Alewives or gizzard shads serve as another important food source for walleye. These oily fish are rich in nutrients and often found in open waters, especially in large lakes such as the Great Lakes and their tributaries. Walleyes actively pursue alewives during feeding frenzies.
Smelt, with their elongated bodies and silver scales, are a preferred meal for walleye throughout the year. These small prey fish gather in dense schools near shorelines during spawning runs, attracting hungry walleyes looking to satisfy their voracious appetite.
Walleyes have a particular fondness for various minnow species like fathead minnows or emerald shiners. Found in abundance across many freshwater systems, these tiny swimmers catch the attention of walleye due to their quick movements and shiny appearance.
To consistently hook into walleye while fishing, it is crucial to understand their dietary preferences when selecting lures or live bait presentations. Yellow perch, cisco (lake herring), whitefish, shad, alewife (gizzard shad), smelt, and various minnow species all make up a significant portion of a walleye’s diet.
By incorporating knowledge about these commonly consumed fish into your angling strategy – whether you’re jigging over submerged structures or trolling along drop-offs – you can increase your chances of enticing those trophy-sized walleyes to bite!