The Top Walleye Fishing Bait: Unveiling the Best Options for Success

What is the Best Bait for Walleye Fishing?

Fishing for walleye can be an exhilarating experience, whether you are a seasoned angler or just starting out. But to optimize your chances of success, it’s vital to have the right bait in your arsenal. In this article, we’ll delve into the world of walleye fishing bait and explore some of the best options available.

Understanding Walleye Feeding Habits

Before diving into specific baits, it’s important to understand how walleyes feed.

Walleyes are carnivorous fish known for their nocturnal feeding habits. They primarily rely on their exceptional vision in low-light conditions to hunt down prey. Their diet consists mainly of smaller fish like minnows and shiners but can also include insects and other aquatic organisms.

The Allure of Live Bait

Live bait often proves highly effective when it comes to enticing walleye bites.

1. Minnows: One popular choice is using live minnows as bait – particularly fathead minnows or emerald shiners. Hooking them through the back just behind the dorsal fin allows them to swim freely and appear more natural in water.

  • Tip: Varying hook sizes based on minnow size may increase your chances of success.

2. Nightcrawlers: Another excellent option is nightcrawlers (worms). These versatile creatures can be hooked through either end or threaded onto a harness rig, making them adaptable to various fishing techniques such as jigging or trolling.

Artificial Baits for Walleye

If you prefer not to use live bait or want to experiment with different options, artificial lures can also yield positive results.

1. Jigs: Jigging is a popular technique among walleye anglers, and jigs are versatile baits that can imitate both minnows and insects. Consider using jigs with soft plastic bodies in natural colors like white, chartreuse, or firetiger patterns.

  • Tip: Varying the weight of your jig based on water depth and current conditions will allow you to effectively cover more territory.

2. Crankbaits: Crankbaits are another proven option for enticing walleyes. Select models that mimic the size and color of their natural prey such as perch or shad. Experimenting with diving depths and retrieval speeds can help find what triggers the most strikes under given conditions.

Tips for Choosing the Right Bait

To maximize your chances of success when choosing bait for walleye fishing, keep these factors in mind:

  1. Seasonality: Pay attention to seasonal variations in walleye behavior and feeding preferences – this knowledge can influence your bait selection accordingly.
  2. Lake Conditions: Study the lake’s ecosystem, water clarity, temperature, and structure – all these elements impact which type of bait may prove most effective.
  3. Fishing Technique:Select a bait that complements your preferred fishing technique – whether it be casting, trolling, or vertical jigging.


While the “best” bait for walleye fishing can vary depending on various factors, using live bait such as minnows or nightcrawlers often proves highly productive. Alternatively, artificial baits like jigs and crankbaits offer versatile options that mimic their natural prey. By considering seasonality, lake conditions, and your preferred technique when choosing bait, you’ll be well-equipped to reel in some trophy-worthy walleyes.

Remember: Fishing is not only about the catch but also enjoying nature’s beauty and spending quality time outdoors. Happy fishing!