How to Catch Walleyes at Night

by Thomas Ganio
Walleyes are nocturnal feeders and become more active after the sunsets.

Walleyes are nocturnal feeders and become more active after the sunsets.

Walleyes are a "game fish" that thrive in rivers and lakes in the United States. Catching a walleye can seem challenging at night, but these fish actually feed more heavily after dark. Fishermen catch walleyes with a variety of methods, such as lures and crank bait, but the most popular method is using live bait. When fishing at night, use various tackle and techniques, while staying patient for a walleye bite.

Night Fishing for Walleyes

Take advantage of the night. Late spring and early summer are the best times to go walleye fishing. Walleyes are nocturnal feeders and tend to cruise the shoreline for bait fish. As darkness sets in, walleyes will move from the deep water to shallower regions along the shore to feed. Walleyes have great vision, which enables this fish to see bait as far as 15 feet, even at night. A walleye makes use of its excellent night vision in order to trap prey.

Work areas close to shore; cast your line in weedy areas as well as around rocks. It is only when the weather has cooled down that walleye will go to the shallower parts of the water, where this fish takes advantage of the cover of darkness to feed on minnows and bait fish.

Use a lantern or a flashlight to provide light when after walleye. This is important, as the eyes of the fish glow in the presence of a light source. Cast your fishing line 10 feet from shore and let the line drift. Because of the darkness, seeing where your line lands is impossible, so make an estimate of the distance using the sound of the splash.

Take advantage of spring, as this time is ideal to catch walleyes. In spring, adult walleyes reproduce on sandy bottoms where the water circulation oxygenates eggs. During this period, walleyes become aggressive and strike almost any lure or bait thrown their way, making catching walleyes easier. A good technique is to cast fishing lures onto the sandy bottoms where walleyes hover and slowly retrieve the line.

Adjust to winter conditions, as the cold temperatures make walleyes less active. During this period, walleye move to deeper water and hover at the bottom. As such, it is a good idea to drop jigs during winter to catch walleye. Anglers will need to drop a jig within the a few feet of a walleye in order to attract the fish's attention.

Feel when a walleye has hold of your bait. Hold the fishing line with your index finger and thumb, when the line straightens and moves between your fingers, a walleye is on the line. Set the hook as soon as the walleye runs off with the bait.

Items you will need

  • Lantern or a flashlight

Tips

  • Place your fishing rod next to a lantern, if tired of holding the rod within your hands. Observe the rod for wobbling and shaking, as this is an indication that a fish is on the line.
  • Hot weather can cause walleye to frequent deep water, particularly during daytime.

About the Author

Thomas Ganio began writing in 2006 for the "Northern Virginia Daily," a community newspaper in Richmond, Va. As a freelance writer, he has also contributed to "The Maryland Springs Gazette" and the Parks and Recreation Department of Richmond County, Md. Ganio holds a Bachelor of Arts in social science and English from James Madison University.

Photo Credits

  • Tom Brakefield/Stockbyte/Getty Images