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Walleye is one of the most popular species among anglers in both Quebec and Ontario. Find out what Claude Bissonnette, Hunting and Fishing Category Manager at SAIL, has to say about the best gear for walleye to maximize your chances of making a catch.
In this article, you will learn more about:
The walleye is known for the brilliant colour of its scales and its white and flaky flesh, appreciated by those with gourmet tastes. It measures, on average, between 15 and 20 inches (38 and 50 cm) and weighs between 5 and 10 lb (2 and 5 kg). It is one of the most common fish in the lakes and rivers of Quebec and Ontario, which makes it very accessible.
The start of walleye fishing season, around mid-May (depending on the area), coincides with the opening of outfitters in Quebec and Ontario. You can also find it in national parks, regional parks or wildlife reserves that offer stays and packages for one or more days, as well as boat rentals for walleye fishing.
The intensity of the colour of the walleye varies according to its environment. It is brighter in turbid waters, paler in clear waters. Its body is generally olive brown with small golden spots on its sides. It has large silver eyes, two distinct dorsal fins, the first high and spiny, the second with soft rays, as well as a white spot on the lower part of its tail. Do not confuse it with the sauger, a generally smaller fish with rough cheeks and black spots on its dorsal fin.
The equipment required to fish for walleye varies according to the fishing technique used and consists of a rod and reel, fishing line, lures, hooks and live or artificial bait.
Look for a 6 to 7-foot (1.8 to 2.1-meter) medium-rigid action light spinning rod with a reel that fits well with the rod and is a size 2000 to 4000.
Walleye can be fished using fresh, live worms for trolling and jigging.
If you want to turn to artificial baits, choose small hard baits, plastic larvae imitations or soft plastic worms, advises the specialist.
Trolling lures are crankbaits and jerkbaits. There are floating models, suspended models and models for greater depths ranging from 10 to 20 feet (3 to 6 meters) deep. Choose lures with a long lip to get them down deeper, where the walleye schools are usually found.
Leaded head jigs range from 1/8 ounce to over an ounce and have a soft plastic body that imitates a small fish (swimbait), leech, crayfish or worm. There are many different shapes and colors of plastic lures designed for walleye fishing.
In addition to your fishing licence to have with you at all times, your PFD and insect repellent, Claude Bissonnette suggests bringing a cooler and not a fish chain (especially if it is hot) as well as these other fishing essentials:
Finally, make sure you don’t neglect the right clothing and safety materials by consulting this handy checklist.