In the northern half of the United States, fishing for walleye is a very popular activity. This is true, I believe, because the walleye can be a very challenging fish to catch, and is also delicious. Walleye is one of the most popular fresh water species for eating. A shore lunch featuring walleye is a very difficult meal to beat, no matter what type of food it may be compared to. When many people think of the term ‘walleye’ they immediately think of Canada, but the truth is that walleye are found all throughout the northern half of the United States as well.
So where do walleye get their name? Simple. The name ‘walleye’ comes from the fact that their eyes reflect light, much the way a cats eyes do. This is the result of a light gathering layer within the eye that allows the walleye to see well in low light conditions. Obviously, because Mother Nature gave the walleye this equipment, they are more apt to feed at night. As a matter of fact many anglers attempt to catch walleyes at night, although the cover of darkness is by no means a must for catching walleye. Being able to see well in low light conditions means that on many instances, walleye can be found in deep water, where there is less light.
Seeing as how they are literally designed to see well in low light conditions, these are the best condition to catch these fish. Fishing is generally better on overcast days and when the water is choppy. When the water is very choppy the walleye can see quite well, due the design of their eyes. Here’s an interesting little trivia fact for you. Did you know that the walleye is the state fish of Minnesota? If you’re lucky that might get you a pie piece in trivial pursuit some day…
Walleye are fished for in a variety of ways. Casting or trolling with spinners or minnow-imitating plugs is always a good bet. Special harness rigs of spinners and beads, with a worm attached are often trolled. Jigs, either traditional or bucktails, are a favorite tactic of many anglers, and some even tip their jig with a live minnow. Another wonderful technique is to find a tributary stream that feeds a lake or river that contains walleye. In the spring and fall, walleye will enter these streams to feed and spawn. Using a gang hook rig baited with a live worm is a great technique for walleye at these times of year. The angler simply bounces the live worm rigged on a set of gang hooks along the bottom as it floats down the stream. The techniques can be deadly.
However a person chooses to fish for walleye the point is that the walleye is an incredibly popular fish to try to catch. Whether it be sport or the dinner table seems to make little difference to the seasoned walleye angler. They simply love the challenge of catching them. The people of Minnesota would obviously agree, seeing as how they made the walleye the state fish.