Guide To The Secrets Of Walleye Fishing In Minnesota
Walleye, Sauger & Saugeye
Walleye prefer moderately deep lakes with gravel, rock or sandy bottoms. It is found primarily in cold water lakes but has proven to survive in warmer impoundments. Ice fishing lakes can be found across the state. It is prized for its great tasting filets. Click here to learn all about walleye fishing.
Minnesota is renowned for its walleye fishing, with anglers flocking to its lakes and rivers in search of these prized game fish. Walleye are highly sought-after for their delicious taste and challenging nature, providing anglers with exhilarating fishing experiences.
In addition to walleye, Minnesota is home to two related species: sauger and saugeye. Sauger are often found in the same habitats as walleye and closely resemble them, but they have distinct markings, including dark spots on their dorsal fin. Saugeye, on the other hand, are a hybrid species resulting from the crossbreeding of walleye and sauger. Saugeye combine the best attributes of both species, including the hard-fighting nature of walleye and the adaptability of sauger.
Minnesota's lakes and rivers offer excellent opportunities for walleye fishing. From the expansive waters of Lake Mille Lacs to the smaller, secluded lakes throughout the state, anglers can find prime walleye fishing spots. The Mississippi River, Rainy River, and Lake of the Woods are also renowned for their walleye populations, attracting anglers from near and far.
Minnesota has a proud history of walleye fishing, and the state boasts impressive records for these fish. The state record for walleye stands at an impressive weight, showcasing the potential for landing a trophy-sized fish in Minnesota's waters. Anglers targeting walleye in the state have the opportunity to challenge these records and aim for their personal best.
When targeting walleye, anglers employ various techniques such as trolling, casting, or jigging. Live bait, such as minnows or leeches, is a popular choice, as are artificial lures that mimic the movement of baitfish. Anglers often focus their efforts around structure and cover, such as weed lines, rock piles, or submerged points, as these are preferred habitats for walleye.
Whether you're fishing in a pristine lake or a mighty river, the thrill of hooking into a walleye in Minnesota is unmatched. Anglers can experience the excitement of reeling in these elusive fish, savoring the delicious rewards of a successful catch. With its abundant lakes, rivers, and impressive state records, Minnesota is a premier destination for walleye fishing enthusiasts seeking unforgettable angling adventures.
Walleye, Sauger & Saugeye Fishing Lakes
Residents of MN are very fortunate to have excellent walleye fishing throughout the state. Many of the smaller lakes have healthy populations of walleye as do the vast majority of larger impoundments including Big Stone Lake, Cass Lake, Kabetogama Lake, Lac Qui Parle Lake, Lake Bemidji, Lake Mille Lacs, Lake Minnetonka, Lake Minnewaska, Lake of the Woods, Lake Pepin, Lake Traverse, Lake Vermilion, Lake Winnibigoshish, Leech Lake, Lower Red Lake, Otter Tail Lake, Pelican Lake, Rainy Lake and Upper Red Lake. Rivers flowing to and from many of these lakes also have a few walleye for the persistent anglers.
World record: 25 lbs 0 oz
State Record: 17 lbs 8 oz
World record: 17 lbs 7 oz
State Record: 6 lbs 2 oz
World record: 15 lbs 6 oz
State Record: 9 lbs 13 oz
Click the images and links above for species details.
Top lures for walleye in Minnesota
Jigs with a variety of trailers and bait work well in virtually any depth water. When walleyes are shallow, spinnerbaits, small crankbaits and rip baits are the often very productive. As they move deeper, spoons are ideal for active walleye. Jigs and ice jigs are very productive when ice fishing. Understanding the seasonal movements of walleyes improves your odds of selecting the right lures for conditions on local waters.
Minnesota State Walleye, Sauger & Saugeye Records
The state record walleye was caught out of the Seagull River.
The state record sauger came from the Mississippi River.
The state record saugeye was taken out of the Mississippi River.
Fishing For Walleye
This toothy fish will eat virtually anything it can catch and get in its mouth. They prefer small fish and will eat crustaceans, worms and insects. They tend to be somewhat wary and prefer the safety of deeper darker water. Trolling for walleye with deep diving crankbaits, jerkbaits, spinners and live bait provides a way to cover vast areas and locate concentrations of fish. Use of planer boards allows anglers to cover water out both sides of the boat while trolling. Try fishing for walleye from sundown to midnight, particularly during the heat of summer.
Walleye spawn in spring and when they have the option will choose to migrate from the lake up into feeder streams to spawn. If this option is not available they seek out shallow bars or shoals with clean bottom surfaces near deep water.
Fishing For Sauger
Closely related to the walleye and similar in appearance, sauger are generally smaller than walleye, reaching 4 to 5 pounds (or more) and up to about 20 inches. Often found in muddier rivers, it thrives in larger, silty lakes. They spawn in the shallows at night, without creating or guarding specific nests.
Fishing For Saugeye
This hybrid is created by mating sauger with walleye. The walleye influence allows the hybrids to grow larger than sauger, often to sizes equaling walleye. Saugeye tend to survive best in turbid/silty water and are caught in the same general areas and habitat populated by walleye and sauger.
Minnesota walleye spawn in spring and when they have the option will choose to migrate from the lake up into feeder streams to spawn. If this option is not available they seek out shallow bars or shoals with clean bottom surfaces near deep water.
Watch this video for walleye tips and tactics.
Also find information about walleye, sauger or saugeye fishing in these states.
Learn the migration patterns of walleye
Walleye become active in spring and begin the spawning process in medium-depth water. As summer arrives they move to deeper, cooler water. In fall walleye migrate into shallower water again and feed aggressively preparing for their move to deeper water where they will spend winter.