Walleye

Walleye

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Appearance

The walleye is the most sought after fish in Minnesota and is the state fish. Each year anglers just in Minnesota keep about 3.4 million walleyes. The fish is named after its pearlescent eye, which is caused by a layer of pigment that helps it feed and see in dark, murky water or at night. The close cousin of the walleye is the sauger, which does not have as wide of distribution. To tell the two fish apart look at the tip of the lower part of the tail. That part of the tail is white on a walleye, but not on a sauger. Walleyes range in color from a golden yellow to dark olive drab and can be most easily distinguished from similar species by the lack of spots on the dorsal fin and the white tip on the lower part of the tail. Anglers seek to catch these fish because of the thick, white filets and the amazing taste of walleye.

Habitat

Walleyes are not usually found on smaller ponds as they prefer a deeper, cooler water. During the day rocks, logs, weed beds or anything that can provide shade are where you will find most walleye. But if those options are not available they will head toward deeper water. Walleyes have very sensitive eyes so they tend to stay in water that is between 15-30 feet. They will come shallower at nighttime but during the day they tend to stay deeper.

What They Eat

Walleyes are voracious predators and will take any opportunity given to feed. They will seek their food out and are most active at night. Their main diet is fish such as minnows, smelt, or any abundant baitfish in the lake. They will also feed on aquatic insects, crayfish and worms.

Methods of fishing Walleye

There are many ways to fish for walleye the most common tactic employed by walleye anglers is the use of a minnow, leech or night crawler on a Lindy Rig. The Lindy Rig allows anglers to present live bait at the bottom of the water column but also allows movement of the bait so the fish can get the entire bait before noticing the resistance. Another common tactic is using a round jighead with live bait or a soft plastic. Other methods include trolling or casting crank baits, using a slip-bobber with live bait and slow-rolling a spinner bait in shallow water.

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