At this point in my life, I normally practice catch and release fishing about 99% of the time. My major exception to that rule is walleye fishing, because I really enjoy catching and cooking this particular species of fish!
I’ve been lucky enough to go on serious walleye fishing trips in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Canada, Iowa and an annual Lake Erie fishing adventure in Ohio.
All of those places have taught me different fishing walleye fishing techniques and have opened my eyes to a lot of different types of walleye fishing gear, but there are also a lot of similarities in what works for walleye fishing in all of those areas.
We wanted to share our walleye fishing knowledge with you, so we came up with a list of the Best Walleye Fishing Gear Reviewed. From rods & reels to different types of fishing lures, you should find some great information in here.
And since we all know that fishing trips are a lot more fun when you are catching fish, hopefully this guide to the best walleye fishing gear will help you increase that walleye catch!
Oh, and feel free to share any of those family secret walleye recipes with us as a thank you!
Walleye Fishing Rods
Good walleye fishing starts with the right kind of rod; so we had to start our list of the best walleye fishing gear by helping you pick the right rod.
For most walleye anglers, they are going to be looking for a fishing rod that is between 6 ½ to 7 ½ feet in length, and normally medium-light or medium in power – but occasionally a medium-heavy powered rod can be used for trolling and some other fishing techniques.
The medium-light or medium power is strong enough to handle the walleye tackle you need and sensitive enough to feel the bites. These rods will also not be too strong – so you can limit the amount of times you accidentally jerk the lure out of a walleye’s sensitive mouth when setting the hook.
Shorter rods can be used when jigging, with casting techniques usually performing better with longer rods.
Personal preference for me is 1-piece rods because I like the action, power, and sensitivity they bring to the table, but 2-piece rods can be very successful, and do have the advantage of being easier to transport.
It should go without saying, but just make sure that is you are using a spinning rod, match it up with a spinning reel – if you are using a casting rod, match it up with a casting reel.
Here is a quick list of some of the best walleye fishing rods on the market today:
St. Croix Legend Walleye Tournament Rods
Fenwick Elite Tech Walleye Rods
Obviously, there are some other great walleye fishing rods on the market today, and for a complete list of some of the best, check out this complete review we did: The Best Walleye Fishing Rods.
Walleye Fishing Reels
You are obviously going to need a fishing reel to go with your fishing rods. There are literally hundreds of great fishing reels that you can pick from!
The key is again making sure if you have a spinning rod you match it up with a spinning reel, and if you have a casting rod you match it up with a baitcasting reel.
Most walleye anglers are going to be using a spinning rod & reel because they are so easy to use, and you don’t have to worry about line tangles and things of that nature.
When picking a good spinning reel for walleye you basically want two things. 1.) You want a reel that has a moderate retrieval rate, so you don’t yank the lure out of the walleyes mouth. 2.) Make sure it is large enough to handle a good chunk of line, especially if you are fishing in deeper waters or trolling.
Some Great Spinning Reel options include:
Abu Garcia Revo S (Abu Garcia has made some of my favorite spinning reels of all-time)
KastKing Summer and Centron Spinning Reels
We did a great article on different spinning reel choices, check that out here: The Best Spinning Reels.
Walleye Fishing Line
There are numerous types of fishing line that can work really well for walleye fishing. I’ve personally used monofilament, braided, and “super lines” depending on where I’m fishing and what type of techniques I’ll be using.
Monofilament is still the most popular fishing line due to ease of use and ability to cast. If you are going to walleye fish with a monofilament line, you will want to purchase one that is in the 8-12-pound test line range.
The flexibility of monofilament line is a major plus, the downside is this type of line doesn’t stand up to wear and tear as well as other line types. It also needs to be changed annually at the very least!
Braided line and “super lines” like Berkley FireLine are much more durable than monofilament line. Usually for walleye fishing I’ll pick a braided line in the 6 to 14-pound test line range.
The downside to braided line is there is less flexibility to it than monofilament line, but it is perfect for fishing deeper waters and areas with thick cover.
Here are a few of the more popular types of fishing lines for walleye fishing:
Stren MagnaThin (Monofilament)
Berkley Trilene (Monofilament)
Northland Tackle Bionic Walleye Braided Line (Braided Line…obviously)
For a slightly more detailed review and recommendation on walleye fishing lines, check out this article we did: Quick Hitter: The Best Walleye Fishing Lines
Walleye Landing Nets
I can’t think of too many things worse than hooking a fish, but not catching the fish because you had the wrong type of landing net.
Landing nets are often the most over looked type of fishing equipment. Not all nets are created equal, and the wrong net can cause you problems. Walleye nets are particularly important, because just trying to lift a walleye out of the water is often going to lead to them falling off your lure due to the softness of their mouth.
For walleye fishing, you need a net that is easy to maneuver, has an appropriate reach, and I prefer something that is gentle on the fish for best catch and release practices.
The nice thing about walleye landing nets are they don’t have to be giant in size like musky or northern pike fishing nets. They can normally be stored and transported very easily – and a fishing net that is 20+ inches wide and 20+ inches deep should provide you with plenty of room to net your fish successfully.
I prefer some type of coated nylon or rubber net just because it is gentler on the fish, helps keep the fish’s slime from being scraped off, keeps the nylon knots of the nets from causing injury, and helps prevent lure tangles which are just annoying.
The handle of the net should be comfortable and easy to swing. I also like aluminum handles due to their durability but lightweight. Also, really look at how the net hoop is attached to handle. Make sure it is reinforced and can handle lifting 6, 7, 8-pound fish with no issue.
Here is a list of some of the more popular Walleye landing nets:
Frabill 20 x 23 Inch Conservation Series Net
StowMaster Mr. Walleye Landing Net
If you are looking for a more detailed review of each of those walleye landing nets plus more good choices, check out this great review we did on the best walleye landing nets!
Walleye Fishing Lures
If you have a walleye rod, a walleye reel, good walleye fishing line, and a great walleye fishing net – you are probably going to want some good walleye fishing lures to help you actually catch some fish.
There are a lot of different walleye fishing techniques that can be successfully used, and these techniques will vary by where you are fishing geographically speaking.
I am a huge fan of crankbaits, so I will normally start my lake and river walleye fishing trips with some type of crankbait. Original Floating Rapalas and Rapala Shad Raps are two of my all-time favorites.
Rapala Shad raps have an amazing color and size selection to them, and the wobble action can be irresistible to walleyes! Floating Rapalas are just an old-school lure that has been responsible for catching the biggest northern pike, walleye, and largemouth bass I’ve ever caught.
There are a lot of other brands of crankbaits that are extremely popular – including the Cordell Wally Diver, Strike King lures, Koppers, and the Storm Hot ‘N Tot lures!
Besides crankbait fishing – Lindy Rigs, or Worm Harnesses, or Spinner Rigs – I’ve heard them called a lot of different things depending on where I’m fishing at, are also very effective. Basically, you have a spinner blade that has a couple of trailing hooks and some beads that you can attach live bait to with great success. I have used these with great success on bottom bouncers or by drifting, trolling, and casting. They are my number one fishing lure on Lake Erie.
You also don’t want to forget how good a simple circle-head jig with live bait can be. I’ve caught hundreds of walleyes in Canadian waters with this simple technique.
Of course, some anglers will swear by certain spinnerbaits, different types of jigs, and even spoons. All of these lures can be effective, a lot of that effectiveness will depend on where you are fishing and what time of year you are fishing!
Here is a list of some of our favorite walleye fishing lures!
We are currently interviewing some other anglers to see what their favorite Walleye Fishing Lures are, and should have a really in-depth list of great walleye fishing lures coming out later in 2019! Check back often! And Here is that promised article for you: The Best Walleye Fishing Lures.
Walleye Fillet Knives
Like I said at the beginning of this article, walleye are one of the few fish that I don’t practice catch and release fishing techniques with all the time. So, if I’m not paying someone else to clean my fish, I’m going to need to have a good fillet knife.
There are a few factors that you will help you pick a good fillet knife. You want to look for one that is comfortable in the hand and easy to grip.
You also want a fillet knife that is easy to sharpen and maintains its edge well. Length is also an important factor – a good 7-inch or longer fillet knife makes it a lot easier to cut thru walleye than something that is too short.
Also, you want a fillet knife that is high quality. One that is well-made, easy to sharpen, and comes with a really nice case can be used for years to come!
Here are some of our top recommendations for Walleye Fillet Knives:
Rapala 7.5″ Fish’n Fillet Knife
We were lucky enough for my brother to do a great review on the best fillet knives, check it out here: The Best Fillet Knives Reviewed
For a little extra protection when filleting those fish, check out this article on the best fillet gloves! To keep your new fillet knife sharp, check out this article on the best knife sharpening stones!
Links of Interest & Final Thoughts
I feel that if you have the right walleye rod, walleye reel, walleye fishing line, walleye lures, walleye fishing net, and finally the right walleye fillet knife – you are going to have a pretty successful walleye trip! Now if you don’t catch many walleye, don’t blame us and remember that being out in nature is most of the fun anyways…..
If you are looking for a different type of fishing guide- you might be interested in our Article on the Ultimate Northern Pike Fishing Gear Guide.
Besides that, check out this neat video on our last Lake Erie Walleye Catch – and you should be looking forward to a review coming up of our 2019 Lake Erie Walleye trip in June!