Walleye

WALLEYE RANGE IN ONTARIO

Map showing the range of walleye in Ontario

modified from: Mandrak and Crossman (1992)

 

 

Typical length: 35.5–58.4 centimetres (14-23 inches)


Typical weight: 0.68–1.36 kilograms (1.5-3 pounds)

 

Ontario record: 10.1 kilograms (22.3 pounds)

Similar fish:

sauger
yellow perch


 

walleye

 

Key Identifying Characteristics:

 

  • Large, elongated fish
  • Back is olive-green to brown; sides paler with yellow flecks
  • No distinct blotches or bands on adults
  • White tip on lower tail fin
  • Spiny and soft dorsal fins separated
  • Large mouth extends below back edge of eye
  • Large teeth

 

Distribution/Habitat:

 

  • Walleye (also known as pickerel) are found throughout Ontario and is particularly common in the Great Lakes basin and throughout northern Ontario.
  • Walleye thrive in a range of river and lake conditions from cold, clear water to warm, weedy and stained water. Preferred cover includes weed, wood and rock. Bottom types can be anything from soft mud to flooded timber, rubble or bedrock.

 

Angling Tips:

 

  • Walleye are a light-avoiding fish, caught most often under low light conditions. Fishing is generally best on cloudy or overcast days, or on days when waves keep light from penetrating too deeply into the water. Prime times include morning and evening.
  • In springtime walleye will take almost any bait or lure, but may be more challenging to catch through the summer months. Fall often brings another peak of walleye feeding activity.
  • Casting or trolling with spinners or minnow-imitating plugs works well. Special worm harness rigs of spinners and beads are often trolled. Jigs, tipped with soft plastics, live bait or bucktail are walleye angling favourites.
  • Live baits are often still-fished, drifted or trolled on slip-sinker or "bottom-bouncing" rigs. Walleye are readily caught through the ice, usually on jigs, jigging spoons or minnows.

 

Common Baits:

 

  • Jigs
  • Minnow-imitating plugs
  • Minnows
  • Earthworms
  • Crayfish

 

walleye banner graphic

Illustration credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service