If you love ice fishing, and want to catch some walleye, then you will need to be aware of the best methods to do so. One of the most important things to know how deep to ice fish for walleye.
The walleye is a freshwater fish in the perch family. They are generally long, thin, gold and olive colored.
Walleye are an incredibly desirable fishing target for those of us who are recreational fishermen and anglers, and can be found throughout most of the United States and Canada. They are also popular catches for ice fishing enthusiasts.
Walleye are very popular gamefish for ice anglers. However, it can be very challenging to ice fish for them as you need to catch them at the precise and right depth during the winter, which can be rather difficult.
This is why we have prepared a simple guide for you, to help you find out what depth to ice fish for walleye, what depth they like in the winter months, and what is the best way to ice fish for walleye!
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How deep to fish for walleye
For the most part, the depth you should be ice fishing for walleye will depend on the time of day, and the time of year. Depending on whether it is early, late or mid winter, the required depth to fish for walleye will change.
If you are ice fishing at midwinter, then walleye can commonly be found at a depth of around 30 – 40 ft in deep water around noon, and will be in the shallower waters of about 10- 30 feet in the evening hours. This is largely due to the fact that they like to feed on schooling bait fish at night.
However, during early winter, they can be found in waters of about 4-8 feet, as this is where they will find most of their prey.
As the winter progresses, walleye will tend to move towards deeper water, and can move around towards underwater hills and mud flats. In those cases, they will rise to about 10-25 feet, as their prey can be found in much shallower waters.
In general, walleye will stay in much deeper basins if they can, unless they are within a fast striking distance of bait fish, like minnows.
What depth do walleye like in winter?
The best depth for catching walleye in the winter months depends on the actual time of winter. Walleye will be at different depths at various points during the winter. For instance, in early winter, you can expect walleye to be closer to the shore.
At this time, walleye will be close to the shore at a depth of about 4-8 feet, so ice fish at that depth in the beginning of the winter.
The best spots to ice fish during this period is where the most bait fish are, as this is where the walleye will be, hoping to find their prey and feed. Most of the time, bait fish tend to hide in weeded spots that can provide cover for them from predators.
During the middle of winter, the walleye will be in much deeper water, and can be found at a depth of about 30-40 feet during the day.
As night draws in, the walleye will be drawn to much shallower depths, and can be ice fished at about 10-25 feet during dusk and night time.
Towards the end of winter, the walleye will once again rise to the shallows and will be at a depth of about 10-20 feet as this is close to their spawning grounds.
The best spots to ice fish for walleye during this time is in rivers and streams that flow into the lake. This is where they will be feeding.
What is the best way to ice fish for walleye?
When ice fishing for walleye, you will need the best bait to catch them once they come up to feed. We recommend using either live minnow or dead minnow as this is the most desirable bait for them. You can also use buzz bombs, and small candlefish as these also work well.
You are best off dropping your jig to the bottom and reeling up a few cranks so that it rests just a few feet above the bottom of the lake.
Depending on how clear the water is, you can also benefit from using different shades of lures. If the water is clear, use a silver or very light colored lure.
This is so the light reflects and attracts the walleye from afar. Walleye rely on their eyesight to navigate through waters and capture prey.
If the water is a little more murky, then use a bright colored lure to help the walleye locate it. This will give you a better chance of attracting walleye and capturing them!
How deep is too deep for walleye?
Most anglers catch walleye at a depth of less than 50-60 feet, although some have reported finding walleyes at 70 feet. Usually, you can find walleye in deeper waters during the day, and will most often be found in the deepest part of the lake.
How do you attract walleye to ice fishing?
Your best bet for catching walleye during ice fishing is to tough out the cold, and ice fish at night. Walleye are very active fish during the night as they prefer to feed at this time. This is because they have great visibility during the night, and will go for their prey then.
When they look for prey, they will rise to the shallows, making them much easier to catch. As they actively feed at night, it is best to set up before sunset and fish through to the morning.
The best time of day to fish for walleye is around dawn and dusk. About 30 minutes before and after sunset and sunrise will be the peak time for catching walleye as they will then begin to feed.