When Do Walleye Spawn? (Interesting Fish Facts)


Are you an angler eager to reel in some walleye? Knowing when these fish spawn can significantly boost your chances of success.

The dawn and dusk periods are the prime times for walleye fishing, when they are most active. During the night, they’re busy mating, while in the day, they rest and patrol. This makes the windows of opportunity during dawn and dusk ideal for targeting them.

As the spawning season progresses, these fishing windows become shorter, so timing is crucial. Did you know that during spawning, female walleye can gain up to 25% of their weight, while smaller fish gain around 10%?

After spawning, these fish retreat to deeper water to regain energy, making post-spawn fishing in these areas quite productive. To increase your chances of success, it’s recommended to use gear like the Ugly Stik GX2 Medium 66 Spinning Rod, Pflueger President 30 Spinning Reel, and Power Pro Braid.

Stay tuned for more interesting fish facts, tips, and techniques for successful walleye fishing.

Key Takeaways

  • The best times for walleye fishing are during dawn and dusk when they are most active.
  • Walleye experience a weight gain of 10-25% during the spawning season, with larger females gaining closer to 25%.
  • After spawning, walleye return to deeper water to feed and regain energy.
  • Recommended fishing gear for walleye fishing includes the Ugly Stik GX2 Medium 66 Spinning Rod, Pflueger President 30 Spinning Reel, and Power Pro Braid.

When is Spawning?

During spawning season, walleye typically spawn in the spring when water temperatures reach around 42 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Their spawning patterns and breeding habits are truly fascinating to observe. As the water warms up, male walleye migrate to shallow areas with rocky or gravel bottoms. They create depressions in the substrate, known as ‘beds,’ where they wait for females to arrive.

Once a female approaches, the male fertilizes the eggs as she releases them. After the eggs are fertilized, the female covers them with the substrate to protect them from predators.

This intricate dance of reproduction showcases the natural instincts of walleye and their dedication to ensuring the survival of their species. Witnessing this process can provide a deeper understanding of the complexity of nature and the wonders that occur beneath the water’s surface.

Pre-spawn Behavior

Before the walleye spawn, they exhibit specific behaviors, such as rest, patrol, and mating activities. During this pre-spawn period, the walleye are focused on feeding and building up energy for the upcoming spawning season.

Here are three key things to know about their pre-spawn behavior:

  1. Pre-spawn feeding: Walleye become voracious eaters as they prepare for spawning. They actively search for prey, targeting areas with abundant food sources. This is a prime time to entice them with various bait options and fishing techniques.

  2. Mating rituals: Male walleye will begin to establish territories and actively seek out potential mates. They engage in courtship rituals, such as chasing and nudging the female. These behaviors can create a frenzy of activity in the water, providing exciting fishing opportunities.

  3. Rest and patrol: While not actively feeding or mating, walleye will rest and patrol their chosen spawning areas. They may be found near rocky structures, submerged vegetation, or drop-offs. It’s important to locate these areas and position your bait accordingly to increase your chances of a successful catch.

Understanding the pre-spawn behavior of walleye can give you valuable insights into their feeding patterns and movements, ultimately improving your chances of a memorable fishing experience.

Weight Gain during Spawning

To understand the weight gain during spawning, it is important to note that anglers have reported a 10-25% increase in weight for pre-spawn fish. Larger females tend to experience a closer to a 25% weight gain. This weight gain is influenced by various factors, such as the fish’s size and overall health.

The increase in weight is believed to be a result of the fish preparing for the energy-intensive process of spawning. As the fish gain weight, they become more robust and provide a greater challenge for anglers.

Additionally, the increased weight can impact fishing success. The larger fish may require stronger fishing gear and techniques to successfully reel them in. Understanding the weight gain factors and their impact on fishing success can help anglers optimize their strategies and increase their chances of a successful catch.

Post-Spawn Behavior

After spawning, walleye return to deeper water to feed and regain energy. This post-spawn behavior presents a unique opportunity for anglers to employ effective fishing strategies.

When targeting post-spawn walleye, it is crucial to focus on deep water areas where these fish congregate. Look for structures such as drop-offs, submerged points, and underwater humps, as these are prime feeding grounds for walleye.

Using techniques such as vertical jigging or trolling with deep-diving crankbaits can yield great results. Experiment with different bait presentations, such as live bait or artificial lures, to entice these hungry fish. Remember to pay attention to the speed and depth at which you are fishing, as walleye can be quite selective during this time.

By understanding the post-spawn behavior of walleye and employing the right fishing strategies, you can increase your chances of a successful catch in deeper water.

Recommended Fishing Gear

When targeting post-spawn walleye, it’s important to have the recommended fishing gear. The Ugly Stik GX2 Medium 66 Spinning Rod, Pflueger President 30 Spinning Reel, and Power Pro Braid are highly recommended. These fishing rods and spinning reels are known for their quality and will greatly enhance your walleye fishing experience.

The Ugly Stik GX2 Medium 66 Spinning Rod is a lightweight and sensitive rod that offers great action. It allows you to feel even the slightest nibble, increasing your chances of success.

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Paired with the Pflueger President 30 Spinning Reel, which is both affordable and high-performance, you’ll have the perfect combination for targeting walleye.

To complete your setup, don’t forget to spool your reel with Power Pro Braid. This braid is known for its zero stretch, great feel, and immense strength. It is one of the best braids available and will greatly improve your chances of reeling in those post-spawn walleye.

With this gear in hand, you’ll be well-prepared to reel in those post-spawn walleye with ease.

Muddy Water Fishing Tips

When fishing in muddy water, it’s important to use specific baits and colors that attract walleye. In murky conditions, visibility is reduced, so lures that create movement and vibration are crucial. Bright and contrasting colors like chartreuse, orange, and yellow stand out against the murky background. Jigging with lures that have rattles or blades can also attract walleye. Scented baits can compensate for decreased visibility by emitting strong scents that walleye are drawn to. By using these lures and baits, you’ll increase your chances of hooking a walleye in muddy water.

Native Habitat

Explore the native habitat of walleye to understand their preferred environments for optimal fishing opportunities.

  • Migration Patterns:

  • Walleye are known to migrate from their wintering grounds to their spawning grounds in the spring.

  • They typically move from deeper waters to shallower areas, such as rivers and streams, to spawn.

  • The timing and direction of their migration can vary depending on factors like water temperature and food availability.

  • Spawning Grounds:

  • Walleye prefer to spawn in areas with rocky or gravelly substrates.

  • They look for locations with moderate current and good water quality.

  • Ideal spawning grounds can be found in rivers, streams, and some lakes.

Understanding the migration patterns and preferred spawning grounds of walleye can greatly enhance your fishing experience. By targeting these areas during the spawning season, you increase your chances of catching walleye.

So, get ready to explore the native habitat of walleye and discover the best fishing spots for these elusive fish.

Clear Water Techniques

To maximize your chances of catching walleye in clear water, try using techniques specifically designed for these conditions. Clear water can present a challenge when it comes to walleye fishing, as their keen eyesight makes them more cautious and selective. Using the right lures and fishing techniques can greatly increase your success rate. When fishing in clear water, it is important to choose lures that closely resemble the natural prey of the walleye. Opt for lures that have a realistic appearance and mimic the movement of small baitfish. Additionally, consider using light line and leaders to make your presentation more subtle and less visible. Being patient and making precise, targeted casts can also make a difference in clear water. By employing these clear water techniques, you’ll be well on your way to reeling in some trophy walleye.

Clear Water Lures Fishing Techniques
Crankbaits Jigging
Spinnerbaits Slow trolling
Jerkbaits Slip bobber
Swimbaits Drifting

Spring Fishing Tips

Try using these spring fishing tips to maximize your chances of catching walleye during this season.

In the spring, walleye are actively feeding and preparing for spawning, making it an ideal time to target them.

One of the best baits to use during this time is a jig tipped with a minnow or nightcrawler. Cast your bait near rocky points, weed beds, or drop-offs, as these are common areas where walleye congregate.

Slowly jig the bait off the bottom to mimic the movement of a dying baitfish, which can entice walleye to strike.

Another effective technique is trolling with crankbaits or spinner rigs, covering more water and increasing your chances of locating active fish. Remember to vary your retrieval speed and experiment with different colors to find what the walleye are most attracted to.

By utilizing these spring fishing tips and employing the best bait and techniques, you’ll have a better chance of landing that prized walleye.

Miscellaneous Information

Learn some miscellaneous information about walleye fishing, including tips, gear recommendations, and other interesting facts. Here are four insightful tidbits for you:

  1. Ever thought about becoming a fishing YouTuber? Capture your angling adventures, share your tips and tricks, and build a community of fellow fishing enthusiasts. It’s a great way to connect with like-minded individuals and showcase your passion for the sport.

  2. Curious about what muskie eat? These giant predators have a voracious appetite and will feast on a variety of prey, including fish, frogs, and even small mammals. They are known for their aggressive strikes and powerful fights, making them an exciting challenge for anglers.

  3. When it comes to gear recommendations, the Ugly Stik GX2 Medium 66 Spinning Rod is a top choice. Its lightweight design, sensitivity, and excellent action make it an ideal tool for walleye fishing. Paired with the Pflueger President 30 Spinning Reel, you’ll have an affordable and high-performance combo that can handle the fight of a walleye.

  4. Remember, fishing is not just about the catch—it’s about the experience. Enjoy the tranquility of being out on the water, the anticipation of a bite, and the thrill of reeling in a walleye. So grab your gear, hit the water, and create unforgettable memories. Tight lines!


When do walleye spawn? Walleye typically spawn in the spring, when water temperatures reach around 42 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The exact timing can vary depending on the location and weather conditions. In general, spawning occurs between March and May. During this time, walleye migrate to shallow areas with gravel or rocky bottoms, such as rivers, streams, and shorelines. The females release their eggs, while the males fertilize them. After spawning, walleye may move to deeper waters or return to their usual feeding grounds. It’s important to note that walleye are sensitive during the spawning period and may be more difficult to catch. Conservation efforts, such as catch-and-release practices, can help protect the walleye population during this crucial time.

About the author

Kimberly is an experienced angler and outdoor enthusiast with a passion for all things fishing. She has been honing her skills on the water for over 7 years, mastering various techniques and tactics for both freshwater and saltwater fishing.

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