Ice Fishing Tips -Check your local regulations! > Walleye

Tips for finicky/pressured walleye


I fished a local lake the last two days. This lake has various clusters of cribs throughout the lake. was setup on a saddle between two 5-10ft humps in about 13-15 ft of water. I was within several feet of 4 cribs. Many sunfish around all day, had bass, walleye, northern and musky throughout the day, with hightened activity in the morning and afternoon.

I had one walleye come to my jigging rap in the mid morning, but didn't grab it. I had another walleye grab my walleye sucker on my dead stick, but quickly dropped it before I could get to him. I saw him on the cam, it was just mouthed and the minnow remained lively. For that line, I ditched the jig and went to a plain painted green hook.

The only other thing I should've done was down size to a fat head or crappie minnow, but the walleye sucker was only slightly larger than a fat head.

I did see a 4-5 walleye cruise through the area around 4pm, heading for the bay. Also, everything left the cribs 5pm, which they didn't do the night before. My guess is the first night was cloudy and yesterday was clear w/snow coming, so they may have left to feed somewhere else.

What do some people use or do for fickle walleye? Maybe these fish have been caught already and are the locals. I was tempted to move, but it's hard when you're seeing fish all day on the cam and you think it's a matter of time. I did lose a walleye sucker overnight, because my holes froze over. I woke up and cleared them at 3, but I didn't check the bait, so not sure of the timing.

My theory is, if I go back, is plain hooks and no tiny suckers.  A coworker and her boy were with me on Friday and a nice largemouth grabbed his crappie minnow, but missed the set. There were largemouth and smallmouth that came through as well, but the smallmouth coming to my sucker turned at the last second. Maybe my house spooked him.

I should note, I'm typically a northern fisherman when I ice fish, very much a newb when it comes to walleye. Any tips or presentations for those types of fish? I'm sure when they're not biting there's not much you can do, but there were periods when they were interested, but wouldn't bite, so I don't know if it was my offering.

Is it location or timing? Would a different unpressured area of the lake be better, or is it later in the season and they're just not biting much, regardless?

What was your setup?  leader size?   Walleye around here are nothing like what you have, but it's been my experience that they are one of the toughest fish to catch ice fishing. I use 8lb test about 6 ft long.  Our walleyes very rarely get 10lbs.  Very skittish, drill your holes early, setup your tip ups and get away from them.   If they feel any resistance they will drop the bait.  No ice cleats running to the flags.  Cover your holes so no light shines down the holes.   Don't shine bright lights at your tip ups.  If they are looking at your offering and swimming away I would downsize your leader and then your bait.  They feed right In the shallows at dusk up until 9PM the best..  then off and on through the night.  During the day they will seek deeper water 30 ft or more. I fish a foot off the bottom during the day and move into the shallows for the night bite.

I use 6lb test.  I was in my Ice Castle, not tip-ups, but I had a tip-up outside for northern, using a small shiner.  It's a round black wooden Beaver Dam on black foam disk.  That bait was halfway down, as I was seeing pike cruising higher in the water column, along w/bass. 

My rattle wheel in the house with the small sucker, I'll be removing the small bobber in the future. 


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