Shallow Water Walleye

Walleye is high on the list of Ontario's favourite game fish.

What is the favourite game fish for vacationing anglers in Northern Ontario?

Some like big oversized toothy critters like muskie and northern pike, others prefer the mighty smallmouth bass who just never know when to say quit or the many different species of trout that inhabit just about every lake, river, or stream, or even the very abundant panfish family of crappie, jumbo perch and bluegills that make some excellent table fare after a long day of fishing.

But, very high on any list is the walleye.

The golden bars of Ontario’s north country.

angler fishing walleye

(Photo credit: Karl Kalonka)

A mere mention of ‘good walleye fishing’ piques the interest of anglers near and far.

Here are some popular techniques and tactics to catch walleye in shallow water during the early months of the season, after spawning when the fish are on the feed bag and it can be light out fantastic fishing once you find the fish.

angler walking on dock at lake

(Photo credit: The Extreme Angler)

Most Northern Ontario lakes have several river systems entering each lake, providing the walleye with ideal spawning habitat, but once they are finished the chore, they can be usually found downstream of the faster-flowing water just off current flows in smaller pockets, river bends, channel edges and river mouths ranging in depths from eight feet on downwards depending on which area of Ontario you are fishing.

Locations in Algoma Country, Northwest Ontario, and Northeastern Ontario have some of the finest early seasons, shallow-water walleye fishing we have ever experienced.

angler fishing walleye

(Photo credit: The Extreme Angler)

Locating new weed growth on open flats can also be dynamite for schools of bigger walleye, regardless of the water depth, new weed attracts walleye like bees to honey and the action can be hot and fast any time of the day.

Transition areas that have weed to gravel or rock are also ideal locations to investigate in early spring.

ontario shore lunch

(Photo credit: The Extreme Angler)

Some of the most popular techniques and tactics to catch these shallow water walleyes include casting suspended jerk baits over the flats and river mouths with long pauses between jerking the rod, a jerk, jerk, long pause seems to trigger cooler water walleyes into inhaling these hard-bodied minnow baits like Yo-Zuri brands and just about everywhere we have fished for them and it is also a great way to locate walleye on larger flats or wide river mouths.

anglers enjoying shore lunch lake side

(Photo credit: The Extreme Angler)

Dragging and slow vertical jigging smaller ball head jigs with live bait or small curly-tailed plastics are also very popular in front of river mouths and on shoals and reefs near spawning grounds. The first edge dropping into deeper water can hold big numbers of walleye.

And last but certainly not least is the good, old trusted in-line spinner with tiny flashing blade and a piece of nightcrawler attached for taste, walleyes everywhere just simply cannot resist this presentation while cast along with current breaks in rivers, along deeper edges of shoals and again near new weed growth on the flats.

ontario drive-to fishing lodge

(Photo credit: Red Pine Lodge)

Check out the fabulous opportunities available in Northern Ontario this year when you're making your vacation plans with family or friends. We have the lodges, the lakes and certainly more than enough walleye to win any discussion of what is Ontario’s favourite game fish because the walleye is very high on our list.

About Karl Kalonka

It's possible Karl's love for fishing began as early as the age of five. His parents took the kids on weekend trips across Ontario fishing for panfish, catfish, and bass. "I started with a bobber and worm from the time I was five years old," says Karl. These days, he has the enviable task of doing what he loves for a living, travelling across Ontario fishing, filming and producing two outdoor series, Extreme Angler and Crappie Angler TV.

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