Tips for Spring Walleye Fishing

Tired of chasing fish and coming up empty? Here's some tips to help you find the walleye in the spring.

Tips for Spring Fishing

Many anglers dream of walleye fishing during the winter and can't wait to get to Ontario's Sunset Country in the Spring to catch those tasty walleyes. One of the easiest times to catch walleye is in the Spring from the opening weekend (third Saturday in May) to mid-June. By the time opening weekend arrives, the walleye are done spawning but they hang around to protect their spawning beds.

If there is a river or current nearby, that's where you'll find walleye. They'll swim very shallow and close to shore. Try a minnow on a hook or casting with small floating Rapalas and Junior Thundersticks. You can use a jig but expect to get a lot of snags. If you are fishing a lake and there is no river or current in the area, the walleye are most likely hanging out in sandy areas along the shore or sandy points leading off rocky points and shoals.

The males will stay close to shore and shallow, but in the heat of the afternoon, big female walleyes will head out deeper, into about 10-15' of water. If there are large muskies or northern pike on your Northwestern Ontario lake, the females will be less likely to hang around the spawning grounds in the day for fear that they will become lunch for those bigger predators. They will return to the shallow areas in the evening.  

Walleye fishing at Harris Hill Resort on Lake of the Woods
Matt's 27" walleye caught while fishing at Harris Hill Resort on Lake of the Woods

Fish for walleye with a light jig (1/8oz) and cast along the shore. The walleyes are quite aggressive in the Spring so you can pretty much jig any old way. Some say retrieve it quickly and aggressively, some say long slow jigs work best. Try bright-colored jigs such as Chartreuse during the day and in the evening when they are feeding, try blue, silver, or brown. Experiment with different techniques and see what works best for you.

Remember that if you are used to fishing warmer waters, our Canadian lakes are quite a bit cooler and the fish will react differently. Your lodge owner will also have some great walleye fishing tips which they will gladly tell you about when you are at the resort. Don't be afraid to ask where their favorite fishing holes are. If you are looking for the big females in the afternoon, try the dark water just where the sandbars drop off or try trolling 30' from the shore in deeper water using down-deep Husky jerks.

In any case, be prepared to have some great Ontario Spring walleye fishing. It's one of the best and easiest times to catch walleye. 


About Erin Rody

I grew up on Black Sturgeon Lake in Northwestern Ontario. I am a staff writer for the Sunset Country Travel Association. Through my articles I hope to entice you to visit the wonderful region I call home. We are all about outdoor adventure; with 70,000 lakes and rivers and a whole lot of forests how can we not be? Whether you like to fish, hunt, canoe, kayak, boat or go camping, Sunset Country has something for you. Enjoy!

Recommended Articles

Looking for somewhere new to fish?

The Morson area of Lake of the Woods is fantastic!

Has not having a passport kept you from vacationing in Canada?

It's easier to get than you may think!

Discover The Winnipeg River

From fur traders to trophy anglers, the beauty hasn't changed.

A Guide to Sunset Country Museums

Learn while you visit!

Going fishing in Ontario?

Your lodging has just the boat you need!

10 Reasons to Avoid Ontario

Haters of wilderness, wildlife, and quiet: best steer clear.

5 Amazing Sights You Can Only See By Boat

From mermaids to boat-in museums, the Northwest corner of Ontario has some of the coolest sights to see on water!

5 Essential Boreal Experiences in Ontario's Sunset Country

Freshwater fishing, forest hiking, and sunset views await in this pristine paradise

5 Obscure Facts About Northwestern Ontario: Were You Aware of These?

Here are 5 facts that most people don't know about Sunset Country.

Outdoor Medicine

Here's why experiencing the natural world is good for you—and your health.

Bringing Your Pet to Canada

What You Need to Know

Heading Across Canada?

Here's what you need to know about Sunset Country (from the giant moose statues to the even bigger waterfalls)

There's more than just fishing in the Red Lake Region

Although the fishing's pretty good too!

Outdoor Adventure in Ontario's Northern Paradise

On the links, on the trails, and on the water–discover why Kenora has it all this fall!

Plan your trip

Book the the trip you never got to take this summer

5 Amazing Things About Spring

Spring is a welcome sight after a long winter in Sunset Country!

Spring Fishing for Northern Pike

Northerns are hungry after the spawn and are ready to bite!

Tips from a Fishing Legend

Big Bass, Walleye, Muskie and So Much More

Going Fishing in Canada?

Get the answers to your questions

What makes Wabigoon such a great lake to fish?

Well for one, it has potential for the next world record muskie!

Search Sunset Country