Walleye fish are one of the hardest to catch, especially in the winter months. Fortunately, there are a few tips and tricks that you can use to make your ice fishing trip a success.
The most important things to know when ice fishing for walleye at night is how to find the right location and how to use the right bait and fishing techniques.
There are many methods and techniques you can use to find the right location and catch the most walleye. In this article, we outline ways to find the best location to ice fish, the techniques to use, and the best bait and fishing lures for walleye night fishing.
How to Find the Right Location
The first step to catching walleye when ice fishing is finding the right location. Finding the right location means finding the right ice location and locating where the walleye fish are.
The four types of ways to look for fishing ice fishing locations include:
- General Walleye Fishing Location
- Early-Season Walleye Ice Fishing Location
- Mid-Season Walleye Ice Fishing Location
- Late-Season Walleye Ice Fishing Location
General Walleye Fish Location
This is how you can generally locate walleye fish when there’s a sheet of ice covering the lake. A few factors that can change the location of walleye fish slightly include:
- How deep the water is
- The level of oxygen the water has
- How clear the water looks
But for the most part, you can usually find walleye fish near the bottom of the lake near water structures such as rock piles and points or drop-offs in the ice.
Early-Season Walleye Ice Fishing Location
Early season walleye fish are transitioning through the fall season. During this time walleye are usually located in the deeper waters that are the closest to these shallow waters.
The walleye fish stay here since they don’t have any reason to move just yet, which makes it easier for you to find a bunch of them in one area. It’s recommended that you focus on the flat parts of the ice that have points or drop-offs that go into the water as they may start transitioning.
Mid-Season Walleye Ice Fishing Location
As the winter season progresses, walleye fish move towards the center of the lake. The water is deeper out in the middle of the lake, and therefore a little bit warmer. The warmer water will help keep the walleye active and easier to spot.
An easier way to find middle ice locations without looking for the walleye fish are looking at the lines left in the ice by the lake’s currents or waterways. The contour lines usually lead straight to the middle of the lake.
Late-Season Walleye Ice Fishing Location
Late ice is also known as the breeding season for walleye fish. Because of this, they are moving back towards the shallowest waters so that they can mate and lay eggs safely and away from predators.
The key to finding late ice locations is finding a shoreline. Locate anything that will bring the warmest water into the lake, such as:
- A river
- A runoff
- A stream
Any of the prior suggestions will lead you to a shoreline, usually gravel or pressure ridges. Pressure ridges are ideal since they create structure below the water, meaning that walleye fish will be more likely to congregate there.
For more information on walleye fishing locations, check out our entire guide on How to Find Walleye Ice Fishing.
Walleye Fishing Techniques
Fishing for walleye at night is much different than fishing for them during the day. But they are the most active at night, so taking advantage of those hours can mean you catch a good amount of fish. A few techniques to use when you’re ice fishing for walleye at night include:
- Using Silver Spoons and Lures for Walleye in Clear Water
- Drilling Multiple Holes in the Same Location
- Using Brightly Colored Lures in Stained Water
Using Silver Spoons and Lures for Walleye in Clear Water
Silver material looks like minnows to walleye fish, especially in clear water. Walleye eat minnows, so using lures and other things made of silver as bait will draw the walleye fish to swim out and get a midnight snack.
Attaching a silver lure is simpler since it’s already designed to attach to a fishing pole. But if you don’t have a silver fishing lure, using silver spoons works as well. These types of spoons aren’t the ones that you use to eat but are specially made for fishing.
Silver lures and spoons work especially well early in the winter season when there’s less snow and ice and walleye are congregating in shallower waters.
Drilling Multiple Holes in the Same Location
It’s recommended that you drill ten to fifteen holes in the same location when ice fishing for walleye. This does not mean drilling all of the holes in the same area of ice, but rather around the same lake. Drill five holes each at:
- Along the transition from the lake to the land
- Along the shallow area of the lake
- Along the deeper area of the lake
Fish at each hole for five to ten minutes so that you don’t scare the walleye fish away. The more locations you have to fish, the better chances you have at catching something.
Using Brightly Colored Lures in Stained Water
Stained water is any water that has a brown or greenish tint to it. Lures that are brightly colored, such as yellow or orange, are more likely to lure walleye to the fishing hook since they are much easier to see.
Another way to make the lures easier to spot in stained water is to bob the fishing lure up and down in an erratic manner. The movement plus the bright colors will draw the attention of the walleye and make them come to you.
Types of Walleye Fishing Bait
For catching walleye fish, there are three main types of lures and bait:
- Fishing Spoons
- Swimming Lures
Fishing Spoons are Attention-Grabbing
As stated previously, these are the best types of bait to use in clear water. They’re typically slightly concave and give off an attention-grabbing vibration when dropped into the water. They also create a lot of flashes if they are used in the daytime, but not as much when used at night.
Swimming Lures Look Like Bait Fish
These are lures that are designed to look like real bait fish. They work the best in clear water and dart around sporadically like an actual bait fish. To the walleye, it looks alive and looks like easy prey.
Jigs Work the Best
Jigs are the best type of bait for catching walleye, but they work especially well when fishing for walleye at night. They usually come with UV light absorbing technology used to make it glow in the dark, making it a very easy target for walleye fish. You can also get them to look like baitfish to increase the chances of getting a bite.
Finding the Right Combination
There is not a singular one hundred percent correct way to ice fish for walleye at night. With the array of techniques and lures that can be used, there might be some trial and error when figuring out what works best for you.
The most important things to remember are to make sure that you find the right locations and use the right techniques and lures that will get you the most catches.