Fishing is not just a sport …. It is a technique that can give you many life skills: coordination with your motor skills, savviness with tools and gear, communication with your fishing partners, connections to your natural world, knowledge in surviving the wilderness, the value of patience, and the ability to sustain yourself with wild meat! So if fishing can reward you with so many skills, why not start your fishing adventures with a fish that is a wild time to catch … the walleye!
Catching this freshwater fish on the hook has actually stumped and tested many anglers – including experts. The walleye is crafty, mysterious, and picky in nature. That’s why anglers identify this species as one of the “most prized” fish. And if your family is new to the mysterious walleye, fear not! With a little preparation, your family can be putting walleye in the boat regularly.
First, every successful angler needs a fishing license! This is your ticket to fishing your natural resources and harvesting this tasty fish for your dinner table. To get your state fishing license, go to Take Me Fishing. While retrieving your license, it is always a good thing to check up on your state’s fishing regulations. Regulations are laws that limit the number of a species we can take from our environment. By following the laws, we conserve our fish populations and ensure we can continue fishing in the future.
Next, go find yourself a fishing coach if you can! These are experts who can provide you with invaluable information. They can help you locate the fish, provide gear, and coach you on how to catch Ol’ Marble Eyes! It is also their goal to ensure you wrangle in some walleye, and have a safe and successful trip! To find your fishing mentor, have your parents ask:
Next, you will want to decide which fishing method you would like to use! Each method will target different water depths and presentations of the bait. Some methods may be more appropriate to use at different times of the year. So make sure you consult an expert or do your research before using a method.
- Trolling – This technique is when you pull one or more lines with lures or bait behind a boat. It allows you to cover a wider area of water, which is great for highly mobile species like the walleye. You can troll from 0.5 to 3 miles per hour in rivers or lakes. And this method can be used at all times of the year with the appropriate bait! For example, anglers will troll in the summer with crankbaits, which are artificial lures that mimic several of the perch, gobies, and other baitfish that walleye prey on at that time of the year. If you and your family get this right, you may be reeling three or more walleye in at a time! What fun!
- Jigging – This technique may require some finesse. Plastic jigs or live bait (like nightcrawler worms) are attached to your fishing rod. The weight on the line will make the bait swirl and touch the bottom of the lake or river bed. Then, every 3 – 5 seconds, you lift and bounce the rod up and down. And the best part about jigging is you can do this in a boat, on a dock, or along the shore!
- Slip bobber – This is one of the best beginner options. A slip bobber is a plastic flotation device that will suspend your bait at a certain depth (preferably about 6 inches to a foot off the bottom). You can use minnows or leeches as bait with slip bobbers in rivers. Surprisingly, this method can be the most productive method used in certain conditions (low current and sunny skies)! Be sure you target shallow waters in the springtime.
Not sure which method to choose? Watch the video to see how two teens catch the mysterious walleye by trolling the Great Lakes with their fishing guide. You and your family will discover all there is to know about this technique and more! And you can set yourself up for success by visiting the “Learn More” tab or by downloading the lesson activity below!
For all kinds of other helpful information and resources on how kids can learn where-to and how-to go fishing, explore our companion KidsFishing.US website. To discover more about becoming a future angler, visit our educational partners that helped make this video, webpage and lesson possible by clicking on their logos below.
And if you decide to fish, you really need to get serious about being a safe angler. So take the complete online boating and water safety course using the link below.
Official Boater Safety Courses
and Boat Safety Education Materials