5 Best Trolling Reels For Walleye Fishing Expert Reviews

Based on my personal experience and extensive testing, I have identified the top 3 Walleye trolling reels as the Okuma Magda Pro Line Counter, SHIMANO Tekota A Line Counter and PENN Squall II Level Wind Conventional Fishing Reel. These reels stand out for their exceptional features that are perfectly suited for Walleye trolling. 

Hello, my fellow fishing enthusiasts! I am truly enthusiastic about a fishing method called trolling, especially when it comes to chasing after the elusive Walleye. Trolling involves trailing bait or lures behind a moving boat as a method to entice and catch fish. While I do have a deep fondness for this approach, I must confess that my absolute favorite way to catch fish is by using a jig. 

Best Trolling Reels For Walleye

I cannot help but relish the thrilling sound of the reel clicker when a fish takes the bait while trolling. The beauty of trolling lies in its ability to cover vast stretches of water quickly, especially when cruising at higher speeds. Given my dedication to this fishing style, I am exceptionally discerning when it comes to selecting the ideal trolling reels.

In this review, I will be sharing my 5 best trolling reels for Walleye recommendations from various reputable brands to help you make the most of your Walleye trolling adventures. To know more about trolling reels, Keep scrolling!

Check Best Walleye Spinning Reels


SHIMANO Tekota

SHIMANO Tekota

  • Ball Bearings: 3+1
  • Reel Size: 6000
  • Extra-loud bait clicker
  • 6.3:1 gear ratio
PENN Squall II Level

PENN Squall II Level

  • 3+1 shielded
  • Lightweight
  • Versatile
  • 5LW to 50LW
Shakespeare ATS

Berkley FFSH

  • Gear ratio: 6.4:1
  • Weight: 15 oz
  • Stainless steel
  • On/off selective

Best Trolling Reels for Walleye Reviewed 2024

Here is the list

Image Product Feature Price
Top Pick
 

Okuma Magda Pro Line Counter

1. Okuma Magda Pro Line Counter
  • Stainless Steel
  • Multi-disc
  • 420 yds 20 lb
Check Price
Shakespeare ATS
2.Shakespeare ATS
  • Gear ratio: 6.4:1
  • On/off selective
  • Stainless steel
Check Price
PENN Squall II Level
3. PENN Squall II Level
  • 15LW to 50LW
  • 3+1 shielded stainless steel
  • Lightweight
Check Price
SHIMANO Tekota
4. SHIMANO Tekota
  • Ball Bearings: 3+1
  • Extra-loud bait clicker
  • 6.3:1 gear ratio
Check Price
Okuma Cold Water Linecounter
5. Okuma Cold Water Linecounter
  • Carbonite drag System
  • Speed lock pinion
  • Ergo grip handle knobs
Check Price

Check Best Walleye Rod And Reel Combo.


1- Okuma Magda Pro Line Counter

Okuma Magda Pro Line Counter
  • Stainless Steel, Graphite material
  • Multi-disc Carbonite drag system
  • Line Capacity: 420 yds 20 lb test
  • Bearing: 2 stainless steel ball bearings
  • Stainless steel levelwind line guide
  • Lightweight corrosion resistant frame and side plates

Having spent countless hours trolling for Walleye with the Okuma Magda Pro Line Counter Levelwind trolling reel, I can confidently say it is a game changer. 

The reel’s use of premium materials not only ensures it can withstand the unforgiving conditions of Walleye fishing but also delivers lasting performance that you can rely on season after season. The line counter allows you to precisely target the depth where Walleye are lurking, significantly increasing your chances of success. Its lightweight, corrosion resistant build stands strong against unpredictable weather, and the generous line capacity accommodates the walleye’s spirited fights. 

Okuma Magda Pro Line Counter

The inclusion of two stainless steel ball bearings ensures smooth operation, a key factor when dealing with the subtle bites of these elusive fish. The stainless steel levelwind line guide is a real asset, preventing line tangling and allowing you to detect and respond to bites with precision. 

Check Best Walleye Reels.

This reel has truly transformed my Walleye trolling experience, and it is being trusted by professionals worldwide as a testament to its exceptional quality and performance. This reel is designed specifically to help you catch more Walleye, and it is tough enough to handle whatever challenges the fishing environment throws at it.

Pros
  • I experienced a smooth and powerful drag performance
  • The reel offers an accurate line counter
  • Reel has a durable construction
  • Lightweight and easy to handle
Cons
  • Some users have reported that the line counter can be inaccurate

2- Shakespeare ATS Trolling Reel

Shakespeare ATS
  • Gear ratio: 6.4:1
  • Line capacity: 580/14, 400/20, 315/25
  • Bearings: 2
  • Weight: 15 oz
  • On/off selective bait clicker
  • Stainless steel pinion gear

I have had the pleasure of using the Shakespeare ATS trolling reel for Walleye trolling, and it is proven to be a standout choice with a set of features designed to elevate your fishing experience. 

What I appreciate most is the option to select either the line counter or non line counter model, available in sizes 15, 20, and 30, offering versatility to match your personal trolling style. The reel’s one piece graphite frame and side covers exude durability, ensuring it can endure the rigors of Walleye trolling. With the inclusion of two ball bearings, the gear feel is smooth and consistent, a crucial advantage when dealing with Walleye’s subtle bites. 

Shakespeare ATS Trolling Reel

The stainless steel pinion gear boosts corrosion resistance, ensuring the reel maintains its quality even in wet and challenging fishing conditions. The on/off selective bait clicker feature simplifies the process of detecting fish bites, especially useful when handling the finicky nature of Walleye.

Check Best Trolling Rods For Walleye.

In sum, the Shakespeare ATS Trolling Reel has proven to be a reliable companion for Walleye trolling, offering both versatility and the necessary durability and precision for successful catches. It is a choice I would recommend to any angler pursuing Walleye in various fishing conditions.

Pros
  • Reel offers both line counter and non-line counter options in various sizes
  • The reel is suitable for challenging fishing conditions and extended use
  • Equipped with two ball bearings for a smooth and fluid gear feel
  • The on/off selective bait clicker is a convenient feature for detecting fish bites
  • Corrosion resistance feature, ensuring the reel’s longevity even in harsh and wet environments
Cons
  • Not as smooth as some higher end trolling reels

3- PENN Squall II Level Wind Conventional Fishing Reel

PENN Squall II Level
  • Available sizes: 15LW to 50LW
  • HT-100 carbon fiber drag system
  • 3+1 shielded stainless steel ball bearing system
  • Lightweight graphite frame and sideplates

The PENN Squall II Level Wind Conventional fishing reel exceeded my expectations during my recent Walleye trolling adventure and offers the strength and durability required for trolling. 

The fast gear access side plate, is a user friendly design that allows anglers to easily remove it, enabling quick access to the reel’s inner components like gears for maintenance, reducing downtime while fishing.

What truly distinguishes this trolling reel and makes it ideal for battling large fish is its exceptional drag system. Unlike many other reels where drag increases as line leaves the spool, the HT-100 drag washers in the Penn Squall II work differently. As they heat up, they reduce friction, resulting in an exceptionally smooth retrieval, making it perfect for those intense battles with prized fish.

PENN Squall II Level Wind Conventional Fishing Reel

The lightweight graphite frame and sideplates made a noticeable difference during extended hours on the water, reducing fatigue. Additionally, the forged and machined aluminum spool showcased exceptional durability and line management. 

The reel delivered a silky smooth operation, reducing friction and enhancing the overall experience, due to the fact that it is equipped with a total of 3+1 shielded stainless steel ball bearings. The shielded stainless steel bearings are more durable and corrosion resistant compared to regular steel bearings.

Overall, the PENN Squall II Level Wind is a great choice for anglers of all skill levels. It is a durable and versatile reel that will provide years of fishing enjoyment.

Pros
  • The reel is built with durable materials, ensuring long lasting performance and resistance to corrosion
  • The reel provide a smooth and consistent drag
  • Versatile for a variety of fishing applications 
  • Available in various sizes and line counter models, allowing anglers to choose the one that best suits their specific needs
Cons
  • A bit heavier than some other conventional reels on the market
  • High price

4- SHIMANO Tekota A Line Counter

SHIMANO Tekota
  • Max drag Weight: 24 pounds
  • Ball Bearings: 3+1
  • Reel Size: 6000
  • Quick 6.3:1 gear ratio
  • Extra-loud bait clicker
  • S-ARB shielded anti-rust ball bearings

My recent Walleye trolling experience with the SHIMANO Tekota reel was nothing short of exceptional. SHIMANO Tekota has proven itself as a durable and reliable choice in the long run, especially when compared to the Okuma Coldwaters.

It offers a range of features to enhance its performance. Starting with the S-Compact body design, it offered a comfortable grip and reduced hand fatigue during long hours on the water. Next the coreprotect technology kept water and dirt at bay, ensuring the reel’s durability even in challenging conditions. 

The analog line counter with an anti-fogging lens allowed me to track my line effortlessly, even in varying weather. The all-metal Hagane Body proved its mettle against powerful Walleye, and the 3+1 ball bearing system delivered smooth and precise operation. The S-ARB shielded anti-rust ball bearings maintained their performance even in saltwater, a key advantage for durability. 

SHIMANO Tekota A Line Counter

With a max drag of up to 24 pounds and a quick 6.3:1 gear ratio, the Tekota handled large fish with ease, and its extra-loud bait clicker was a valuable alert system. 

In a nutshell, the SHIMANO Tekota is a reliable and purpose built reel for Walleye trolling, combining comfort, durability, and precision to enhance the angling experience.

Pros
  • The Tekota has proven to be durable and reliable over an extended period of use
  • Ensures a smooth and precise reel operation, reducing friction during casting and retrieval
  • With a maximum drag capacity of up to 24 pounds, the Tekota can handle a variety of fish species
  • The 6.3:1 gear ratio provides versatility for different trolling applications
  • The audible bait clicker is a handy feature for walleye trolling
Cons
  • Can be a bit expensive

5- Okuma Cold Water Linecounter

Okuma Cold Water Linecounter
  • Carbonite drag System
  • Max Drag Pressure: 18-lbs
  • Ball Bearings: 2+1
  • Reel Size: 1500-4500
  • Gear Ratio: 5:1:1
  • Ergo grip handle knobs
  • Speed lock pinion gear system

During my Walleye trolling adventures, if i talk about my experience with the Okuma Cold Water Linecounter trolling reel,  it surpassed my expectations. 

Throughout the day, as waves splashed and mist filled the air, I didn’t have to worry about the reel deteriorating due to exposure to water due to the lightweight and corrosion-resistant construction of the side-plates and frame.  When I hooked a Walleye, I appreciated the smooth and consistent drag it provided. The ability to adjust the pressure smoothly was crucial in preventing line breaks and maintaining control during the intense fight with the fish.

The stainless steel bearings in this reel, reduced friction and provided effortless line retrieval and casting, contributed to a seamless fishing experience. The gears operated smoothly and efficiently, ensuring that my reel would perform consistently throughout the day.

Okuma Cold Water Linecounter

The speed lock pinion gear system was a game-changer. As conditions on the water changed, I could easily adjust the gear ratio to suit my fishing style. The ratcheting star drag added precision to my fishing experience. It allowed me to fine-tune the amount of resistance or drag applied to the line when a walleye was on the run. This feature ensured I had full control over the fish’s movements and reduced the risk of sudden line breakage. 

This reel is equipped with user friendly features that made my fishing experience more successful and enjoyable. If you are an angler looking to up your Walleye trolling game, this reel should be at the top of your list. 

Pros
  • Durable and suitable for harsh, water exposed environments, which is essential for trolling
  • Smooth drag pressure, crucial for controlling powerful Walleye during a fight
  • The reel offers a  seamless line retrieval and casting experience
  • Gears operate smoothly and efficiently over extended periods
  • Gear ratio adjustments, giving you the flexibility to adapt to changing conditions and fishing styles
Cons
  • Some users have reported issues with the line counter fogging up
  • Price can be on higher side , as compared to others on the market

How to Choose the Best Trolling Reels for Walleye?

When selecting a trolling reel for Walleye fishing, there are several key factors to keep in mind:

How to Choose the Best Trolling Reels for Walleye

Material: 

The best material for a Walleye trolling reel will depend on your individual needs and preferences. If you are looking for a durable reel that can withstand the rigors of fishing in harsh conditions, aluminum or stainless steel is a good choice. If you are looking for a lightweight reel that is easy to carry, graphite is a good option. And if you are looking for the ultimate in performance, titanium is a good choice.

Line Capacity: 

While there are many fishing lines out there, the best ones for trolling are specially designed for top performance. When you are trolling for Walleye, it is often best to go for monofilament lines that are 10 to 14 pounds strong. This strength and flexibility combination works well for catching Walleye.

Gear Ratio: 

For Walleye trolling, a gear ratio of 5:1 or 6:1 is ideal. This allows you to retrieve your line at a slow, controlled speed, which is crucial for enticing Walleye strikes.

Drag System: 

The “max drag weight” on a reel is the highest resistance it can provide. It is vital for adjusting the reel’s resistance to the fish’s size and strength, preventing line breakage, and ensuring better control during the fight. This feature is crucial, particularly in techniques like Walleye trolling.

When trolling for Walleye, you will need a drag system that is smooth, consistent, and powerful enough to handle the initial surge of a walleye strike. The drag should also be adjustable so that you can tailor it to the size of the fish you are targeting and the conditions you are fishing in.

Ball Bearings: 

The number and quality of ball bearings in your reel can affect its performance. More ball bearings generally result in smoother operation. Look for a reel with multiple high quality ball bearings for optimal performance.

Levelwind (Optional): 

While not essential for Walleye trolling, a levelwind reel can be advantageous, especially if you are using a lot of line. A levelwind reel automatically distributes the line evenly across the spool, preventing tangles and ensuring smooth operation.

Clicker: 

A clicker is a device that is attached to a fishing reel that makes a clicking sound when the line is pulled out. Clickers are commonly used on Walleye trolling reels because they help to alert the angler when a fish has taken the bait. If you are looking to improve your Walleye trolling results, I highly recommend using a clicker reel. It is a simple and effective tool that can make a big difference in your fishing success.


frequently asked questions

What is a good trolling speed for Walleye?

Most anglers troll for Walleye at a speed ranging from 1.5 to 2.5 miles per hour. However, this speed can vary based on the conditions. In colder water, a slower trolling speed, around 1 mile per hour, is often preferred for Walleye fishing.

How deep do you troll for Walleye?

Walleyes can be found in depths of 15 to 35 feet. Before trolling, use sonar to locate baitfish schools, as active Walleyes tend to move up to feed on them.

What size hook for Walleye trolling?

The best hook size for Walleye trolling depends on the size of the bait you are using and the size of the Walleye you are targeting. For live bait such as minnows or leeches, a hook size of #4 or #6 is a good choice. For larger baits such as crawlers or crankbaits, a hook size of #2 or #4 is a good choice.


My Final Thoughts

When it comes to selecting the best trolling reels for Walleye fishing, it is crucial to consider various factors such as the material, line capacity, gear ratio, drag system, ball bearings. Each of the recommended trolling reels, including the Okuma Magda Pro Line Counter, Shakespeare ATS, PENN Squall II Level Wind, SHIMANO Tekota A Line Counter, and Okuma Cold Water Linecounter, brings its own unique set of advantages and is suited for different preferences and requirements.These reels have been tried and tested in Walleye trolling adventures and have proven their reliability and performance. 

Ultimately, the choice of the best trolling reel for you will depend on your individual fishing style and needs. Whether you prioritize lightweight design, affordability, strong drag systems, versatility, or smoothness, there’s a trolling reel that fits your specific criteria. Happy trolling! and may your Walleye fishing adventures be filled with success and enjoyment!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.