Fly Fishing For Walleye – Pursuing Walleye With Fly Fishing Techniques

In the world of fishing, while conventional methods like spinning or baitcasting gear are often preferred for fishing, Walleye is a select group of anglers who embrace the art of fly fishing to pursue Walleye. The fly fishing method for walleye might not be as popular. Still, it presents a unique blend of challenges and satisfying experiences for those open to trying something different.

To fly fish for Walleye, anglers typically use sinking lines and weighted flies to reach the depths where walleye are often found. Streamer patterns and other baitfish imitations can be effective in attracting walleye. The key is to choose the right fly patterns and adapt your techniques to the behavior and preferences of walleye in the particular water body you’re fishing.

Fly Fishing For Walleye

This article is about fly fishing for Walleye, a fun and exciting way to catch these fish. We will discuss the tricks and tools you need, like the right bait and where to find Walleye. So, get ready to have a great time for Walleye fly fishing!

Check How To Catch Walleye?

Fly Fishing

Fly fishing is a distinctive angling technique using specialized equipment to cast a lightweight lure, known as a “fly”, onto the water’s surface. Unlike other forms of fishing, fly fishing focuses on presenting and imitating insects or other aquatic prey. The goal is to attract fish with lifelike presentations, requiring skilful casting techniques. Anglers use delicate casting techniques to make the fly land softly on the water, attracting fish to strike. It’s a skilful and often visually captivating form of fishing, known for its connection with nature and the water. Fly fishing is popular for pursuing a variety of freshwater and saltwater species, from trout and salmon to bass and tarpon.

Fly Fishing

Fly Fishing for Walleye

Walleye fly fishing is a rewarding pursuit that attracts anglers for several compelling reasons.

Why Fly Fishing vs regular Fishing for Walleye?

There are a few reasons why some anglers prefer to fly fish for walleye over regular fishing methods:

Check Is walleye A Good Fish To Eat?

Why Fly Fishing vs regular Fishing for Walleye
  • Fly fishing presents an exciting challenge that demands both skill and patience. Walleye, known for their sharp wits, are not easily fooled, making the pursuit all the more demanding. Fly fishing introduces an extra layer of complexity to the angling experience.
  • This technique can be challenging but incredibly rewarding. With practice, you can consistently catch walleye on the fly.
  • Fly fishing is a very sporty way to fish. Fly fishing lies in its precision casting and graceful mimicry of natural prey’s movement.
  • Fly fishing provides a wonderful opportunity to forge a deeper connection with nature. 
  • The versatility is a bonus, as you can pursue walleye in lakes, rivers, or reservoirs, catering to various skill levels. 
  • Many anglers also enjoy fly fishing for Walleye because it is a relatively sustainable fishing method. Fly fishing does not require bait, which can harm the environment. Fly fishing also has a low impact on the fish, as the flies are designed to be barbless and to release easily from the fish’s mouth.

However, it is worth noting that fly fishing for Walleye has downsides. It can be costlier due to specialized gear, has a steeper learning curve, and may be less effective in challenging conditions, such as strong winds. These factors should be considered when deciding if this method aligns with your preferences and the fishing environment.

In sum, some anglers relish the challenge and sporting elegance of fly fishing. In contrast, others favor the simplicity and effectiveness of more conventional fishing techniques. The most important thing is to enjoy the experience and savor the rewards of this remarkable fish.

Where to Find Walleye?

Walleye tend to frequent specific locations for fly fishing:

Where to Find Walleye
  • Walleye are commonly spotted along the edges of lakes, especially in areas featuring underwater structures like rocks, weeds, and drop-offs. 
  • River mouths are another favored spot for walleye, offering a chance to feast on migrating baitfish moving in and out of the river.
  • You can also encounter walleye in deeper waters, particularly close to drop-offs.
  • Walleye tend to lurk in weed beds, using them as ambush points for baitfish.
  • Rock reefs are another preferred location for walleye, providing both sustenance and shelter.

These spots serve as prime hunting grounds for those seeking to engage in the rewarding pursuit of Walleye fly fishing.

Fly Fishing Setup for Walleye

For Walleye fly fishing, you will require the following essential gear:

Fly Fishing Setup for Walleye

Fly Rods for Walleye: You can choose a 4- to 8-weight fly rod, depending on the walleye’s size and fishing conditions. Heavier rods are advisable for targeting larger walleye in windy weather. Here are a few recommendations for the best fly rods for Walleye fishing:

  • Fly Lines For Walleye: Both a floating and a sinking fly line are crucial. The floating line is ideal for shallow water or when you want your fly to stay on the water’s surface. In contrast, the sinking line is essential for deeper waters or when you need the fly to sink rapidly.
  • Fly Leader for Walleye: A 6- to 8-foot leader made of fluorocarbon is the right choice. Fluorocarbon is strong and less visible to fish compared to monofilament.
  • Stripping Basket or Reel: A stripping basket or reel is indispensable for managing and storing the fly line. It’s essential to quickly retrieve the line when a fish strikes.
  • Walleye Flies:Explore a variety of walleye fly patterns, including streamers (mimicking baitfish), leeches (imitating leeches), and minnow imitations (small flies resembling minnows).

Check How To Jig For Walleye?

How to Fly Fish for Walleye?

With these gear essentials mentioned above, you are prepared to venture into the world of fly fishing for walleye. Long casts and a cautious approach are essential. Once your fly is in the water, let it sink to the bottom, then retrieve it slowly with occasional pauses, as walleye often strike during these pauses. In river settings, you can also try swinging your fly across the current, which can effectively entice walleye hiding behind rocks or other underwater structures.

How to Fly Fish for Walleye

Fly fishing for walleye can be challenging but incredibly rewarding. With practice, you can consistently catch walleye on the fly. Experiment with different fly sizes and colours to cater to their selective eating habits. Early mornings and late evenings are prime fishing times, as walleye are most active during these periods. 

Patience is key, as it might take some time to locate and successfully catch Walleye using this method. Nevertheless, the rewards of fly fishing for Walleye make the effort more than worthwhile. It offers a blend of challenge, skill, and a strong connection with nature that many anglers find deeply satisfying.

How to Fly Fish for Walleye at night?

Nighttime fly fishing for Walleye requires some adjustments in both gear and approach. Equip yourself with a headlamp or flashlight for visibility. You will need a sturdier 6- to 8-weight fly rod and a sinking fly line to reach the bottom where walleye often feed. Use a shorter leader, around 6 to 7 feet, and select dark-colored flies for better low-light visibility. Practice stealth in your approach, making cautious, long casts. Fish deliberately, as Walleye, tend to favour slower-moving flies at night. Patience is key, as locating and catching walleye in the darkness might take a while.

How to Fly Fish for Walleye at night

Some additional tips for successful nighttime fly fishing for walleye:

  • Seek areas with underwater structures like rocks, weeds, and drop-offs, where walleye often congregate.
  • Keep an eye out for baitfish, as walleye trail their prey.
  • Experiment with different fly patterns and techniques to cater to walleye’s selective eating habits.

Popular night walleye fly patterns include the Clouser Minnow, Woolly Bugger, Deceiver, Half-and-Half, leech, and minnow patterns. Additionally, insect imitations like mayfly nymphs, caddis nymphs, and stonefly nymphs can be effective for nighttime walleye fishing. While it can be challenging, with practice, you’ll consistently enjoy the rewards of fly fishing for walleye at night.

How to Fly Fish for Walleye from Shore?

When fly fishing for Walleye from the shore, it is crucial to select a spot with good water access and potential walleye presence, often near structures like rocks and weeds. These fish tend to school together, increasing your chances if you spot one. Once your location is chosen, set up your gear by attaching your fly line to the leader and fly, then cast it into the water, allowing it to sink. To retrieve the fly effectively, strip the line slowly with pauses, as Walleye are known to strike during pauses. 

In river settings, consider swinging the fly across the current to target fish behind rocks or structures. A sinking fly line is recommended to reach the Walleye at the water’s bottom. Remember to fish slowly and be patient, as success may take time. 

How to Fly Fish for Walleye from Shore

Popular fly patterns include the Clouser Minnow, Woolly Bugger, Deceiver, Half-and-Half, leech, and minnow patterns. Insect imitations like mayfly nymphs, caddis nymphs, and stonefly nymphs can also be effective. While fly fishing for shore based Walleye can be challenging, with practice, you can consistently reel in these fish using fly techniques.

How to Fly Fish for Walleye in River?

When fly fishing for Walleye in a river, choose a location with easy access and suitable Walleye habitats like rocks and drop-offs. After setting up your gear, cast your fly to the riverbed and retrieve it slowly with occasional pauses, as walleye often strike during these breaks. Use a sinking fly line, be patient, and fish during dawn or dusk when they are most active. Approach stealthily, make long casts, and experiment with fly sizes and colours. Popular fly patterns include the Clouser Minnow, Woolly Bugger, Deceiver, and insect imitations. You can consistently enjoy the rewards of fly fishing for river walleye with practice.

How to Fly Fish for Walleye in River?

What Flies to use for Walleye?

Best Walleye fly

Best Walleye fly

selection can vary depending on the specific conditions, but some popular and effective fly patterns include:

Clouser Minnow

Clouser Minnow

A versatile and productive pattern that sinks quickly to the desired depth.

Woolly Bugger

Woolly Bugger

Can mimic leeches or baitfish in various colours and is a go-to pattern for many Walleye fly anglers.



Another baitfish imitation with a long, slender profile suitable for enticing Walleye.



A hybrid pattern that combines the features of a Deceiver and a Clouser Minnow, offering the best of both worlds.

Leech Patterns

Leech Patterns

Leech imitations can be effective, especially when walleye feed these aquatic creatures.

Minnow Patterns

Minnow Patterns

Various minnow imitations, such as Muddler Minnows or other streamer patterns, can attract Walleye.

Insect Imitations

Insect Imitations

Mayfly nymphs, caddis nymphs, and stonefly nymphs can succeed when Walleye feed on insects.

Selecting the right fly for Walleye depends on factors like water depth, clarity, and walleye behaviour in your chosen area. It is wise to carry an assortment of flies in different colours and sizes for experimentation, aligning with what the Walleye are feeding on. Consider seasonal preferences:

  • Minnows and crawfish in spring 
  • Insects like mayflies and caddisflies in summer
  • Baitfish in the fall 

Adjust fly size based on water clarity, choosing smaller and larger flies in clear water in murky conditions. For deeper waters, opt for heavier flies that sink rapidly, and be mindful of other fish species in the area. With some trial and error, you can discover the ideal flies for walleye fishing in your region.

Streamers For Walleye

Streamers, a fly fishing lure, are crafted to mimic the appearance of baitfish, leeches, and various aquatic prey that fish commonly feed on. These flies are characteristically larger and heavier than other fly types, often retrieved quickly to emulate natural swimming movements. They enjoy the popularity of fly fishing for predatory species like trout, bass, and others. Here are some of the best streamers for Walleye:

Streamers For Walleye
  • Clouser Minnow: A versatile and highly effective streamer pattern, it excels at imitating a wide range of baitfish.
  • Woolly Bugger: Another versatile streamer pattern stands out for its ability to mimic diverse prey, including baitfish and leeches. Notably, this fly is known for its durability, rendering it an excellent option for angling in locations with rugged, obstacle-laden terrain.
  • Deceiver: This streamer is renowned for its eye-catching appearance and lifelike swimming motion. It serves as a standout baitfish imitation. It is an excellent selection for clear water conditions and when Walleye are actively pursuing aggressive baitfish as their prey.
  • Half-and-Half: A hybrid fly pattern cleverly melds the qualities of a Clouser Minnow and a Deceiver. It’s a versatile choice suitable for various fishing conditions and effectively targets Walleye with diverse feeding preferences.
  • Leech Patterns: Leech patterns prove highly effective when Walleye are actively preying on leeches. With a variety of leech patterns at your disposal, it is crucial to select one that matches the size and type of leeches prevalent in the specific waterbody you are angling in, enhancing your chances of success.

These flies come in assorted colours and sizes, with olive, black, white, and chartreuse favoured choices. Streamers can incorporate various materials like feathers, fur, and synthetics.

Typically, anglers use sinking fly lines or tips when fishing with streamers. The technique involves casting the streamer and retrieving it with brisk, jerky motions, producing an enticing swimming action that attracts fish. 

When choosing Walleye streamers, consider water depth, clarity, baitfish, and the season. Deeper waters call for heavier streamers, clear waters suit smaller ones, and matching baitfish can be crucial. Walleye feeding habits vary by season. Having a variety of streamers in different sizes and colours is essential for experimentation based on their current preferences.

My Final Thoughts

Though it presents challenges, fly fishing for Walleye offers a unique and rewarding angling experience. Choosing the right flies, understanding water conditions, and adapting to the Walleye’s preferences are key to success. This method can be highly satisfying whether from shore, in rivers or even at night. While fly fishing may demand skill, patience, and specialized gear, the connection with nature and the thrill of the pursuit make it a beloved choice for some anglers. Ultimately, the most important aspect is to enjoy the journey and relish the rewards of catching these remarkable fish in diverse fishing environments.

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