How to Catch Walleye: The “Silent Partner” Method

Are you one of those adventurous people who are looking for some walleye fishing techniques and tips? Here’s a tip — Consider thinking of the walleye as your “silent partner” in your fishing adventure. Let me explain.

You could be interested in planning a fishing vacation to catch some walleye? You could be eager to experience some of the Canadian fishing lore of catching nice sized fish in an atmosphere of remote, pristine waters? If so, you are not alone.

Sure, almost anyone can go to Canada (or northern USA states) and enjoy the beautiful pine-scented, boreal forest and have a great time in a remote cabin on the edge of a cold water lake. That is the easy part. However, if you want to add the pleasure of also getting out on the lake and catching the prized walleye, that part takes some additional preparation.

Not only must you have all the rods, reels, line, lures, and all the other fishing gear to get the job done, but you also need some good old-fashioned knowledge or experience in finding and catching these seemingly elusive fish. That is where reading this and other articles comes in.

Yes, fishermen have developed websites and they contain information on specialized lures and fishing camps sent periodic reports for their particular lake. Yes, all that is great information and you should gather and use it to your advantage… information is the key. But, there is an additional aspect of fishing for walleye for you to consider.

Do you remember the movie “Cool Hand Luke”? It was a movie (starring Paul Newman) about a disgustingly primitive prison in the southern USA swampland. In one of the scenes, a prison guard supervisor was lecturing the inmates about learning to cope with the harsh prison life. He said to the prisoners, “You have to get your mind right”!

Well, the same idea can apply to walleye fishing. In this case, thinking of the walleye as your silent partner helps “get your mind right”!

Here’s the idea. Think about this. All the walleye in the lake are perfectly willing to cooperate in your quest to have a great fishing adventure. They will eagerly take your bait and are happy to give you the great, heart-thumping pleasure in wrestling them into your boat. They will even be glad to provide the basis of a tasty, memorable Canadian open-fire shore lunch. In this way, they are your partner in experiencing a great fishing trip.

All you have to do is give them a chance. They are not the enemy. They are not hiding. They are not avoiding you. They don’t run and hide in the depths when you approach. To be sure, they can be finicky and a little hard to please at times. However, overall they will agree to help “make your day”.

You might say, “That’s a lot of B.S. I’ve been out on the lake for hours and never got a bite”. The question one has to ask is, “Where were you”?

We know where the fish were. They were/are where they always are. They are in places that make them feel safe. They are at depths where the light and temperature conditions are comfortable. They are in places with food available. Where were you?

The walleye are there-in numerous places all over the lake that give them all the things above. They are there — swimming around and doing what fish do. So, how do you make them your partner?

The walleye are there-waiting for you to show up. All you have to do is:

a. drive your boat over to their location
b. drop something they like to eat (bait/lure)in the water
c. Send it down to their depth and
d. make it look interesting

When you do that… BANG, you get that Tug-Tug on your line and the fun begins. The walleye on your line has become your fishing partner. You have done your part. The walleye has done its part. There is a nice balance.

WOW! It’s so simple, eh? In many ways-yes, it’s simple. It’s simple enough to learn about the walleye, its habits, favorite habitat, food preferences, etc. It’s simple to learn about when and why walleye move around the lake in response to the seasons. The more you know about this stuff, the easier it is to find where the walleye are waiting. Learning all the details you need is not difficult.

There is a lot of acreage in most lakes. There are billions of gallons of water. However, a good part of the lake area is what might be termed “dead water”. You must know that walleye do not just universally litter the bottom of the lake. You cannot just stop your boat anywhere and expect to catch a fish.

Walleye will only be comfortable in a very small percentage of the lake environment. And, that is where they are swimming around…waiting. You have to learn to eliminate the “dead water”.

If you are a “rookie”, the odds of you jumping in a boat, heading out on a lake, throwing out some lines and stumbling onto a mess of nice walleye are very slim. The balance is all out-of-whack. The makings of a good partnership are not there.

Fishermen with limited experience in catching walleye will usually opt to hire a guide to take them to where the walleye are waiting. That is fine. We recommend it. It can be very educational. However, it is also very expensive.

It’s been a long time, but my fishing group (55+ years in Canada) have been there-done that. Sooner or later, you too will gain enough experience to easily find walleye. It’s your job to make the time frame as short as possible.

We mentioned balance above. In nature, there is always some measure of balance, but it is not always perfect. Sometimes the scales can be heavily over weighted to one side. Take the example of a rookie fisherman against the walleye.

On the one hand you have the walleye. They know their comfort zones and where to find them. They know exactly where they are in their environment. They know what they like to eat. They hover around their favorite places swimming, resting, and/or waiting to eat. The walleye are not looking for you.

On the other hand, we have a fisherman. He/she may not have a clue about any of these things. He doesn’t really know where the walleye are or why. Inexperienced walleye fishermen learn quickly that the scale or balance is heavily weighted in favor of the fishes that their location will remain a secret.

So, how can we shift the balance back toward the fisherman? What is the key? The key is information (substitute experience), of course! Information and experience changes everything and shifts the balance. That is what makes for a good partnership.

We realize that not everybody can get to Canada or go walleye fishing on a regular basis. Even taking a trip every year is not always possible. My fishing group has been fortunate. We have taken an annual trip to Canada every year since about 1955.

To make a long story short, we have gathered a ton of information in our 50+ years of hunting the prized walleye. And, you can too. Our goal in writing this and other articles is to keep the balance tipping in your favor. When fishermen get the balance shifted in their favor, or at least to a balanced position, they may WANT to hire a guide, but they won’t NEED to.

How is that for a walleye fishing technique or tip? It is maybe a bit esoteric, but we hope you get the point. Yes, it’s true–walleye can actually be your “silent partner” in a great fishing trip.

It helps to… “Get your mind right”! Grab all the background information you can to keep the balance fair. Start a plan to get out there and find where they are waiting. It’s a great adventure in the making!

Walleye Fishing is not a matter of life and death. It’s more important than that!