Walleye on the fly is a fact! You can accomplish it with some simple walleye feeding knowledge, how to read the water of the river and lake you are on, and fishing in the transition periods. They may not fight like a sought after trophy fish, but it is a challenge and one to certainly accept on the fly rod!
Redd’s Gear Guide:
ROD: 6, 7, or 8 weight 4 piece 9 foot fly rod – medium to fast action. I recommend Thomas and Thomas fly rods
REEL: Smooth drag fly reel matching the rod weight with a spare spool. I recommend Ross Reels or Abel.
LINE: Cortland weighted forward (wf) , floating line that matches the rod weight (ie: 7 weight rod, you will need 7 weight line) and full fast sinking line (300 – 350 grain) – a spare spool is handy to switch out sinking to floating. Or you can buy 2 rods and 2 reels – one for floating and one for sinking – depending on your budget.
Tippet: I recommend 1 foot of 10 lb test steel bite tippet from Cortland lines. It’s a supple, nylon-coated, multistrand stainless-steel leader material that’s tie-able but is tough enough to stand up to the sharpest teeth bite. Many times walleye fly’s are eaten by pike! Prevent fly loss by using this specialized toothy pike tippet.
Leader: A short 3-4 foot flouro leader (10 / 12 lb test)
Best Knot to fly: Non slip loop knot for maximum fly movement.
FLY’S: I use 1 to 3 inch streamer bait fish patterns in a wide variety of color combinations such as: silver, white and bright green, black, blue, and chartreuse all with a bit of flash added in – as you explore fly’s you will find what works. Don’t forget leach and crayfish patterns in sizes 2 and 4.
Popular names of fly’s that mimic the classic conventional jig + minnow are: Muddler minnow & clouser minnow. More to consider: white cone-headed zuddler, bead-headed sparkle leach, clouser minnow in pink/white, chartreuse/white, and tutti frutti (pink/chartreuse) are all hot color combos. white or black gurgler for suspended fly technique. UV glow in the dark flashabou streamer (use a uv light on this fly and it’ll be extra bright for low light or depth).
Hooks: I use and recommend Mustad hooks.
Also, an excellent fly to add to any fly box is the classic “ woolly bugger “.
Where there are perch, use perch patterns! I have had walleye eat 8 inch perch pattern pike fly’s – Walleye are not shy if they want it!
Dry fly’s that are used for trout are also good for walleye: Take note of the hatches in your area, and match them in fly’s. A good dry fly box has a large variety of fly’s for the seasons.
Let’s talk quickly on ethics in fishing. Regardless of taking home walleye for dinner, fish are sentient beings and they deserve respect. In my humble opinion, keeping fish on a stringer for hours on end till you catch your limit is not ok. If you are fishing to keep, then ethically harvest your fish and store in a cooler, bucket, ect. Another practice I have seen is keeping walleye dangling on a stringer till a bigger one is caught – and then switched out. No matter how “hardy” walleye may seem, that released fish is exhausted and likely won’t live.