Walleye Fishing with Artificial Bait Increasing

Fishing along the mouth of the Current River in Thunder Bay
Fishing along the mouth of the Current River in Thunder Bay
Fishing along the mouth of the Current River in Thunder Bay
Fishing along the mouth of the Current River in Thunder Bay

More walleye anglers turning to artificials…but don’t think live bait is dead

Minneapolis, MN  – Target Walleye recently surveyed readers about their favorite walleye-fishing tactics. The most interesting statistic is the amount of walleye fishing now done with artificial lures.

Anglers from every corner of the walleye world were surveyed about how often they fished various tactics. Three-fourths of Target Walleye readers use lures for at least half their walleye fishing. Almost one-third chase walleyes with artificials 75-percent of the time. Another third use artificial lures half of their fishing time and live bait the other half. Seven percent of respondents use only artificial lures for walleyes. One-fourth of respondents use live bait 75 percent of the time.

BOTTOM LINE. Walleye fishing has changed big-time over the past few decades.

“Anglers today are extremely versatile,” said Target Walleye co-owner Al Lindner. “Fishing walleyes with artificials has gained widespread acceptance, because artificial lures are extremely effective. Thanks to Target Walleye, more and more fishermen are learning about the latest walleye-fishing tactics and are incorporating them with tried-and-true techniques like bottom-bouncers.”

The survey also showed that many anglers are jigging hard-bodied baits like Rapala Jigging Raps, an open-water craze Al Lindner introduced to the walleye world less than five years ago. Jigs with soft-plastics continue to play a key role for most Target Walleye subscribers.

Super good news for anglers: the soft plastics category continues to grow in scope, creativity and efficacy. “It’s now easier than ever before to gain confidence in soft plastics for walleyes,” says Walt Matan, expert angler and lure designer for Custom Jigs & Spins. “A Custom Jigs’ AuthentX Moxi is an absolute phenom in rivers and darker water lakes. While swimbaits like the AuthentX Pulse-R shines in shallow water and vegetation.

“Best news of all, these baits are fun and easy to fish.”

Meanwhile, at the heart of walleye fishing to this day are anglers who trust, utilize and catch most of their walleyes with live bait — as evidenced by the statistics.

“Both tournament fishermen and casual anglers harbor overflowing confidence in live bait,” says walleye ace Brian “Bro” Brosdahl. “They know hitting the water with minnows, crawlers or leeches is still often the fastest, most effective way to put a limit of eaters, or even a trophy, into the boat.”

Given the current climate of fisheries relative to invasive species, VHS and other issues, Bro also notes: “It’s nice to know I can still throw a bunch of minnows into my aerated Frabill AquaLife Bait Station and keep them happy and healthy all day on the water. And at the end of the day, I can take my bait home and not have to dump it into the garbage and waste it.

“Frabill bait-care gear saves money, helps catch walleyes and keeps me 100-percent legal.”

Spry, often-hard-to-find redtail chubs aside, Bro whips artificials with a wand, too. The St. Croix Rod devotee makes this recommendation: “For jigs with plastics and twitching stickbaits, I like a 6′ 10″ to 7′ medium-action rod. My favorite being a St. Croix Legend Elite. Dropping down in dollars, the 7′ medium-light and medium Eyecons are great choices as well.”

Your takeaway? Muster up the confidence to throw artificials, while never abandoning that minnow on a simple bottom-rig that fooled your very first walleye.

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