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There’s a nip in the air coupled with a healthy chop on the water. The bold reds and yellows that symbolize autumn have taken over, and the shoreline looks like fire. Avid anglers know there’s no better time than now to cast a line for the renowned sport fish of the Midwest, walleye.
As is the case with most fish species, it’s no secret that walleye aggressively feed in the fall right before winter rolls around. During the fall turnover, the rapid cooling of the upper water level causes the lakes to mix and churn, and deeper water oxygenates.
In turn, this opens up the depths for walleyes. More often than not, they find a deep structure for their newly-discovered hunting grounds. In this case, a boatload of lures such as spoons, jigs, and deep-diving crankbaits are ideal.
In parts of the lake where the turnover is yet to occur, walleyes still patrol considerably shallower points, weed lines, and sandbars. Worms, mid-depth crankbaits, and spinners get the job done in these environments.
With fall’s ever-changing conditions, be prepared for anything is important. Therefore, here are some of the best walleye lures to have in your arsenal that will drive these fish species wild this fall.
Lauded by a multitude of connoisseurs as the most iconic walleye of all time, there’s no denying that the Cotton Cordell Wally Diver is a proven classic that has earned a special place in every walleye angler’s tackle box.
Designed to be trolled or cast straight out of the box, its baitfish structure closely resembles a wealth of forage species, making it perfect for freshwater systems across North America.
The slender profile of the Cotton Cordell Wally Diver paves the way for the required tight wiggling movement to trigger large bites. However, once you stop reeling, it sits motionless, creating an impressively realistic presentation.
You can take your pick from 2 sizes: 3 1/8 and 2½ inches. The smaller-sized lure has a maximum dive depth of 8ft on the cast and 11 ft upon trolling, whereas the larger lure can soar to a depth of 18ft when trolled and 11ft on the cast.
Regardless of the size that you opt for, the lure’s two sharp treble hooks guarantee an effective hook set when the walleyes strike.
Designed to appeal to the walleye feeding instincts, you can choose between the various color patterns of the Wally Diver, such as chrome black or blue, chartreuse perch, and fluorescent black or red.
There’s a boatload of walleye crankbaits that have littered the market, most of which are tailored to get the job done perfectly in certain environments.
Nonetheless, the versatility of the Rapala Shad Rap sets it apart from the pack. It’s ideal for trolling and casting and provides a successful outcome regardless of whether it’s dished at rapid or overly slow speeds.
The Shad Rap 07 linked here has a running depth that ranges from 5ft to 11ft, which you can regulate by adjusting the speed of your retrieve. Furthermore, it’s tank-tested and hand-tuned to make sure it stands up to the brand’s reputation for unmatched quality.
Constructed from top-grade balsa wood, the Rap 07 has a detailed paint finish in a vast assortment of successfully proven fish-catching designs, some of which are impressively realistic.
Examples include the perch, shad, and bluegill. Other designs are geared towards optimum visibility in stained waters, for instance, hot tiger and purple descent.
Select the pattern that is best suited to your local fishing environment, then delight in the effectiveness of the wounded minnow action coupled with a natural baitfish profile. All sizes constitute two sharp black nickel VMC treble hooks along with a diving lip.
As is the case with al Rapala baits, the Husky Jerk 08 is tank-tested and hand-tuned. Depending on the model, it’s fitted with 2 or 3 black nickel VMC treble hooks and is well-balanced to run true at any speed, irrespective of whether you’re trolling or casting.
What sets the Husky Jerk 08 apart from the pack is the neutral and flawless buoyancy that allows it to hang suspended in the water when it’s stationary. As a result, this creates the illusion of an easy target that even the most reluctant walleye can’t ignore.
The bait also constitutes a rattle chamber that discharges easily detectable sound waves by the fish’s lateral line.
As a result, this aids in triggering bites in even the murkiest waters. Based on the size, the lure has a running depth ranging from 4ft to 6ft as well as 6ft to 8ft.
Take your pick from 3 varying superior finishes (natural, metallic, and glass) alongside a set of deadly color patterns, including blue minnow and baby bass.
It’s no secret that blade baits come in handy right at the start of winter when temperatures begin to plummet, causing baitfish to die off in multitudes.
As a result, they make the most of this natural occurrence by replicating the action of struggling fish. Johnson Thinfisher is a great example of blade bait that boasts an oversized eye, a realistic profile, and true-to-life colors that range from the purple tiger and chartreuse pearl to black-gold.
Furthermore, the lure has a modifiable retrieval that takes the form of an attachable change snap to 3 varying tow points. One slow-speed retrieve with a broad vibration, another for high-speed retrieve with a light vibration, and a medium-retrieve that serves as the balance between the high and low tow points.
You can vertically jig the Johnson Thinfisher, allowing it to continuously swim back down through the strike area. However, you decide to utilize it, a sonic rattle chamber lures in predatory fish, generating vibrations through the water.
After they are activated, the two black treble hooks aid in translating a strike at the end of the line into a trophy walleye on the bank or fishing canoe.
5. Best Soft Plastic: PowerBait Power Grubs Limited Edition
According to Berkley, a reputable tackle company, their PowerBait Power Grubs Limited Edition is corkscrew-shaped, guarantees excellent performance even at slower speeds compared to its rivals.
These soft plastic lures come in 3-inch and 2-inch sizes with a bulky body that makes it a breeze to rig them for a boatload of various fishing techniques and environments. They particularly get the job done upon jigging them vertically for suspended walleyes.
Available in a re-sealable pack of 15, Power Grubs Limited Edition is impregnated with the unique Berkley’s PowerBait formula. It’s an irresistible flavor and scent that has been developed for more than two decades as a means of encouraging fish to hold on up to 18 times longer.
As a result, you have ample time to feel each bite, set the hook, and reel in your walleyes. The available color options for this walleye lure are pumpkinseed, black, pearl white, and firetiger. Some colors are spruced up with glitter pieces, reflecting the light and increasing visibility, which triggers more bites.
A Spinnerbait is fairly tangle-free, making it your best bet to aggressively feed walleye in areas with plenty to cover.
The Terminator Super Stainless Spinnerbait comes in top-grade titanium construction paired with a premium black VMC hook and ball bearing swivel for unrivaled longevity. Its dual blades are built to displace large bodies of water, generating strong vibrations required to activate the ferocious strikes you desire.
You can take your pick from the Willow/Colorado for increased sonic transmission that comes in handy in murky waters and Willow/Willow blade shapes for rapid retrieval speeds. Moreover, the blades are nickel-plated or gold-plated, depending on your preferred model.
All blades are bevel-edged, giving off a more realistic baitfish flash. They are complemented by the lure’s impressively convincing baitfish head coupled with the natural action of the exchangeable premium silicone skirt.
Upon choosing your preferred blade shape, select one of the two weight variations (3/8 ounces and ½ ounce) in color patterns ranging from silver shad and hot tip chartreuse to gold shimmer.
7. Best for Trolling: Storm Hot 'N Tot Mad-Flash 05
It’s one of the best walleye lures that harness the popularly erratic side-to-side diving and searching action of its predecessor, Storm Hot ‘N Tot. Although the Mad Flash 05 boasts the same unique metal diving lip and mold dimensions, it’s better suited to troll behind a boat.
What makes it the upgrade to its predecessor is that the Storm Hot ‘N Tot Mad Flash 05 comes in a vast assortment of innovative fish-catching patterns and colors. These include classic UV, holographic, or chrome finishes and a detailed fish scale pattern.
You can choose any of the variations such as chartreuse purple shad, iridescent ghost flash, chrome orange, and chrome blue. Each pattern comes with 3D holographic eyes that deliver a remarkably realistic appearance, proving fatal for unsuspecting walleyes, not forgetting two black VMC nickel treble hooks.
The Storm Hot ‘N Tot Mad Flash 05 lure comes in 2 sizes, including a bigger version slightly over 2-inches and the 2-inch variant. The latter has a running depth that ranges from 5 ft to 14 ft, whereas the former runs from 7 ft to 20 ft.
As one of the best walleye lures, this spinner rig is categorized as a ‘bottom bouncer.’ The Berkley Walleye Spinner Rig comprises a set of vibrantly-colored beads and spinners accompanied by two independent Octopus hooks that are usually topped with a live night-crawler.
These rigs get the phrase ‘bottom bouncer’ as their objective is to troll them at an ample pace that allows you to bounce the lure on the bottom and generate continuous vibrations with the blades.
9. Best Texas-rigged Worms: Berkley PowerBait Worms
A multitude of anglers may not realize that Texas-rigged worms are an excellent option for baiting walleyes.
As such, the Berkley PowerBait Worms are soaring in popularity in the fishing industry due to their impressively powerful scent. While there’s no denying they are repugnant to people, power worms trigger bites in the slowest fishing environments.
With a Texas rig, you can fish the worm at your preferred slow pace for finicky fish in varying depths. Fish revel in PowerBait that they hold on up to 18 times longer, gracing you with the confidence and time to feel more bites.
As a prolific walleye lure, the Northland Tackle has the uncanny ability to draw in and catch a vast assortment of fish. It does so courtesy of a sensitive metallic propelling blade that utilizes sonic vibration coupled with flash to lure walleye and other fish in and prompt them to strike.
The Northland Tackle ‘helicopters down’ at nearly half the speed of a weighted jig on the fall. Moreover, it appears dynamite in crystal clear water and relatively clear in murky water. Simply rig it, jig it, and you’re good to go!
11. Best Lipless Crankbait: Strike King Red Eye Shad Bait
It derives its name from the unique red eye that dazzles every time light reflects off of it. Furthermore, the Strike King Red Eye Shad Bait has a built-in rattle that attracts walleye to hone in on it. Ideal for shallower waters, lipless crankbaits are sinking lures that allow you to control the depth at which they run via a slow count before you begin retrieving them.
The Strike King Red Eye Shad Bait features 3D eyes, a wide range of color patterns, free-floating rattles, and top-grade hooks to deliver the best sound and action that other lipless crankbaits can’t match up to. Additionally, you can choose the size that works best for you, ranging from ¾-ounce and ¼- ounce to ½-ounce.
While there’s a wealth of walleye lures, narrowing down your search to the 11 options reviewed above will yield the best outcome that will spark a smile. With the best walleye lures in your corner, you can rest easy knowing they’ll get the job done regardless of the season, conditions, or lighting. After all, they have stood the test of time, so order yours today!