Walleye Freshwater Game Fishing Gold
The largest member of the perch family, Sander vitreus, has a dedicated angling following throughout most of the eastern United States and Canada. The walleye is the state fish of Minnesota and South Dakota and the official fish of Saskatchewan, but it’s a popular table fish across its entire range. Native to major river drainages in the Upper Midwest and large, windswept lakes, the walleye is a true freshwater creature. It does not survive in salt or brackish water. Walleyes in northern states average one to two pounds, but individuals can exceed 10 pounds. Close relatives to the walleye include the yellow perch, sauger, and European zander.
Don’t lip a walleye like you would a bass! These sharp-toothed predators can feed aggressively, especially in the late spring after recovering from their post-ice-out spawn. Small perch and other minnows, as well as insects, provide the bulk of a walleye’s diet, and its unique vision gives it an advantage over prey during low-light periods. Prime hours for catching walleyes often coincide with dawn or dusk, at night during the species’ nocturnal feeding binges, or even during the day when a windy “walleye chop” creates turbid, low-visibility underwater conditions. Walleyes are active much of the year, thus providing great ice-angling for the species. Anglers often use live minnows or lures that mimic small fish to catch walleyes. Stocked around the country (and beyond), the walleye offers thick, white fillets, making it arguably the most pursued species for fish fries.