How to Catch Walleye on Leech Lake
June 2, 2021
Are you ready for a summer of fishing on Leech Lake?
While you can catch bass, perch and other finned beauties from our clear blue water, there really is nothing like Leech Lake walleye. You’ll recognize these fish by their olive green and gold color, with a white-tipped tail that you can’t miss.
So just how do you catch the best walleye on Leech Lake? Our local perspective, combined with our friends at Explore Minnesota, are here to give you some tips!
Where do the walleye bite on Leech Lake?
When Minnesota’s sacred Spring Opener began a few weeks ago, walleye were either spawning or had just completed spawning. Walleye are known to spawn over on the clean bottoms of shallow water, so our clear blue water can only help spring Leech Lake fishing! Walleye also naturally spawn near shallow, oxygen-rich creeks and currents, safe from large predators.
However, as the water gets warmer, vegetation in the water grows — beginning early this month due to the extraordinary warm-water temps. This means walleye will transition to new areas to spend the summer. This summer on Leech Lake, you’ll find walleye hovering on drop-offs, and off the edges of the many sunken islands off the shores of Walker Bay. Fish will also move to sand or gravel points, shoreline flats, weed beds and rock reefs. During the daylight, make sure to throw a line over lake vegetation to find the elusive walleye hiding nearby.
When will the walleye bite on Leech Lake?
On a sunny summer day, fish deep. Your depth-finder or sonar equipment will help you determine just how deep to throw that line.
For tips on which bait to use, we turned to local Leech Lake fishing guide, Jim Murphy. Jim suggests using a ¼ to ⅜ ounce Northland jig, tipped with a minnow or leech. Jim says it also helps to use leeches or worms, specifically night crawlers — worms that are known to crawl above ground after dark. He recommends bottom-bouncers and spinner rigs to reach deeper waters.
Fishing on a cloudy day or when the sun goes down? Walleye may become more active and move up near the shallows during low-light periods, especially near Walker Bay’s sandy points and the big lake’s rocky reefs. And they’ll be hungry! In these conditions, a jig tipped with a live minnow is an excellent choice. Murphy suggests using crank baits while fishing at night. Crank baits dive under the water and stay submerged, acting as live bait tempting the hard-to-catch walleye.
How should you walleye fish on Leech Lake?
Just like our friends at Explore Minnesota say, if you set out to catch walleye on Leech Lake, set out with a plan.
Walleye are the most active during the low-light hours, so fishing on Leech Lake in the early morning or late evening could bring great success, as winds are low. Though like we said, if it’s cloudy or windy, the walleye may bite all day!
Walleye fishing doesn’t have to be expensive, and a handful of lures, like the ones mentioned above, or your everyday jig with a minnow will do! Experiment with different colored jigs as different weather conditions and lake bottom coverage will determine what color might be hot that day. Other favorite lures on Leech Lake consist of Rogues, Shad Raps and Rapalas. If you’re fishing in your boat, take it trolling — starting with 8 to 10 feet of water — to find where you get a bite or two. Local experts have found trolling especially effective while night-fishing. If you locate one, there’s a good chance there are more to follow.
Most importantly, don’t forget to have fun walleye fishing on Leech Lake and enjoy your day — or night! Then enjoy a brew and a bite to eat at our local restaurants, and get some rest at one of our resorts and lodging properties to maximize your stay on Leech Lake.