Walleye Information, Photos, and Facts
Named for its eyes, the Walleye has a reflective film of pigment coving its eyes, helping it see in murky waters. This special adaptation, combined with its razor-sharp teeth, makes this popular game fish an effective predator.
The interesting appearance, lovely taste, and distinctive habitat of the Walleye (Sander vitreus) makes it a very popular freshwater game fish in North America. American Expedition is proud to present information, interesting facts, and photos of the Walleye.
The walleye is the biggest member of the perch family and is a very common freshwater game fish. On average, they measure 10 to 18 inches long and weigh 1 to 3 pounds, yet can grow to be well over this size. Walleye are olive and gold in color fading to a white underside. They have large dark spots on their back and smaller dark spots on their fins. This fish has a large mouth filled with many razor-sharp teeth.
The walleye gets its name from a special pigment layer in its eye that reflects lights. This allows them to see more clearly in dark and murky water. Because of this, they are sensitive to light and will venture into deep waters on clear days.
Spawning season occurs in the spring, mainly the month of April, when the water reaches around 40-55 degrees Fahrenheit. The eggs (up to 500,000) are deposited by the female into shallow water. They hatch in about 10 days and feed on plankton and insects. Neither the mother nor the father care for the babies. The lifespan of a walleye is about 10 years.
- The current world record walleye is 25 pounds and was caught in Tennessee in 1960.
- Although the walleye is not related to the pike, they are sometimes known as “Yellow Pike.”
- Baby walleye are called “fries.”
- These fish are typically found in depths of 15 to 30 feet.
- During the nighttime, walleye will come closer to the shore.
- The oldest recorded age for a walleye was 29 years.
- Walleye are ranked high in the food chain.
- Walleye are known for their delicious and finely textured meat. They are the most sought after fish in many northern states.
- Walleye is the state fish of Minnesota, South Dakota, Ohio and Vermont.
- Walleye are believed to only see the colors red and green.
- Walleye prefer cold water over warm water.
Walleye are found throughout most of Canada and the northern United States, and have been introduced to other states in the U.S. as well. Because of their sensitivity to light, walleye dwell in the cloudy water of rivers, streams, lakes, and other region of freshwater. They like to rest on rock or sandy bottoms and have many weeds to forage in. They will oftentimes occupy weed beds or the inside of logs to escape the light.
What Do Walleye Eat?
Walleye primarily feed in the low-light conditions of early morning and dusk. They tend to be most active on overcast days and windy days with choppy water. In more turbid or murky water, they will feed throughout the day. A walleye’s diet consists mainly of other fish, but they will also feed on crayfish, worms, and minnows.
Walleye Fishing Tips
- Feeding habits depend on a variety of different factors such as weather, season, and time of day.
- Due to sensitivity to light, walleye are more active at night.
- At night, walleye come to shallower water to feed.
- During the day, the walleye reside in deeper parts of the water.
- Before and after breeding season is the easiest time to hook a walleye. They are active, present in large numbers, and hungry.
- Although springtime will give you the most luck out on the water, walleye can bite year-round.
- Find the correct fishing reel that you feel most comfortable using. The spin cast reel is the easiest to use for a beginner.
- Use gloves when holding a walleye. The teeth and dorsal fin of a walleye are both very sharp!
- The most common lures used for walleye fishing are jigs and crankbaits.
- Each state has varying fishing regulations. It is important to educate yourself on them before going out to fish.
- Remember to acquire a fishing permit if taking up this sport. Fishing without a permit is illegal and could result in a fine. Many states allow young children or veterans to fish without a permit.
- Although many fish have an open season of all year, there are some that do not. Look at your state’s regulations to find out when you are allowed to fish.
- Most states have a length limit for their fish. If the fish you caught does not measure the minimum, it is required that you let it go. There are sometimes maximum limits for certain fish as well.
- Most states also have daily limits, or the amount of a certain fish you can keep in one day.
In this video, a walleye strikes at a rapala underwater.
Unlike the person in this photo, you should use gloves when holding a walleye. The teeth and dorsal fin of a walleye are both very sharp!
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Walleye prefer cold water to warm water.
The current world record walleye is 25 pounds and was caught in Tennessee in 1960. This walleye is not nearly as big.
Walleye is the state fish of Minnesota, South Dakota, Ohio and Vermont.
Before and after breeding season is the easiest time to hook a walleye. They are active, present in large numbers, and hungry.
The walleye's sharp teeth help make it an effective predator.