Shallow Water Crankin’
When walleye are in the shallows, you can use shallower running crankbaits to target these fish. These situations usually occur in the spring as fish move shallower to spawn, in rivers where there is more oxygen throughout the different water columns and in low light conditions as walleye move shallow to feed at first light, in the evening before dark or at night.
Lipless crankbaits work great for walleye when walleye are in the shallows. Bounce between the 1/4 and 1/2 ounce sizes depending how shallow the walleye are feeding.
Shallow diving crankbaits work great when walleye are in the shallows. When you need to slow some crankbaits in the shallows and you want to avoid having your bait run right into the ground right away, try using a shallower diving crankbait. For walleye fishing, you’ll usually do better with the crankbaits that run 4 to 6 feet deep vs. the ones that run just a foot or two deep.
Fish the 6 to 12 Foot Depth Range
To cover this range, you need to use those medium diving crankbaits or the shallower diving / lipless crankbaits with a Carolina rig, bottom bouncer rig or some other rig that helps get your bait down deeper.
There are times when the medium depth diving crankbaits will do very well for walleye. You can usually find a lot of walleye in the 6 to 12 foot range in the spring on lakes and rivers and these crankbaits do a great job of putting walleye in the boat. In the summer and fall, try targeting these depths during the morning and evening and you will catch a lot of active walleye that are moving shallower to feed aggressively on bait fish.
Fish Down Deep
Deep diving crankbaits are the most reliable type of crankbait to target walleye. The reason for this is that walleye love going deep and you can catch walleye deep from spring through fall. In the summer and late fall, trolling deep diving crankbaits may be one of the best ways to target walleye, especially quality-sized fish. Cast them or troll them. Whether you fish 15 feet down or 30 feet down, there is a deep diving crankbait for you to use.
You could also rig the other shallower diving crankbaits to a variety of rigs to get your lures down deeper. The Carolina rig and bottom bouncer rigs are some of the more common ways to do it.
Crankbaits That Work Great for Walleye
Minnow-shaped crankbaits are longer, slender crankbaits. They work great for walleye since most of the bait fish that walleye feed on are longer and slender. The other crankbaits work well also, however, most experienced walleye anglers will tell you that they catch more fish and bigger fish by going with the minnow shaped crankbaits that are longer.
Flatfish have been catching walleye for many years, although, many anglers don’t ever use them for walleye fishing. You can cast these lures, but flatfish are a great lure to use when you troll for walleye. When trolling, try adding a nightcrawler to a hook on the back of the lure. The action of the flatfish will draw the walleye closer to the lure and the nightcrawler will tempt them into eating.