Clear water and walleye don’t mix. We know there are plenty of Canadian destinations that have awesome walleye fishing with clear water, however, there are so many clear water lakes that anglers have a very, very hard time catching fish on. When fishing clear water, we recommend using 6 pound line. Go with fluorocarbon or at least a fluorocarbon leader to reduce visibility. When the bite is very tough and anglers are on fish, some of them will even go as light as 4 pound line. When doing this, plan on having plenty of bite-offs when the northern pike decide to bite your line. You can look at the recommendations below for avoiding bite-offs, but by going heavier with your line in clear water, it will affect the bite most likely when it comes to walleye fishing.
Jigging & Live Baiting
For most walleye anglers, 6 to 8 pound test line is the norm and monofilament fishing line is still king among these anglers. When jigging with live bait or soft plastic, using the lighter line will help you feel the lighter bites in deeper water. In clear water, the light line is a must just to get plenty of bites. In murky water, you can use heavier line, but most anglers that are jigging will stay lighter for the sensitivity.
Trolling or Casting
If you are trolling or casting lures, you are better off going a little bit heavier to avoid snapping your line on a quality fish. Line in the 10 to 12 pound class is better. Some anglers go even heavier especially when fishing murkier water and if northern pike are present in the lake.
Avoid Bite-offs From Northern Pike
Bite-offs from northern pike can be a total pain, but most walleye anglers deal with them because they catch more fish with the lighter line. The lighter line allows you to feel the lighter bites, which helps you catch more walleye. It also allows your lures to have better action and your live bait presentations become more natural.
If you are getting too many bite-offs, take a look at our recommendations.
Add a 14 lb. Mono or Fluoro Leader
You will still get bitten off with 14 pound line as a leader, however, if you are fishing vertical and you have a light action rod, you can definitely catch a lot of smaller to mid-sized pike without getting bitten off. You will need to make sure your drag is set light so when the pike runs, your ultra light rod will bend and the line will go out from the drag. This will prevent a lot of bite-offs, while still allowing you to catch a lot of walleye.
Add a 20 lb. Mono or Fluoro Leader
Everything stays the same as what you read above with the 14 lb. leader. With the 20 lb. leader, you get a little more strength to prevent more bite-offs, however, you may lose some sensitivity and action with your presentations for catching walleye. When the pike are around though, this is a good way to go, especially if the water is slightly stained to murky.
Add a 30 lb. Mono or Fluoro Leader
With the 30 lb. leader and a light action rod and a drag set loose, you are going to limit the pike bite-offs big time. We do recommend going with a line like Stren Magna Thin Monofilament so you can keep the line diameter as thin as possible while still giving you the strength you need to prevent bite-offs.
Add a 40 lb. Mono or Fluoro Leader
When the walleye bite is on and you want to make sure you’re catching all the pike that bite as well, this is the way to go. With the 40 lb. leader, you really don’t have to go with the light action rod, but most anglers do anyways because it helps them feel the lighter walleye bites. You will definitely catch less walleye this way, but if you’re fishing a good destination, you can still put up good numbers and maybe even add another 10 to 20 pike to your day’s total numbers.
Types of Fishing Lines
There are so many fishing lines on the market. Most anglers still use mono, however, braid has gotten very popular among bass anglers and some walleye anglers have switched over as well. Fluorocarbon line is to the go to fishing line for clear water. There are also several types of super lines on the market that are gaining in popularity as well. Bottom line is that you have a bunch of options for a variety of situations and budgets. Learn more about the different types of fishing lines that are on the market today.