According to the Department of Natural Resources, walleyes are some of the most sought-after fish in all of Minnesota. The walleye (also known as the yellow pike) is one of the most delicious freshwater fish—and is frequently fished recreationally for food. If you’re looking to catch some of these elusive and delicious creatures, you’ll need some insight into the best times to fish them in Minnesota. And that’s where we come in.

Birch Forest Lodge is a premier Minnesota fishing resort that offers boat rentals and cabin rentals in Orr, MN. We’re here to make your fishing adventures in Minnesota as exciting and stress-free as possible, which is why we put together this handy list of tips on fishing walleye. Read on for advice on some basic methods for walleye fishing—and the best times to cast out for them. 

The Best Time of Day to Fish for Walleyes

It’s important to remember that walleyes have nocturnal feeding habits. Because they feed at night, most experienced walleye fishermen wait until the later hours to find them. Since walleyes have fantastic eyesight under low illumination levels, they also prefer to hunt under choppy water conditions because it gives them an awareness advantage over prey. This isn’t a universal constant, however; walleyes are known to feed throughout the day in darkly stained waters, too. 

If you’ve looked into walleye fishing in Minnesota, you may have heard of “walleye chop.” This is a term that anglers use to describe rough waters with significant winds (6 to 16 mph)—and marks water conditions when walleyes are more likely to feed. Night fishing with live bait is another highly effective strategy when hunting for the state fish of Minnesota. 

The rule of thumb for walleye fishing in Minnesota is to go during low-light periods. That means the late evening hours and early morning. If you’re looking for other effective times to fish for walleye, shoot for cloudy or windy days. The clouds or waves will reduce light penetration into the water, increasing the likelihood that walleyes will be feeding. 

The Best Time of Year to Fish for Walleyes

In the state of Minnesota, the fishing season for walleye opens on the Second weekend of May. During the early part of the season, you can expect to find walleyes in areas with shallow water (less than ten feet). As the summer kicks in around June, walleyes migrate to drop-offs and waters with thick vegetation—hiding near the bottom and amidst the weeds during the daylight hours. On summer nights, you’ll often find walleyes hunting minnows near the shallow waters. 

Fall is still a great time to hunt for walleyes in Minnesota. During this season, our state fish forage heavily for prey—which means frequent movement in deep waters near docks and other solid structures. Some walleye anglers advocate for winter fishing as well. This season is a relatively inactive time for walleyes, though they will occasionally visit structures and near vegetation for food. Keep these seasonal movements in mind when you consider the best time for your party to cast for walleyes. 

Tips & Tricks for Walleye Fishing

Now that we’ve reviewed some of the best times and locations to track down walleyes, let’s go over a few general tips and tricks. Once you’ve mastered the art of timing and location, the actual catching is pretty straightforward; most walleye anglers find success with basic jigs and live bait. We’d recommend investing in live bait if possible—minnows and leeches tend to work best during different times of the year.

Trolling is an ideal strategy for walleye fishing in Minnesota. You can accomplish this by moving your boat across the water—or by slowly winding in the line when fishing from a static position. Simply cast out and troll the bait right near the front of the fish. Don’t worry if you can’t see properly into the water; just focus on trolling along the recommended areas of the water. 

Start Your Walleye Fishing Adventure at Birch Forest Lodge

Birch Forest Lodge is located on the beautiful Pelican Lake in Orr, MN—a perfect location for walleye fishing in Minnesota. We offer over 11,000 acres, 50 islands, and over 54 miles of shoreline to explore while fishing. And that’s just the start. Along with great fishing spots and boat rentals, we can provide a huge range of on-site activities to make your trip even more enjoyable—including basketball, kayaking, water skiing, disc golf and more.

If you’re ready to start your own walleye fishing adventure, then be sure to sign up for one of our rental specials for a discounted stay! You can also connect with us for more information on walleye fishing in Minnesota—and how to find the right Minnesota fishing resort for your next angling trip.