Ontario Walleye Fishing

Ontario Walleye Fishing Tips and Resorts

Fishing Walleye with Minnows


Let’s talk live minnows for ol’ Walleyes.
Many of you have probably fished for these beauties using live minnows and found that they didn’t stay on the hook for long or died fairly quickly. Let’s see if we can fix these problems.


You want first of all to make sure the hooks that you are using are not too large for the minnow, and secondly, that they are sharp. A small hone or sometimes a good nail file will touch up the points on hooks enough to penetrate a minnow or a walleye’s mouth without a problem. Placing the hook against the top of a fingernail will tell you if it is sharp. If it seems to stick to the nail under it’s own weight, then the hook is sharp. Hook sizes 2/0 3/0 and 4/0 are my choices.

SPINNER RIG, single hook.

Spinner rigs can be used for live minnow presentation if you hook the minnow through the top of the mouth ahead of the eyes. This allows the minnow to look natural in the water and still get oxygen through the gills. When trolled or retrieved it will not be as apt to pull off the hook. Being in a natural position in the water the walleye have a better chance of taking it as part of its feed. I make my own rigs for this type of fishing, use only one hook on the rig and experiment with different colored beads. A #5 blade is my choice to start with and if it works well, I leave it, otherwise go to a bit larger blade. I will often use a white and red bead arrangement for this presentation but I will put a different colour bead at the hook, usually yellow or green.

This seems to entice the walleye a little more and usually results in a good hook set. If the area you are fishing supports a good concentration of walleye, then try using a simple rig consisting of a small bell sinker on bottom ¼ or 3/8 oz; and two hooks set about eight inches apart on the line. Place the first hook within two inches of bottom and the second about eight inches above the first. Tip both with a medium size live minnow hooked either through the tail or top of the mouth. Keep a snug line or use a float, but keep in mind that walleye will usually bite softly. A small amount of movement on the float or rod tip is your cue to set the hook. Do this by dropping the rod tip slightly and waiting for one more little tug on the line, then set the hook. This method will allow you to fish productively from shore, and also works well from a boat while sitting over a hole inhabited by walleye. Also, you can practice a slow retrieve to cover just a bit more water.

Another productive method is to use only one hook and a live minnow, with a small sinker about one foot above the hook, allowing the minnow to float up, just off bottom. This is my favorite for just plain lazy cast and retrieve. Dont try to get too much distance on the cast as you will tear the minnow off the hook with the fast flicking motion of the rod. A slow retrieve works best and I think that the minnow brings a lot of curious walleye to the bait.

Slow down and enjoy.

Not everybody enjoys the hectic pace of covering an entire lake or river at fast speed looking for constant action and throwing hooks at the rate of lightning flashes. I prefer on occasion, to slow down, relax and thoroughly enjoy the time I have to fish. If I land one fish every half-hour, that’s great! No longer is it a contest, but a good time, and a most enjoyable one at that.

By Keith Sarasin