Best Spinning Reel for Walleye Fishing: 2023 Top Picks and Tips

Spinning Reel for Walleye FishingPIC

Walleye fishing is a popular pastime for many anglers, allowing them to enjoy the thrill of the catch and the satisfaction of a delicious meal. Choosing the right equipment, particularly the best spinning reel for walleye fishing, can make all the difference in your success and enjoyment on the water. The right spinning reel should offer a perfect balance of quality, durability, and performance to handle the demands of this unique sport.

Spinning reels are the top choice for freshwater fishing and are particularly well-suited for walleye due to their finesse and ease of use. When targeting walleye, it’s essential to have a reel that can handle lighter lines and lures while still having enough power to reel in these feisty fish. Additionally, a smooth and efficient drag system is vital, as it helps prevent line breakage and lost fish during the fight.

When shopping for the ideal walleye spinning reel, factors such as gear ratio, line capacity, ball bearings, and overall build quality should be carefully considered. Higher gear ratios provide faster line retrieval, essential for maintaining the proper lure action and detecting subtle bites from walleye. Line capacity is important for ensuring you have enough line to cast to the necessary depths and still have enough to play and land the fish. Smoothness and durability can be gauged by the number and quality of ball bearings used in the reel’s construction, with more bearings generally equating to better performance.

After thorough research and testing, we’ve narrowed the options and identified the top choices in spinning reels for walleye fishing. In the following section, we’ll share our findings and guide you through the details that make these reels stand out so you can choose for your next walleye adventure.

Best Spinning Reels for Walleye Fishing

We have gathered a list of the top spinning reels perfect for walleye fishing, making your angling experience enjoyable and successful. Below, you’ll find our recommendations.

Sougayilang Spinning Fishing Reel

Sougayilang Spinning Fishing Reel

This Sougayilang Spinning Fishing Reel is a high-quality and affordable option for walleye fishing enthusiasts.


  • Lightweight fiber-reinforced graphite body and rotor
  • 13 + 1 shielded stainless ball bearings for smooth operation
  • Versatile usage in saltwater, freshwater, rivers, and lakes


  • Line capacity may be limited for larger fish.
  • Baitrunner feature can be quiet, making it hard to hear when engaged
  • The design might not be as visually appealing to some users.

We recently tried out the Sougayilang Spinning Fishing Reel and were quite impressed. It has a lightweight yet sturdy build, owing to the fiber-reinforced graphite body and rotor. Its 13 + 1 shielded stainless ball bearings deliver a smooth and hassle-free retrieval experience, while the 4.7:1 gearbox ratio ensures decent speed.

Another feature we appreciated was that this reel works equally well in saltwater, freshwater, rivers, and lakes, making it a versatile choice for walleye fishing. The baitrunner option proved to be a useful addition, even though it can be quiet, so be sure to pay attention to it when engaged.

Regarding line capacity, it might be limited for anglers targeting larger fish. However, for the average walleye fishing session, it should suffice. The design may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but we found it efficient and practical.

Overall, the Sougayilang Spinning Fishing Reel offers a great balance of functionality and affordability for those looking to step up their walleye fishing game. Its versatile, lightweight, and reliable construction makes it an ideal choice despite minor drawbacks.

Shaddock Fishing Spinning Reel

Shaddock Fishing Spinning Reel

The Shaddock Fishing Spinning Reel is a versatile and budget-friendly option for freshwater and saltwater walleye anglers.


  • Lightweight and strong aluminum construction
  • Smooth performance with 9+1 ball bearings
  • Powerful drag system ideal for larger fish


  • Some users report the material feels cheap
  • Not as smooth as expected for some anglers
  • Smaller in size compared to other brands

We tried out the Shaddock Fishing Spinning Reel and found it a solid choice for walleye fishing enthusiasts. Its lightweight and strong aluminum construction makes it easy to carry on any fishing outing. This spinning reel shines with its smooth performance, equipped with 9 ball bearings and one roller bearing paired with precision gear engagement.

The drag system with pure power is a standout feature, as it’s designed with superior quality stainless steel ball bearings and a thicker hardened main shaft. This powerful drag system ensures an amazing fishing experience, especially when targeting larger fish like bass, catfish, stripers, walleyes, and northern pikes.

However, it is important to note that some users have mentioned that the material feels cheap, and the performance isn’t as smooth as expected. Additionally, the reel is a bit smaller compared to other brands. Despite these drawbacks, the Shaddock Fishing Spinning Reel provides excellent value with its affordability and versatile performance. It is a great consideration for those searching for a dependable spinning reel for walleye fishing.

Joyday Fishing Reel

Joyday Fishing Reel

This Joyday Fishing Reel is a fantastic choice for walleye fishing due to its great features and performance.


  • High-quality construction
  • Lightweight design
  • Powerful drag system


  • May not have 39.5lb drag as advertised
  • The color might be slightly different from the picture.
  • Better suited for freshwater fishing

We recently had the chance to use the Joyday Fishing Reel, specifically the H2000 model, which impressed us. The reel is built with high-quality materials such as an extra-hard metal main shaft, precision machined brass gears, and a CNC-machined aluminum spool, which make the reel durable and resistant to corrosion.

The lightweight design of the Joyday reel is another aspect that caught our attention. Weighing in at just 9.7 ounces, the compact design allows for effortless casting, making it perfect for a day out on the water. The attractive two-color anodized aluminum spool also adds a touch of style to the reel.

The powerful drag system is another standout feature of this spinning reel. With a maximum drag power reaching up to 39.5lb (although some users debate this claim), the reinforced main shaft and zinc alloy drive gear provide a smooth and consistent performance. We found that the 12 corrosion-resistant ball bearings and high-speed 5.2:1 gear ratio significantly contributed to the reel’s smooth operation and fast retrieval.

However, there are a few points worth noting. Some users have questioned whether the advertised 39.5lb drag power is accurate, as they’ve experienced a different drag performance. Additionally, the color seen in the picture may appear slightly different in person. Lastly, while the reel is suitable for freshwater and saltwater fishing, we found that the 2000 series works best in freshwater environments.

Overall, the Joyday Fishing Reel is an excellent spinning reel for walleye fishing, delivering high-quality performance and great features at a reasonable price.

Sougayilang Fishing Reel

Sougayilang Fishing Reel

This Sougayilang Fishing Reel is a fantastic choice for walleye fishing with its smooth performance and durable design.


  • Braid-ready spool for easier line winding
  • Comfortable, powerful CNC machined handle
  • Smooth performance with 12+1 stainless steel ball bearings


  • Handle securing nut/bolt needs frequent tightening
  • Heavy compared to some competitors
  • Some users reported rust issues

We recently had the pleasure of using the Sougayilang Fishing Reel for a walleye fishing trip, and we were pleasantly surprised by its performance. The braid-ready spool not only made line winding hassle-free but also avoided any sliding during winding, which we appreciated.

The classic CNC machined handle on this reel is worth a mention. It’s incredibly comfortable and powerful, far superior to other designs we’ve tried. The large oval handle knob felt secure in our hands, allowing for a more enjoyable fishing experience.

What stood out, though, were the 12+1 stainless steel ball bearings that provided exceptional smoothness. Combined with a reinforced stainless steel main shaft, zinc alloy drive gear, and 3+3 special washers, our fishing experience was smooth and consistent – no stuck moments!

One downside is that the handle’s securing nut/bolt often needs tightening. Nonetheless, the powerful drag system, offering up to 19.9 lb drag power, and the high-speed gear ratio made it a great tool for catching not just walleye but other freshwater and inshore fishes as well.

On the aesthetics front, the bright golden and brilliant black colors are quite fashionable, making it a great gift for special occasions. However, some users mentioned having to address rust issues with proper maintenance.

Overall, despite a few drawbacks, the Sougayilang Fishing Reel offers excellent value for its price, making it great for walleye fishing and more.

HPLIFE Spinning Reel

HPLIFE Spinning Reel

The HPLIFE Spinning Reel is a decent option with some great features, but it needs some improvement to be perfect for walleye fishing.


  • Ultra-smooth performance with 14BB corrosion-resistant ball bearings
  • High stopping power with the Superior Drag System
  • Comfortable and slip-resistant EVA handle


  • The anti-reverse mechanism may be prone to breaking.
  • Smaller sizes may not be suitable for everyone.
  • Mixed reviews on build quality and durability

We recently went fishing with the HPLIFE Spinning Reel and found that it offers smooth performance due to its 14BB corrosion-resistant ball bearings and an instant stop one-way anti-reverse bearing. The hardened aluminum spool and the precision machined pinion gear provide excellent fish-fighting power, which is essential when going after walleye.

However, we had some concerns when using this reel for walleye fishing. While we appreciate the comfortable and slip-resistant EVA handle on the reel, its smaller size might not be suitable for all anglers. Additionally, some customers mentioned that the anti-reverse mechanism broke while they were using the reel, which is an area that could use improvement.

Despite these concerns, the HPLIFE Spinning Reel offers a versatile fishing experience, as it can be used in rivers, lakes, and reservoirs for bass, trout, catfish, herring, and more. It’s also worth mentioning that the reel has an ambidextrous handle design, so left and right-handed anglers can use it comfortably.

In conclusion, while the HPLIFE Spinning Reel has some positive features and a budget-friendly price, we suggest you consider other options with better build quality and durability for a more enjoyable and reliable walleye fishing experience.

Buying Guide

When searching for the best spinning reel for walleye fishing, there are several factors we should take into consideration. In this buying guide, we’ll discuss the most important features to look for in a high-quality spinning reel to ensure success on our next walleye fishing adventure.

Reel Size and Gear Ratio

The reel size and gear ratio are critical in choosing a spinning reel for walleye fishing. In general, a medium-sized reel works perfectly for this purpose. A gear ratio between 5.2:1 and 6.2:1 allows us to retrieve the lure quickly and efficiently while providing enough torque for fighting walleye.

Drag System

A reliable and smooth drag system is essential for preventing break-offs and ensuring successful landings. We should look for spinning reels with front or rear drag systems that offer a wide adjustment range, allowing us to fine-tune the drag based on our fishing conditions and the size of the walleye we’re targeting.

Ball Bearings

The number and quality of ball bearings in a spinning reel directly affect its smoothness and performance. We should aim for a reel with at least 4-5 ball bearings made from high-quality materials such as stainless steel or ceramic. This will ensure the reel maintains its smooth operation and longevity.

Line Capacity

Walleye are known for their hard-fighting nature, so it’s crucial to have enough line capacity on our spinning reel to handle long runs and sudden bursts of energy. We should choose a reel that can accommodate a sufficient amount of our preferred fishing line, whether monofilament, braided, or fluorocarbon.

Durability and Build Quality

A well-built spinning reel can serve us for many years, so investing in a durable and high-quality product is key. Look for reels with corrosion-resistant aluminum, graphite, or carbon fiber. Additionally, a sealed or water-tight design will help to keep out dirt, debris, and moisture, ensuring the reel’s longevity.

With these features in mind, we can make a more informed decision when selecting the perfect spinning reel for our walleye fishing adventures. Happy fishing!

Frequently Asked Questions

What spinning reel size should I use for walleye fishing?

For walleye fishing, we recommend using a spinning reel size of 2500 to 3000. This size suits various lure weights and fishing lines, providing a good balance between sensitivity and power. Smaller reels may not have enough power, while bigger reels might be too heavy and affect your ability to detect bites.

Which spinning reel is best for catching both bass and walleye?

For anglers targeting both bass and walleye, we suggest the Penn Battle II or the Pflueger President. Both reels are versatile and durable and provide a smooth drag system for handling these fish species. Fishermen have reported excellent results with these models when targeting both bass and walleye.

What are some top-rated walleye reels under $100?

Some of the best walleye spinning reels under $100 include the Pflueger President, the Shimano Sedona FI, and the Abu Garcia Black Max. These reels are praised for their quality, performance, and reliability, making them an excellent choice for anglers on a budget.

What gear ratio is recommended for walleye fishing?

For walleye fishing, we suggest using a gear ratio between 5.2:1 and 6.2:1. A medium-speed reel will offer a good balance between retrieval speed and power, making it useful in various situations. Faster gear ratios may struggle when reeling in larger fish, while slower ratios can make it difficult to keep up with faster-moving walleye.

What is the best walleye rod and reel combination?

The best walleye rod and reel combination will depend on personal preferences and specific fishing situations. However, a popular setup is a 6’6″ to 7′ medium-light power, fast-action spinning rod paired with a quality 2500 to 3000 size reel. This combination provides sensitivity, versatility, and sufficient power for walleye fishing.

Which Shimano spinning reel is suitable for walleye fishing?

The Shimano Sedona FI and the Shimano Sahara FI are two spinning reels we recommend for walleye fishing. Both reels offer a smooth drag system, quality construction, and reliable performance, making them excellent choices for any angler targeting walleye.


Hi, I’m Kurt and I’m the author of walleyemania. I’ve been fishing for Walleye since I was a kid and I love sharing my tips, tricks, and stories with other anglers. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, you’ll find something useful and entertaining on my site. I cover everything from the best gear, baits, and techniques to the best spots, seasons, and recipes for Walleye fishing. Join me on my journey to catch more and bigger Walleye!

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