Best Water Temperature for Walleye Fishing: Optimal Conditions Revealed

b89f494e dadf 4812 8d65 1c3b7b26806c

The best water temperature for walleye fishing is a crucial factor that anglers often consider to increase their catch rate. Walleye, a widespread freshwater fish, are sensitive to water temperature changes. These changes can significantly impact their location, feeding habits, and overall activity.

Therefore, anglers need to understand how water temperature affects walleye behavior to improve their chances of a successful fishing trip. By learning about the best water temperature for walleye fishing, anglers can adjust their fishing strategies accordingly and increase their chances of catching these elusive fish.

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

  • Water temperature is a crucial factor in walleye location, feeding, and activity.
  • The ideal temperature range for walleye fishing is generally 55°F to 68°F.
  • Monitor water temperatures and adjust your fishing tactics accordingly to improve your catch rate.

How Temperature Affects Walleye Location and Feeding

Walleye Prefer Cooler Water, Optimal Range 45-75 Degrees Fahrenheit

Walleye, a popular gamefish for anglers, have specific temperature preferences that affect their location and feeding habits. They tend to prefer cooler water, with an optimal temperature range of 45-75 degrees Fahrenheit . Understanding how water temperature affects walleye location and feeding behavior can significantly improve your success while fishing for these elusive fish.

Under 50 Degrees – Walleye Slow Down and Hold in Deeper Spots

When water temperatures dip below 50 degrees, walleye generally become less active and hold in deeper spots . This is likely because the colder water slows their metabolic processes, causing them to conserve energy and reduce their feeding activity. To target walleye during this colder period, fishermen should focus on deeper water and use slower presentation techniques to entice bites from less active fish.

50-60 Degrees – More Active While Still Relatively Deep

d345e4b3 8c05 4342 9633 b00b85a407eb
Best Water Temperature for Walleye Fishing: Optimal Conditions Revealed 5

As the water temperature rises to the 50-60 degrees range, walleye become more active and begin venturing out from their deep holding spots . However, they will still likely remain at relatively deeper depths within this temperature range. Anglers targeting walleye in this temperature range should use more active lures and presentation techniques while focusing on areas where walleye have access to deeper water.

60-75 Degrees – Most Active, Feeding in Shallow Waters

Between 60-75 degrees Fahrenheit, walleye become their most active and can be found feeding in shallow waters . This increased activity is largely driven by their natural instinct to search for food, and they tend to be more aggressive during this period. Fishermen targeting walleye in this temperature range should focus on shallow structures and use a variety of techniques to improve their chances of success.

In summary, walleye location and feeding habits vary considerably based on water temperature. By understanding these preferences and adjusting your fishing strategies accordingly, you can improve your success while walleye fishing in a range of different conditions.


  1. (
  2. (
  3. (
  4. (

Best Temperatures for Walleye Fishing

45-55 Degrees – Target Deeper Holes and Structures

During cooler water temperatures, walleyes seek comfort and food in deeper structures and holes. These fish are often found near hard-bottom flats, especially in areas near rivers and creeks that provide warmer water. To increase your chances of catching walleyes during this time, it’s essential to use slow presentations in deeper water since the fish are less active in colder temperatures. Keep an eye out for spots with warmer water, as they may attract more walleyes seeking warmth.

55-65 Degrees – Fish Shallower Structures and Emerging Weed Lines

As the water temperature rises to 55-65°F, walleyes become more active and move to shallower structures and emerging weed lines. This is an ideal time for catching walleye as they become more aggressive in feeding. Within this range, they actively search for prey and cover a wider area. Try using presentations that mimic the natural movement of walleyes’ prey, such as minnow-imitating lures or spinner rigs. Make sure to focus on the depth of the weed lines, as walleyes will likely be found closer to the surface during this temperature range.

65-75 Degrees – Target Shallow Flats, Points, and Shorelines

857caf0d e18c 42d3 8784 87897798e900
Best Water Temperature for Walleye Fishing: Optimal Conditions Revealed 6

As the water temperature continues to warm up, reaching 65-75°F, walleyes can be found in shallow flats, points, and shorelines where they actively pursue prey. This is an ideal time to target walleye in shallow water as their activity levels increase. Utilizing crankbaits and other high-action lures during this period can yield great results. Be prepared to fish in various depths, as walleyes may move throughout the water column during different parts of the day. Monitoring the water temperature and adjusting your fishing tactics accordingly increase your chances of catching this sought-after fish species.

Locating Walleye by Water Temperature

Walleye are known to be more active and easier to catch in certain water temperature ranges. The ideal water temperature range for walleye fishing typically falls between 55°F (12°C) and 68°F (20°C) ^1^. Within this range, walleye are generally more aggressive in feeding behavior and actively searching for prey. Focusing on these preferred temperature ranges and locating baitfish concentrations will be crucial to increase your chances of catching walleye.

Use Fish Finder to Find Baitfish Concentrations at Preferred Temps

As a valuable tool, locating fish based on water temperature can be achieved with a fish finder.. Using a fish finder, anglers can identify baitfish concentrations at the ideal water temperature range for walleye. Baitfish are known to attract walleye, as they are a primary food source for these fish, so being able to locate areas with both preferred temperatures and baitfish concentrations will greatly improve your chances of catching walleye.

Some key features to consider on your fish finder include:

  • Temperature readings: Ensure your fish finder displays accurate water temperature readings, helping you to target the optimal temperature range for walleye.
  • Depth readings: Walleye may move to deeper waters in search of cooler temperatures during warmer months, so it is essential to identify their depth preferences.
  • Sonar technology: Look for fish finders that provide clear sonar imaging, helping you to identify baitfish concentrations and underwater structures where walleye might be hiding.

Focus on Transitional Zones between Warm and Cold Water

Walleye are known to congregate in transitional zones between warm and cold water. These zones often provide a variety of aquatic life and stable conditions that encourage walleye to feed and rest.

Some standard transitional zones to target include:

  • Drop-offs: Sudden changes in depth can create temperature gradients that attract walleye.
  • Inflow and outflow points: Rivers, creeks, and other water sources can provide warmer water temperatures that walleye may seek.
  • Underwater structures: Walleye often use underwater structures, like rock piles or hollow logs, as cover and ideal feeding spots where water temperatures vary.

By focusing on these transitional zones, anglers can increase their chances of finding walleye in their preferred temperature range, leading to more successful fishing trips.

Presenting Baits Based on Water Temps

Cooler Water – Slower Presentations Like Jigs or Live Bait

In cooler water temperatures (between 35°F to 50°F), walleyes tend to be more sluggish and less aggressive in their feeding habits. During this time, it’s important to use slower presentations like jigs or live bait. Jigs can be effective because they mimic the subtle movements of prey in the water, enticing the walleye to strike. Using live bait such as minnows, leeches, or nightcrawlers can also be a great option, as these are natural food sources for walleyes.

When fishing with jigs, experiment with different colors, shapes, and sizes to find what works best for the conditions and the walleyes you are targeting. Keep your retrieval slow and steady, while occasionally adding a slight twitch or lift to impart a more natural movement to the bait.

Warmer Water – Faster Retrieves for Crankbaits, Spinners, Topwaters

As water temperatures rise (between 55°F to 68°F), walleyes become more active and aggressive. During warmer water conditions, using faster retrieves with crankbaits, spinners, or topwater baits can be more effective. Crankbaits are an excellent choice, as they can cover a large area and vary in depth, making it possible to target walleyes suspended in the water column or near the bottom.

Spinners and topwaters are also productive options in warmer water. Spinners use a rotating blade to create vibrations and flash, while topwater baits create surface disturbances that attract walleyes looking for an easy meal. When using these lures, make sure to vary your retrieve speed and cadence to see what works best for the walleyes.

In conclusion, understanding how water temperature affects walleye behavior is key to selecting the right baits and presentations. Adjusting your tactics based on water temperature can greatly increase your chances of success on the water.

Shore Fishing Walleye in Different Water Temps

Cooler Water – Cast Parallel to Shore, Target Deeper Holes

In cooler water temperatures, usually between 55°F to 68°F, walleye tend to be more active and aggressive in their feeding behavior. During this time, shore fishing is often productive when casting parallel to the shoreline. Focus on deeper holes and underwater structures, as walleye usually seek out these areas for prey and shelter. Locating and targeting these spots can increase your chances of catching walleye.

When fishing in rivers or near steep drop-offs, consider using a heavy egg sinker or split shot to keep your bait near the bottom where walleyes often reside. Rig your bait appropriately to increase the likelihood of a walleye taking the bait, such as hooking a baitfish through the nose or a leech through the head.

Warmer Water – Cast to Shallow Flats, Weeds, Docks, Points

As water temperature rises above 68°F, walleye behavior tends to change. They begin to seek shelter in shallower water, searching for cooler, oxygen-rich areas. This is an opportune time for anglers to target shallow flats, weed beds, docks, and points along the shoreline.

When choosing a location in warmer water, consider the time of day and available food sources for walleye. Early morning and late evening are prime feeding times, making it easier to catch them near the surface or close to shore. Look for areas near schools of baitfish, as walleye often follow their prey into these shallow grounds.

Proper bait and lure selection can play a crucial role in successfully attracting walleyes in warmer water. Using jigs or live bait in tandem with suitable retrieval techniques can increase your chances of hooking a walleye. Don’t be afraid to switch up your tactics and explore various casting areas in order to locate and entice the walleye.

River Walleye Fishing by Temperature

Below 50 Degrees – Target Deeper Pools, Focus on Slower Baits

When fishing for walleye in rivers, it is important to consider the water temperature to optimize your chances of success. In water temperatures below 50°F, walleye tend to seek deeper pools for shelter and food. During this time, they are likely to be less aggressive in their feeding behavior due to the colder environment. As a result, it’s essential to focus on slower baits to increase your chances of catching these cold-water fish.

To target walleye in this temperature range, use jigs, live bait, or slow-moving lures. Present these baits near the bottom of deep pools, close to submerged structures such as rocks and logs. A lightweight jig combined with a minnow or leech can be particularly effective in enticing walleye to bite in these colder conditions.

Above 60 Degrees – Fish Shallower Riffles and Current Seams

9b84c687 82ef 4b0e b7ac 32d90f1e2a80
Best Water Temperature for Walleye Fishing: Optimal Conditions Revealed 7

As the water temperature rises above 60°F, walleye begin to migrate towards shallower areas of rivers, such as riffles and current seams. In this temperature range, walleye are generally more active and aggressive in their feeding behavior, making them easier to catch.

When fishing for walleye in warmer water, focus on casting near shallow structures like rocks, sandbars, and weed edges. Use faster-moving baits such as crankbaits, spinners, or drifting live bait to attract this active fish. Pay close attention to water clarity, as clearer water typically requires more finesse and natural presentation when targeting walleye.

While water temperature can influence walleye behavior significantly, it’s essential to remember that other factors such as weather, time of day, and seasonal changes can also impact their feeding patterns and locations. So, always stay adaptable and consider both water temperature and other environmental factors when adjusting your approach to walleye fishing in rivers.


Brief Summary of Key Points from Article

In this article, we have discussed the importance of water temperature in walleye fishing and how it can impact their behavior, feeding patterns, and catchability. We have learned that walleyes are primarily a cold-water fish species, and their activity can be influenced by factors such as weather, time of day, and seasonal changes.

Recommended Water Temp Range for Walleye: 45-75 Degrees

For the best results in walleye fishing, it is recommended to focus on water temperatures between 45°F and 75°F. Specifically, the ideal range falls between 55°F (12°C) and 68°F (20°C) as walleyes tend to be more active, aggressive in feeding behavior, and actively searching for prey within this range.

Adjust Locations, Presentations Based on Temperature

As walleye behavior is influenced by water temperature, it is essential for anglers to adjust their fishing locations and presentations based on the temperature conditions. For example, during the spring, when surface temperature is between 45°F and 52°F, walleyes are known to spawn on hard-bottom flats in the northern sections of lakes, which are first warmed by the sun. At this time, it would be best to focus on areas near rivers and creeks that provide warmer water.

On the other hand, as the water temperature drops just below 50°F in the fall, a more subtle approach may be required, such as slow trolling with crankbaits to initiate strikes from larger walleyes. Understanding the relationship between walleye behavior and water temperature can significantly improve an angler’s chances of success in catching this elusive fish species.

Frequently Asked Questions

What conditions are ideal for walleye activity?

Walleye are cold-water fish, and their activity levels increase in water temperatures between 55°F to 68°F. These temperatures support their feeding behaviors and make them more aggressive in searching for prey.

Which seasons provide the best fishing opportunities for walleye?

The best seasons for walleye fishing are typically spring and fall. In spring, walleye spawn in water temperatures around 45-52°F, often near hard-bottom flats, rivers, and creeks providing warmer water. Fall is another prime time for catching walleye, especially when water temperatures drop just below 50°F.

How does water temperature affect walleye spawning behavior?

Walleye spawning behavior is closely linked to water temperature. They usually spawn on hard-bottom flats in shallow water with temperatures between 45-52°F. The northern sections of lakes tend to warm up first, making them ideal spawning habitats, particularly near rivers and creeks that provide warmer water.

What role does water temperature play in walleye location?

Water temperature heavily influences the location of walleye in various water bodies. They prefer colder water in the 55-68°F range, which drives their activity levels and feeding behaviors. As temperatures change, walleye may migrate to find suitable water temperatures and prey availability.

At what temperatures do walleye usually feed?

Walleye primarily feed when water temperatures fall within the 55-68°F range. However, they can still be caught in temperatures above 35°F. Feeding activity tends to increase within the ideal temperature range, making it a crucial factor for successful walleye fishing.

How does water temperature impact walleye fishing tactics?

Water temperature can greatly affect the fishing tactics used to catch walleye. In the ideal temperature range of 55-68°F, walleye are more active and aggressive, allowing anglers to use a variety of techniques to catch them. In colder temperatures, such as those below 50°F during fall, utilizing slow-trolled crankbaits, with speeds less than 1.8 mph, can initiate strikes from less active 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!

Recent Posts