Early Season Walleye Lures: Top Picks for Spring Fishing

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Anglers know the unique challenge that walleye fishing presents. This is especially true in the early season when the water is still cold and the fish are sluggish. Lure selection during this time is critical. The right choice can mean the difference between a bountiful haul and coming home empty-handed.

Early-season walleye lures are designed to mimic the movements and colors of the walleye’s natural prey. This makes them more effective when the fish are less active.

When choosing these lures, it’s important to consider their action, dive depth, and color.

In colder waters, walleye are often located deeper, so a lure that can reach significant depths is key. The action should be subtle to imitate the slower movements of baitfish during this period.

Moreover, since walleye can be more selective in the early season, the color of the lure becomes an essential factor. It needs to stand out in the murky water without scaring the fish away.

We understand the importance of durability and quality in early-season walleye lures. Anglers should look for lures made from high-quality materials that can withstand the forces of casting and the sharp teeth of the walleye.

Furthermore, the hooks should be sharp and strong to ensure a good set when the fish strikes.

Top Early Season Walleye Lures

As avid anglers, we understand that the beginning of walleye season can be both exciting and challenging. Walleye are known for being particularly elusive during early season conditions, making the choice of lure critically important.

We have meticulously curated a selection of lures that are highly effective in enticing those finicky walleye. The lures on our list are designed to cover a range of conditions and preferences, ensuring you have the best chance at a successful catch as the season kicks off.

XFISHMAN Jerkbait Kit


We believe the XFISHMAN Jerkbait Kit is a solid choice for targeting early season walleye due to its versatile performance and appealing design.


  • Suspends in water to mimic live prey effectively
  • Three sharp treble hooks increase the chances of landing a catch
  • Variety of colors to match different fishing conditions


  • May sink faster than expected, contrary to the ‘suspending’ feature
  • Occasional finish blemishes on the lure’s body
  • Similar price point to more established brands without standing superiority

Hooking a sluggish walleye in cool waters demands a cunning approach. On a recent outing, as the morning mist cleared, our go-to was the XFISHMAN Jerkbait Kit.

With its versatility, we manipulated the retrieve speeds seamlessly. The motion this lure produced was strikingly lifelike, crucial when the fish are discerning.

Cold water fishing can be unforgiving, but the suspending action of the XFISHMAN Jerkbait closely mirrors the lethargic movements of early season prey.

Utilizing this lure near underwater structures, we found its paint scheme and action persuasive enough to entice those finicky walleyes, even when they seemed disinterested in other presentations.

The triple threat of razor-sharp VMC treble hooks meant fewer misses. Every strike had a heightened chance of conversion into a memorable catch.

We observed the lure’s colors and reflectivity performing exceptionally under various lighting, adding to our arsenal’s adaptability. However, we did note it tended to descend a bit quicker than some of our floating jerk baits, which requires adjustments in retrieval technique to maintain the desired depth.



In our recent outings, we’ve found these VATEICO Jig Heads to be quite versatile and an excellent go-to choice for early-season walleye fishing.


  • An impressive assortment of sizes for various fishing needs
  • Durable build that withstands wear and tear in water
  • Sharp, barbed hooks for secure bait placement and better fish retention


  • Only six reviews may not fully represent user experiences
  • Larger quantities of smaller sizes could be more beneficial
  • Potentially limited color selection for specific conditions

Nothing beats the excitement of feeling that first tug on the line as the season kicks off. Using VATEICO’s Jig Heads, we experienced just that—a reliable bite, thanks to the sharp, barbed hooks that really kept the walleyes from shaking free. It’s the kind of performance that inspires confidence on the water.

We appreciated the various size options included. Whether we were aiming for light nibblers or targeting the bigger catches, there seemed to be a jighead for every scenario.

The assortment in the package enables us to adapt quickly to changing conditions and fish behavior without any fuss.

Durability is a real highlight with these jig heads. Frequent casters know the annoyance of lures that can’t handle the constant exposure to water and contact with rocks and debris.

Thankfully, we didn’t face these issues during our outings, allowing us to focus on the thrill of the catch rather than equipment failure.

Remember, even with the best gear, the knowledge of local conditions and an understanding of walleye behavior are paramount. These VATEICO Jig Heads complement such knowledge by performing reliably when they hit the water, making them an asset in any walleye angler’s tackle box.

FONMANG 6-Piece Swim Baits


If you’re aiming to boost your walleye haul this season, we highly recommend these swim baits for their lifelike action and durability.


  • Lifelike detail mimics real baitfish effectively
  • Resilient material withstands aggressive strikes
  • Versatile in targeting a range of species


  • Limited size and color options may not suit all conditions
  • May require fine-tuning retrieve speeds for optimal action
  • Hook size may not be ideal for larger game fish

Having recently tried the FONMANG Swim Baits on an early morning outing, it was immediately clear these were a game-changer. The realistic appearance stood out, and it wasn’t long before we noticed curious walleyes shadowing the lures.

The way these swimbaits reflect light and move through the water had us thoroughly impressed; it’s noticeably detailed, down to the 3D eyes and photoprint finish.

Durability is a must for any lure, and these held up admirably after repeated encounters with some feisty fish. Every cast reassured us that despite the aggressive strikes we were getting, the soft plastic material could handle it.

That integrity didn’t come at the cost of flexibility either—the segmented body and fin responded beautifully to both fast and slow retrieves.

We appreciate the versatility these lures offer. Whether we were casting in lakes, rivers, or nearshore, the FONMANG Swim Baits attracted attention not just from walleyes but also bass, pike, and muskie.

It was encouraging to watch the lure perform well in various environments, suggesting that these baits are a solid all-around choice for any fishing trip.

Aosethefrt Walleye Jigs


We find that these Aosethefrt Fishing Jigs should be part of your tackle box for early-season walleye thanks to their effectiveness in different waters and their vibrant, eye-catching design.


  • Vibrant, reflective finish that grabs the attention of fish
  • Durable construction with sharp hooks for solid hooksets
  • Versatile for both freshwater and saltwater fishing


  • It might feel heavier than expected for some anglers.
  • Limited color selection within the eight-piece package
  • Occasional discrepancies in the quantity received, as per some reviews

My latest trip out on the lake was made even more successful with these Aosethefrt jigs. With their bright, reflective coating, they didn’t just catch the sunlight but also the attention of the walleye.

The streamlined body shape provided a realistic swim action that appeared to trick fish into biting.

I appreciated the thoughtful packaging, which included a compact case that kept the lures organized and easy to access. Not only did these jigs look good, but the ultra-sharp hooks proved to be both corrosion-resistant and penetrating, making for quick and easy catches.

I noticed these lures are a bit heavier than others, which I found beneficial for casting further distances and controlling the swimming depth.

This characteristic turned out to be an advantage in the deeper waters where walleye tend to gather in the early season. However, it’s worth noting that in areas with a lot of underwater vegetation, I had to be more cautious to avoid snags.

TRUSCEND Swimbaits


We recommend these TRUSCEND Swimbaits because they provide a remarkably realistic swimming action beneficial for early season walleye fishing.


  • Lifelike action entices strikes
  • Sharp and durable treble hooks
  • Versatile for various species


  • Tailpieces may wear over time
  • Hooks may need replacing for heavy use
  • The learning curve for optimal control

Stepping onto the boat as the sun peeks above the horizon, we’re geared up with the TRUSCEND Swimbaits. Dropping the lure into the chilly spring water, it’s impressive how the segmented design delivers a naturalistic movement that’s bound to attract attention.

The articulated body mimics a wounded baitfish, an irresistible sight for lurking walleye.

Throughout the morning, we admire the consistent performance of the 3D eyes and pearl powder finish, making the lures glimmer even in the dim light. This high simulation provokes more than just curiosity; it results in aggressive strikes.

The built-in rattle adds that extra allure, sending sonic invitations to hungry fish in the area.

But as with all gear, we take note of wear after several outings. The flexible materials, while allowing for incredible action, start to show signs of stress, particularly at the tail.

On occasion, we consider swapping out the hooks with premium ones to ensure the best catch rate and longevity. Regardless, these TRUSCEND Swimbaits quickly become a fixture in our tackle box for their efficacy in landing early-season walleye.

Bandit B-Shad Party Zebra


If you’re after versatility and effectiveness in your early-season walleye fishing, we highly recommend the Bandit B-Shad.


  • Versatile lure, perfect for various types of game fish.
  • Excellent diving depth for targeting walleye.
  • Consistent and true running straight out of the package.


  • Limited color options in this particular model.
  • Requisite understanding of trolling speeds for optimal performance.
  • Third hook may snag vegetation in certain environments.

We’ve thrown these sleek Bandit B-Shads at wary walleye with great success—their action underwater is subtle yet enticing. They dart and dive deep quickly, reaching those sweet spots where walleye lurk, especially in the early season when the water’s still cool.

Fishing with these lures has been a joy because they track so well. We’ve pulled them through varying currents without a hitch, and their rolling wobble seems to communicate in the universal language of “dinner” to any game fish nearby.

What has really sold us on the Bandit B-Shad is its durability. We’ve banged them across rocks and submerged logs—the paint and hardware stand up remarkably well.

It’s a lure that not only promises action but also delivers dive after dive.

Buying Guide

Understanding Lure Types

We need to consider different types of lures based on the water conditions and walleye behavior.

Jigging lures are essential for their versatility and effectiveness in cold waters, while crankbaits offer a wobbling action that entices walleye in various depths.

Lure TypeUse Case
JiggingIdeal for vertical presentations in deep water or when walleye are close to the bottom.
CrankbaitSuitable for covering large areas of water at different depths.

Material and Build Quality

It’s important to focus on lures made of high-quality materials that withstand the wear and tear of frequent fishing.

  • Durability: Look for lures that are durable and can hold up against the tough jaws and teeth of walleye.
  • Material: Metal and hard plastics are common, each offering unique movement and durability characteristics.

Size and Weight

Walleye can be particular about the size and weight of their prey, especially early in the season when they may prefer smaller bait.

  • Size: Start with smaller sizes as walleye tend to go after baitfish that are abundant in spring.
  • Weight: Choose a weight that allows for the necessary casting distance and depth control.

Color and Reflectivity

Walleye vision is attuned to certain colors and reflective qualities in low light and murky water conditions.

  • Color: Natural colors that imitate live bait are often a safe choice, but it’s worthwhile to have a variety of colors to test out.
  • Reflectivity: Lures with shiny or holographic finishes can reflect light to attract walleye on overcast days or in stained waters.

Hook Quality

A sharp and strong hook is crucial for ensuring that when we get a bite, we successfully set the hook.

  • Sharpness: Hooks must be exceptionally sharp to penetrate the tough mouth of a walleye.
  • Strength: Ensure that hooks are strong enough to resist bending while fighting a fish.

Early Season Walleye Lures: FAQ

In our extensive experience with early-season walleye fishing, we’ve learned that certain lures and baits are prime choices for successful outings. Below, we answer the most common questions regarding these preferred lures and techniques.

What are the most effective lures for walleye during the early spring season?

During early spring, we often find that jigs tipped with a minnow or soft plastics in natural colors yield excellent results. Suspending jerk baits and swimbaits are also highly effective for tempting pre-spawn walleyes in colder waters.

Which live baits work best when targeting early-season walleye?

For live baits, we’ve seen that minnows are top performers due to their natural movement and scent. They attract walleye that are lethargic from the winter. Leeches and nightcrawlers also work well, particularly as the water begins to warm.

What colors of lures are preferred for catching walleye in the springtime?

We’ve noticed that walleye in the spring have a preference for lures in silver, gold, or natural baitfish patterns. These colors mimic the forage in their environment. In murky water, bright colors like chartreuse can be more productive.

Can you recommend any shore fishing techniques for walleye in the spring?

When fishing from the shore, we recommend casting jigs or crankbaits toward drop-offs and retrieving them slowly. Walleye are often cruising these areas looking for a meal. Long casts with light lines can also help reach the depths where walleye may be holding.

What are the top blade baits for targeting walleye?

For blade baits, we suggest using slender, vibrating models that produce a lot of noise and vibration. These can be effective in both clear and stained waters. Silver and gold finishes, as well as those that imitate the flash of baitfish, often produce the best results.

For beginners targeting walleye, which lures would you suggest starting with?

We advise beginners to start with simple jigs and soft plastics. These are versatile and can be fished in various conditions. They’re also easier to manage and can be used with a straightforward retrieve or jigging motion. Both of these motions are effective for 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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