Walleye Fishing Early Summer: Expert Tips for Maximum Catch

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As summer approaches and water temperatures begin to rise, walleye enthusiasts can find themselves navigating new fishing challenges while seeking their favorite piscine quarry. Understanding the unique behavior of walleyes in early summer can give anglers an edge when it comes to locating and successfully catching these prized fish. During this time, surface water temperatures typically reach around 70 degrees, causing walleye to disperse and adopt different patterns in various bodies of water.

The key to a successful early summer walleye trip involves using the right tackle and equipment suited to the changing environment. Anglers should employ proven techniques that adapt to the seasonal shifts in walleye behavior, such as exploring deeper lakes, weed lines, and shallow rock reefs. Furthermore, being aware of weather conditions and ensuring the safety of both fish and fisherman is of utmost importance during this period.

Key Takeaways

  • Early summer presents unique challenges for locating and catching walleyes as they disperse and adapt to changing water temperatures.
  • Utilizing appropriate tackle, equipment, and techniques is crucial to yielding successful catches in early summer.
  • Being mindful of weather conditions and prioritizing safety should be an integral part of every angler’s early summer walleye fishing experience.

Understanding Walleye Behavior in Early Summer

Seasonal Transitions

In early summer, walleyes undergo significant behavioral changes as they adapt to the warmer water temperatures and the abundance of food sources. They tend to actively feed throughout this period, making it an ideal time to target them for anglers. Typically, sometime in June or early July, surface water temperatures in northern lakes reach 70 degrees, causing insect hatches to begin and walleyes to disperse into the lakes1.

Preferred Depths and Locations

As the season progresses, walleyes will move towards their summer haunts on mid-lake structures1. Their adaptability to various environments and conditions2 influences the depths at which walleyes can be found during this time of year. While some walleyes may reside in shallow waters, others might prefer deeper locations[^5^].

In lakes with abundant shallow water vegetation, some walleyes may remain close to these areas, taking advantage of available cover and feeding opportunities. On the other hand, in lakes with deeper structures such as underwater humps and drop-offs, walleyes might be found at greater depths. Additionally, temperature also plays a crucial role in determining their preferred depth3.

Adjusting Techniques and Locations

Anglers targeting walleye in early summer should be prepared to adjust their fishing techniques and strategies according to the specific conditions and preferences of the fish. Understanding how walleyes react to their environment can be the key to success in catching them during this transitional period2.

  • For shallow water fishing, consider using crankbaits or-spinner rigs, which can prove effective in enticing walleyes to bite.
  • In deeper locations, try jigging or bottom bouncing techniques with live bait, as these methods are often productive for catching walleyes in deeper structures.
  • Pay attention to water temperature, as it directly impacts walleye behavior and location3. Be prepared to adjust your approach accordingly, targeting areas that offer optimal temperatures for walleyes.

By understanding the behavior of walleyes during these early summer months and adapting your techniques, you can increase your chances of a successful fishing expedition.


  1. Smorgasbord of Options: Tips for Early-summer Walleyes 2
  2. Learning to Pattern Summer Walleyes – MidWest Outdoors 2
  3. Walleye Fishing Fundamentals | Bass Pro Shops 2

Tackle and Equipment for Early Summer Walleye Fishing

In early summer, walleye fishing can offer a variety of experiences due to the fluctuating water temperatures and the shifting locations of the fish. Having the right tackle and equipment can make all the difference when it comes to landing these elusive predators.

Rods and Reels

A proper rod and reel setup is essential when targeting early summer walleyes. Medium or medium-light power rods are generally recommended, as they offer a good balance between sensitivity and strength. Equipped with an equally balanced reel, these combinations can handle various artificial lures and live bait presentations with ease. A versatile option for beginners is a 6’6″ medium-power rod for learning how to fish for walleye.

Line and Leader

Early summer walleyes often hold in different depths, requiring anglers to adjust their line and leader accordingly. For trolling with crankbaits, leadcore line is an effective choice to sink the lures to the desired depth while still maintaining a reasonable amount of line control. In contrast, fluorocarbon leaders are a great addition when using live bait because they are nearly invisible in the water, thereby increasing the chances of enticing a walleye to strike.

Lures and Baits

Several productive lures and baits can be used to target early summer walleyes. Spinner rigs are versatile choices that can be paired with bullet sinkers, bottom bouncers, or planer boards to suit the depth of the walleyes. Trolling with crankbaits is another effective method, especially when searching for aggressive fish.

For an alternative to traditional crankbaits, consider using the Bandit B-Rotan, which features a more aggressive action, a wide wobble, and a loud rattle that can entice strikes from wary walleyes. Combining both live bait and artificial presentations can increase the chances of finding success, as fish may prefer one over the other depending on the day.

Proven Techniques for Early Summer Walleye Fishing


Jigging is a versatile and effective technique for catching early-summer walleye. It involves using a weighted lure and rhythmic movements to attract fish to your bait. Start with a 1/8 to 1/4 ounce jig and experiment with various colors depending on water conditions. In clear water, use natural colors like green or brown, while in murky water, try brighter colors like orange or chartreuse. Cast the jig out and let it sink to the bottom, then gently lift the rod tip, and let the jig fall back down. Repeat this process, and maintain close contact with the bottom to target walleye.


Trolling allows anglers to cover more water and locate active walleye. One popular trolling technique for early-summer walleye is using spinner rigs with live bait such as nightcrawlers, leeches, or minnows1. You can attach your spinner rig to a bottom bouncer or use planer boards to ensure your bait remains at the optimal depth. Moreover, trolling crankbaits, like mentioned in this source, can also be profitable. Adjust your trolling speed based on the water temperature; warmer water requires a faster trolling speed (2-3 mph), while cooler water necessitates a slower pace.

Casting and Retrieving

Casting and retrieving is a simple and effective technique for early-summer walleye fishing, especially when targeting shallow rock reefs or weed edges. Equip your setup with a soft plastic swimbait or plug style lure, and cast it out to your desired location. Allow the lure to reach the appropriate depth and then begin a steady retrieve. Modify the speed and action of the lure to match local prey species and draw the attention of the walleye.

In summary, jigging, trolling, and casting and retrieving are proven tactics for early-summer walleye fishing. Employ these techniques separately or in combination to locate and catch more walleye during this dynamic fishing season.


  1. https://midwestoutdoors.com/fishing/smorgasbord-options-tips-early-summer-walleyes/

Weather and Environmental Factors

When it comes to walleye fishing in early summer, weather and environmental factors can have a significant impact on the angler’s success. In this section, we will be discussing the effects of barometric pressure, water temperature, and light conditions on walleye fishing.

Barometric Pressure

Barometric pressure changes can influence walleye behavior and feeding patterns. Walleye tend to feed more actively during periods of stable or rising barometric pressure, while they may become less active during a sharp drop in pressure. Fishermen would do well to pay attention to these changes when planning their fishing trips.

Water Temperature

Walleye are sensitive to water temperature, as it plays a key role in their metabolism and movements during early summer. Generally, walleye prefer water temperatures between 60°F and 70°F. As temperatures reach the higher end of this range, anglers may need to target deeper waters where conditions are more favorable for the fish. In addition, anglers should also be aware of the potential for a “summer kill” in northern lakes when surface water temperatures exceed 80°F.

Light Conditions

Walleye fishing can also be influenced by light conditions, as this species is known for being more active during low-light periods such as dawn, dusk, and overcast days. Anglers should take advantage of these times to capitalize on increased feeding activity. Additionally, walleye in deeper water can be a bit more aggressive during the day, which may provide opportunities for daytime fishing success in deeper areas.

Safety Tips for Early Summer Walleye Fishing

Boating Safety

Early summer is a great time to go walleye fishing, but it’s crucial to prioritize safety on the water. Always check the weather forecast before departing and avoid going out in storms or strong winds. In addition, make sure the boat is in good working condition, paying particular attention to the engine, hull, and steering system.

When operating a boat, maintain a safe speed and keep a lookout for other water crafts, swimmers, or obstacles in the water. It’s essential to have proper navigation lights and to use them when appropriate. Furthermore, docking and launching the boat should be done cautiously, especially during busy weekends when there may be more boaters around.

Personal Protective Equipment

Equally important for early summer walleye fishing is wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). Life jackets are a must for everyone on board, as they can reduce the risk of drowning in case of an accident. When choosing a life jacket, ensure that it is the right size and fit for the wearer and is approved by the local authorities.

Sun protection is crucial during the early summer season. A wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and a high SPF sunscreen can protect your skin and eyes from harmful UV rays. Wearing lightweight, long-sleeved shirts and pants can also provide additional sun protection while keeping you cool.

Lastly, don’t forget about proper footwear. Non-slip shoes or sandals provide better grip on wet surfaces, reducing the risk of slipping and falling overboard. Plus, it’s important to carry a first aid kit on board for emergencies and know how to use it effectively.

By adhering to these boating safety and PPE guidelines, early summer walleye fishing can be a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone involved.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you catch walleye early in the summer?

Early summer walleye fishing requires adapting to the changing water temperatures and fish behavior. Generally, walleyes can be found in shallower waters as temperatures begin to rise. Focus on areas where fish are likely to congregate, such as weed lines, drop-offs, and rocky structures. Use a combination of trolling, jigging, and live bait rigs to cover these spots effectively.

What lures are most effective for early summer walleye?

During early summer, walleye can be aggressive and more likely to pursue various lures. Some effective options include crankbaits, spinner rigs, and slow death rigs. Choose lures that mimic the walleye’s natural food sources, such as minnows, leeches, and crawlers. Be sure to vary lure colors and sizes to find what works best in your fishing area.

What is the best bait for walleye during early summer?

Live bait is often very effective for catching walleye during early summer. Minnows, leeches, and nightcrawlers are popular choices. Experiment with different types and sizes of bait to determine what the walleye are most interested in. Be sure to use appropriate hook sizes and rigs to present the bait naturally.

What are some useful June walleye fishing tips?

June is when the summer fishing patterns begin to develop. Pay attention to water temperature, as walleyes are at their maximum dispersal pattern during this time. Key in on weed edges, drop-offs, and other structures that hold fish. Utilize different fishing techniques, such as trolling, jigging, and slip bobber setups. Don’t be afraid to change tactics and depths throughout the day to adapt to the walleye’s feeding patterns.

Are there specific techniques for early summer river walleye?

Early summer river walleye fishing can require different approaches than lake fishing. Focus on current breaks, such as eddies, points, wing dams, and other structures where walleye may rest or feed. Vertical jigging, casting crankbaits, or using slip bobber rigs can all be successful techniques in river environments. Continually adjust your presentation to match the current speed and depth.

How does late spring walleye fishing differ from early summer?

Late spring walleye fishing usually involves cooler water temperatures and fish still primarily feeding on their spring diet. In contrast, early summer walleye fishing is marked by water temperatures reaching into the 70s, the development of algae blooms, and a transition towards summer feeding patterns. Adjusting your tactics, lure selection, and target depths can help ensure success during this transition from late spring to early summer.


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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