When Does Walleye Fishing Start: A Comprehensive Guide to Seasonal Timing

Walleye Season start PIC scaled

Walleye fishing is an exciting outdoor activity that many anglers look forward to each year. As the temperature begins to warm up, these popular game fish become more active, making it the ideal time to start casting your lines. The start of the walleye fishing season typically depends on the location and weather conditions, but knowing the general timeline can help you make the most of your walleye fishing adventures.

The walleye spawn occurs when water temperatures start to hit around 40 degrees Fahrenheit, marking the beginning of prime walleye fishing time. As the temperatures continue to rise, reaching the mid-50s, the walleye spawn generally comes to an end. Keep in mind, though, that variables like weather and location can alter this timeline from year to year. Anglers should also keep an eye on local regulations and fishing calendars, as official opening dates for walleye season can vary by region.

Key Takeaways

  • Walleye fishing season typically starts around the walleye spawn, which occurs when water temperatures reach around 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Prime time for walleye fishing tends to end as temperatures rise to the mid-50s, concluding the spawn.
  • Local regulations and fishing calendars should be consulted for official walleye season opening dates, as they can differ by location.

When Does Walleye Fishing Season Start?

Spawning Times Vary Across North America Depending On Location

Walleye fishing season is heavily influenced by the fish’s spawning behavior. As water temperatures rise above freezing points, walleyes start congregating near spawning grounds, usually in shallow water near rocky or sandy shorelines of rivers, lakes, and reservoirs. Spawning typically begins when water temperatures reach around 40 degrees Fahrenheit and ends when they reach the mid-50s.

The exact timing of walleye spawning varies across North America, depending on factors like geographical location and local climate conditions. In the northern regions, walleye spawn in early spring, whereas in southern regions, they may spawn in late winter or early spring.

Keep in mind that water temperatures can vary greatly from one body of water to another, so it’s important to monitor local conditions to determine the best timing for walleye fishing in your area.

Check Local Fishing Regulations For Exact Season Opening And Closing Dates In Your Area

Different regions have specific regulations governing the walleye fishing season, including season opening and closing dates. These regulations are put in place to protect the fish population and ensure sustainable fishing practices.

Before heading out on your walleye fishing trip, it’s essential to check with your local fish and wildlife department or consult relevant websites for the most up-to-date information on walleye fishing regulations in your area. Regulations may include daily limits, size limits, and specific gear restrictions.

To improve your chances of catching walleye, consider fishing during their most active feeding times, which are typically early morning, evening, and night. Walleyes are primarily a deep, cool-water species but move to shallow waters to feed and spawn.

Remember, as you plan your walleye fishing adventure, it’s essential to stay informed about the optimal timing and follow local regulations to protect this highly prized fish species.


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Prime Time To Fish For Walleye


Fishing for walleyes during the pre-spawn period can be rewarding as they’re actively feeding before they start to spawn. During this time, walleyes tend to move into shallow waters and congregate near quick currents and structures. Anglers can take advantage of this by using jigs and crankbaits to target these fish effectively near the structures. Keep in mind that water temperature plays a significant role in triggering the pre-spawn movements. The ideal temperature range for the pre-spawn period is around 38°F to 42°F.


Walleye spawn usually occurs in spring, typically between late March and early May, when water temperatures range from 42 to 50°F (5.5 to 10°C) . Spawning happens at night, with lunar phases potentially influencing peak activity. During the spawn, walleyes focus on reproduction, so they may become less responsive to bait. Nevertheless, anglers can still find success in fishing near shallow rocky areas and gravel beds where walleyes are likely to lay their eggs.

Understanding the spawn behavior, it’s crucial to adjust your fishing techniques; jigs become more essential during this time as walleyes move to shallow waters for reproduction. Slow down your retrieval speed to attract the fish, as they can be less active in feeding during the spawning period.


Post-spawn is the time when walleyes recover from the energy spent on reproduction and start feeding actively again. They usually move to more profound waters and scatter around different structures. This is an excellent time to try various techniques like trolling, using crankbaits and even slow-moving jigs to cover more extensive areas of deeper water.

Post-spawn walleyes might also favor areas with high flow or a strong current to look for an easier meal. As the water temperature continues to rise above 50°F, the fish will move into more open waters, and anglers can use quick retrieval techniques and heavier baits to target these hungry fish.

In conclusion, understanding the different walleye life stages and adjusting your fishing techniques accordingly are essential to increase your chances of a successful catch. By knowing what to expect and how to approach walleyes during pre-spawn, spawn, and post-spawn periods, you can maximize your efficiency on the water and enjoy a rewarding fishing experience.


  1. When Do Walleye Spawn: Angling Season Calendar

Tips For Fishing The Walleye Spawn

The walleye spawn is an exciting time for anglers, as these fish become more aggressive and willing to strike a variety of lures and baits. During this period, which typically begins when water temperatures reach around 40 degrees Fahrenheit, fishing can be particularly productive.

One effective technique during the walleye spawn is to use live bait such as minnows or shad. These natural prey items can be very enticing to walleye, and presenting them on a jig or under a bobber can lead to great results. Be sure to match the size of the bait to the size of the walleye you’re targeting – larger minnows work well for bigger fish, and smaller minnows for more modest-sized specimens.

Artificial lures can also be highly successful during the spawn. Jigs, especially those tipped with soft plastic baits, mimic the movement of minnows and can trigger aggressive strikes from walleye. Other effective lures include crankbaits, jerkbaits, and spinner rigs, all of which can be slowly retrieved near spawning areas to attract attention.

Night fishing is another popular approach during the walleye spawn, as these fish are known to be more active during low light conditions. Anglers can take advantage of this by targeting walleye in shallow areas, near rocky shoals, and close to underwater vegetation. Using a quiet approach and casting glow-in-the-dark lures, or lures that produce sound or vibration, can help attract wary walleye in these situations.

As the walleye spawn occurs in spring, it’s important to be mindful of rapidly changing weather conditions and adjust your approach accordingly. Warmer days may see fish moving into shallower water, while cooler days might push them back to deeper areas. Keep an eye on water temperature and be prepared to explore different depths when searching for these elusive fish.

In conclusion, fishing for walleye during the spawn can be a memorable and rewarding experience. By employing the right combination of live baits, artificial lures, and strategic fishing times, anglers can greatly improve their chances of a successful outing. So, grab your gear and hit the water – the walleye are waiting!

Frequently Asked Questions

When does walleye season begin in New York?

The walleye season in New York typically begins on the first Saturday in May. This is when anglers can start targeting these popular sport fish in various bodies of water across the state.

What is the start date for walleye fishing in Wisconsin?

Walleye fishing season in Wisconsin generally starts on the first Saturday in May, similar to New York. It’s worth noting, however, that seasonal dates may vary slightly from year to year, so it’s always a good idea to double-check with local authorities or fishing guides.

When does the Minnesota walleye fishing season commence?

In Minnesota, the walleye fishing season usually starts on the second Saturday in May. The specific date can vary depending on the year, but it is a highly anticipated event for both locals and visitors.

What is the best month for walleye fishing?

The best month for walleye fishing often depends on the specific region, but in general, spring and fall months tend to yield the best results. During these times, walleye are actively feeding and more likely to be found in shallower waters, making them easier targets for anglers.

Are there specific walleye regulations in Minnesota?

Yes, Minnesota has specific regulations for walleye fishing to ensure the sustainability of the species and maintain a healthy ecosystem. These may include bag and size limits, as well as special rules for particular bodies of water. It’s essential to familiarize yourself with these regulations before heading out on the water.

When does walleye season end in various states?

The end of walleye season can differ across states. In some regions, it may run year-round with no specific closing date. However, in other states like Minnesota, the season usually closes around February 25th. Be sure to check your state’s regulations or consult with a local fishing guide to determine the specific season dates in your area.


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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