Discover the Ultimate Guide to Catching Walleye While Ice Fishing at Night

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Are you a passionate ice fisherman looking to up your game and catch more walleye? Look no further than this ultimate guide to catching walleye while ice fishing at night. Walleye are notoriously tricky to catch, but with the right techniques and equipment, you can increase your chances of success.

Ice fishing at night can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it comes with its own set of challenges. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to catch walleye in the dark, from why they’re more active at night to the best equipment and bait to use. We’ll also share expert tips for locating the best spots and staying safe on the ice.

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a newbie to ice fishing, this guide will provide you with the knowledge and tools you need to catch more walleye while ice fishing at night. Keep reading to discover the ultimate guide to catching walleye in the dark.

Ready to take your ice fishing skills to the next level? Keep reading to learn how to catch more walleye while ice fishing at night.

Why Walleye are More Active at Night

Walleye are one of the most popular game fish in North America, and while they can be caught during the day, many anglers swear by night fishing. So, why are walleye more active at night? The answer lies in their biology and behavior.

Walleye have large eyes that are sensitive to light, and they are adapted to low-light conditions. During the day, they tend to stay in deeper waters or under cover to avoid bright sunlight. But at night, they are more active and will move into shallower waters to feed, making them easier targets for anglers.

The Benefits of Night Fishing for Walleye

  • Night fishing can be less crowded, giving you more space to fish and less competition for the walleye.
  • Walleye tend to be more aggressive at night and will strike at lures more readily.
  • The cooler temperatures at night can also make for more comfortable fishing conditions during the summer months.

Tips for Night Fishing for Walleye

If you’re new to night fishing for walleye, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, make sure you have the right equipment, including a good quality fishing rod and reel, lures, and bait. You’ll also want to have a good quality headlamp or other lighting to help you see what you’re doing.

  • Choose a spot with a good amount of structure, such as weeds or drop-offs, where walleye are likely to be feeding.
  • Use lures that mimic the movement and color of the walleye’s natural prey, such as minnows or leeches.
  • Try different retrieval speeds and techniques to see what works best for the walleye in your area.


Night fishing for walleye can be a rewarding and exciting experience for anglers of all skill levels. With the right equipment and a little bit of knowledge, you can increase your chances of catching these elusive fish. So, next time you’re planning a fishing trip, consider hitting the water at night and see what you can catch.

The Best Equipment for Ice Fishing at Night

Ice fishing at night is a thrilling and rewarding experience, but having the right equipment is crucial to success. The best equipment for ice fishing at night is designed to maximize visibility, comfort, and safety while out on the ice.

Here are some essential pieces of equipment to consider before heading out:

Ice Shelter

An ice shelter is an important piece of equipment for any ice fishing trip, especially at night. Not only does it provide protection from the cold and wind, but it also provides privacy and a dark environment for better visibility of fish under the ice. A pop-up shelter is a great option for quick and easy setup, while a hub-style shelter offers more space and stability.


Having adequate lighting is essential when ice fishing at night. Headlamps or clip-on lights can be worn to provide hands-free lighting, while lanterns and flashlights can be used to illuminate the area around the fishing hole. LED lights are a popular choice because they are bright, energy-efficient, and long-lasting.

Ice Auger

An ice auger is used to drill holes in the ice for fishing. A gas-powered auger is ideal for ice fishing at night because it is fast and powerful, making it easier to drill through thick ice. A manual auger can also be used but requires more physical effort and time.

  • Tip: Be sure to check local regulations for ice thickness requirements before heading out on the ice.

Rods and Reels

Ice fishing rods and reels are designed to be shorter and more sensitive than traditional fishing gear. This allows anglers to detect even the slightest bites from fish below the ice. Lighter line is also recommended for ice fishing to increase sensitivity and reduce resistance in the water.

  • Tip: Consider investing in a tip-up, which is a device that holds the fishing line and signals when a fish is biting. This allows for multiple lines to be fished at once, increasing the chances of catching walleye.

Having the right equipment can make all the difference when ice fishing at night. Investing in quality equipment will not only improve your chances of catching walleye but also make the experience more comfortable and enjoyable.

Tips for Choosing the Right Bait for Nighttime Walleye Fishing

When it comes to fishing for walleye at night, choosing the right bait is crucial to your success. Below are some tips to help you select the best bait for your nighttime walleye fishing trip.

First and foremost, it’s important to consider the type of baitfish that walleye feed on in your specific body of water. Understanding the local ecology will help you make informed decisions when selecting bait. Additionally, consider using live bait, such as minnows, as they tend to be highly effective when targeting walleye at night.


Jigs are a popular and versatile bait for walleye fishing at night. They can be fished vertically or cast and retrieved, making them an excellent option for both beginners and experienced anglers. When selecting a jig, consider the weight and color. Light-colored jigs tend to work well in clear water, while darker-colored jigs work better in murky water.


Crankbaits are another effective option for nighttime walleye fishing. Look for crankbaits with a wobbling action, as this mimics the natural movement of baitfish. Choose colors that mimic the local baitfish and consider using models with rattles to attract more fish.


Spinnerbaits can also be an effective choice for nighttime walleye fishing, particularly in shallow water. Choose a spinnerbait with a Colorado blade, as this provides a strong vibration and helps the bait stand out in the dark. Consider using a skirted spinnerbait to mimic the movement of a minnow.

How to Locate the Best Spots for Walleye Ice Fishing at Night

Walleye ice fishing at night can be a thrilling and rewarding experience, but it can also be challenging to locate the best spots. Here are some tips to help you find the best spots for walleye ice fishing at night:

The first thing to keep in mind when looking for walleye fishing spots is that these fish are often found in deeper water during the day, but move into shallower waters at night to feed. This means that you should focus your efforts on areas with a gradual slope that lead into deeper water, such as drop-offs, points, and weed edges.

Look for underwater structures

  • Search for underwater structures such as weed beds, rock piles, and submerged logs. Walleye often use these structures for shelter during the day and come out to feed at night.
  • Use a fish finder to locate these structures and mark them on your map so you can return to them later.

Pay attention to light sources

  • Walleye are attracted to light sources, which can make them easier to catch at night.
  • Look for areas where lights are shining on the water, such as streetlights, marinas, and other structures.
  • Drill your holes near these light sources, but keep in mind that walleye are also sensitive to light and may move away from bright lights.

Check the weather and water conditions

The weather and water conditions can have a big impact on walleye behavior, so it’s important to pay attention to them when selecting your fishing spot.

  • Walleye tend to be more active when the water is warmer, so look for areas where the water is slightly warmer than surrounding areas.
  • Check the wind direction and speed, as walleye are more likely to be found on the downwind side of structures.
  • Pay attention to changes in water temperature and barometric pressure, as these can also affect walleye behavior.

By following these tips, you can increase your chances of locating the best spots for walleye ice fishing at night and have a successful and enjoyable fishing trip.

Techniques for Catching Walleye While Ice Fishing at Night

Ice fishing for walleye is an exhilarating and rewarding experience, especially when done at night. However, catching these elusive fish requires some specialized techniques. Here are some tips to help you increase your chances of catching walleye while ice fishing at night.

First and foremost, it is important to use the right gear. A sensitive rod with a light action tip and a medium to fast action backbone is recommended for walleye fishing. Pair this with a small spinning reel, and you’re good to go. A depth finder and underwater camera can also be helpful in locating fish and determining their behavior.

Use Live Bait

Walleye are known to prefer live bait such as minnows, leeches, and nightcrawlers. When using live bait, it is important to match the size of the bait to the size of the fish you are targeting. Smaller baits can be used for smaller fish, while larger baits can be used for larger fish. Make sure to keep your bait lively and active to attract the attention of walleye.

Try Jigging

Jigging is a popular technique for catching walleye. It involves using a jig lure and bouncing it up and down to create a natural-looking movement. You can vary the speed and depth of the jigging to see what works best for the fish in your area. Try using glow-in-the-dark or brightly colored lures to attract fish in low-light conditions.

Use Tip-Ups

Tip-ups are a type of fishing device that allows you to fish multiple holes at once. They consist of a spool of line attached to a flag that pops up when a fish bites. Tip-ups can be a great way to cover more ground and increase your chances of catching walleye. Use live bait or artificial lures with your tip-ups for the best results.

Expert Advice for Staying Safe While Nighttime Ice Fishing for Walleye

Ice fishing can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it can also be dangerous if proper precautions are not taken. Here are some expert tips for staying safe while nighttime ice fishing for walleye.

Check ice thickness regularly

Before heading out, make sure to check the ice thickness. A minimum of four inches of clear ice is needed for walking, and at least eight to ten inches is required for vehicles. Use an ice auger or drill to make a test hole every few feet to check the ice thickness as you walk.

Some additional tips:

  • Ice can be thinner around rocks, bridges, and inlets, so exercise caution in these areas.
  • White ice is weaker than blue ice, so be extra careful when walking on white ice.

Dress in layers and stay dry

Staying warm and dry is essential for staying safe while ice fishing. Dress in layers so you can adjust your clothing to your body temperature. Wear insulated boots, waterproof gloves, and a warm hat to protect your extremities from the cold. Avoid cotton, as it absorbs moisture and loses its insulation properties when wet.

Some additional tips:

  • Bring extra clothing in case you get wet or cold.
  • Avoid alcohol, as it impairs judgment and increases the risk of hypothermia.

Bring safety equipment

Always bring safety equipment with you while ice fishing. A life jacket or personal floatation device (PFD) is essential, especially if you plan to use a snowmobile or ATV on the ice. Ice picks or awls can be used to pull yourself out of the water if you fall through the ice. A whistle can also be used to signal for help.

Some additional tips:

  • Bring a fully charged mobile phone and store it in a waterproof container.
  • Never go ice fishing alone. Always bring a friend or let someone know where you will be and when you plan to return.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best time to catch walleye while ice fishing at night?

The best time to catch walleye while ice fishing at night is during the early morning hours, right before sunrise or in the evening during sunset. Walleye are known to be more active during low-light conditions, so fishing during these times increases your chances of success.

What is the best bait to use when ice fishing for walleye at night?

The best bait to use when ice fishing for walleye at night is a minnow or a jig. Walleye are attracted to live bait, so using a live minnow can be very effective. A jig tipped with a piece of minnow also works well. It’s important to experiment with different colors and sizes to see what works best in the specific body of water you’re fishing in.

How deep should I fish for walleye while ice fishing at night?

Walleye can be found at varying depths depending on the body of water you’re fishing in, but a good rule of thumb is to start fishing around 15-20 feet deep. From there, adjust your depth based on the fish’s activity level and where they’re feeding. Pay attention to your sonar and experiment with different depths to find where the fish are biting.

What type of equipment do I need for ice fishing walleye at night?

When ice fishing for walleye at night, you’ll need a few key pieces of equipment. You’ll need a good quality ice auger to drill holes in the ice, an ice fishing rod and reel, and warm clothing to stay comfortable. You’ll also need a sonar device to locate fish and a headlamp or flashlight to see in the dark.

What safety precautions should I take when ice fishing for walleye at night?

When ice fishing for walleye at night, it’s important to take safety precautions. Always check the ice thickness and wear appropriate clothing to stay warm. Use a spud bar to check the ice thickness as you move out on the ice. Bring a friend and tell someone where you’re going and when you plan to return. Always keep a first-aid kit with you and know how to use it in case of an emergency.

What is the best way to clean and cook walleye?

The best way to clean walleye is to fillet them. Use a sharp fillet knife and cut along the spine to remove the meat from the bones. Rinse the fillets with cold water and pat dry. To cook, pan-fry the fillets in butter or oil until golden brown. Serve with your favorite sides for a delicious meal.

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