3 Triggers for Predicting the Walleye Spawn

3 Triggers for Predicting the Walleye Spawn

Wisconsinites chase walleyes throughout the year like kids chase ice cream trucks.

We are obsessed!

Walleye are prized for their firm, white flesh and mild, delicate flavor, making them a popular game fish for recreational anglers and commercial fishermen alike.

In addition to being a delicious food fish, walleye are known for the challenge of getting them to bite. Google “walleye lures and baits” and you’ll find thousands of articles on the subject.

One of the best times to fish for these delectable aquatics is when the snow melts, and we all get the spring fever bug. This is when they are the most active at all times of the day, not just during low-light periods such as early morning, late evening, and nighttime.

The walleye spawn, specifically in Wisconsin rivers, are triggered by a combination of environmental cues, including changes in water temperature, daylight hours, and water flow.

  1. In general, walleye spawning begins when water temperatures reach around 42-50°F (5.6-10°C), typically in early spring. As the water temperature rises, walleye move from deeper water towards shallow gravel or rocky areas in rivers to spawn.
    • For reference, you can check the water temperatures of all the rivers in Wisconsin here.
  2. Daylight hours also play a role in triggering the walleye spawn. As the days become longer, the walleye’s hormonal systems are stimulated, which leads to an increase in their spawning behavior.
  3. Water flow is another important factor that can trigger walleye spawning. When water levels rise and the current speeds up, it can stimulate walleye to move towards spawning areas.

Overall, the timing of walleye spawning can vary from year to year and even from river to river within Wisconsin, depending on the specific environmental conditions. But if you pay attention, and monitor the water temperature closely, you can increase your chances of success.

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