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Walleye Fact Sheet

information About Walleye


Big Walleye

Big Walleye

2009 Ted Pilgrim, licensed to About.com
Walleye are a favorite fish of anglers and many say they are the best tasting fish in freshwater. Walleye (picture) are not the hardest fighting freshwater fish but they are delicious when cooked in a variety of ways.

  • Walleye Description -Are the largest member of the perch family. Large, glassy, opaque eyes give it its name Dark olive brown to golden brown body may be splotched with lighter colors. The dorsal fin maybe streaked, blotched or palin, but lacks clear spots and there is big blotch at the back edge, distinguising it from a sauger.
  • Size - World record is a 25 pound fish caught by Mabry Harper in 1960 in Old Hickory Lake in Tennessee. Legal size limits are often set at 14 inches on heavily fished lakes.
  • Distribution - Native to the north of North America, as far south as New Mexico and Tennessee it has been transplanted to waters all over the US and the world.
  • What Walleye Eat- Walleye mainly feed on smaller fish but will eat worms and insects, too.
  • Spawn - Walleye spawn on hard bottoms like rock, gravel or rubble in shallow water that is swept by current or wind blown waves when temperatures reach 42 - 50 degrees. They spawn very early, as soon as ice is out in northern waters. A five pound female may lay 100,000 eggs.
  • Attraction to Light - Walleye are very sensitive to light and feed at night or in stained water. They seek shade or deep water during the day.
  • Life Cycle - Males fan beds in shallow water and females lay the eggs in them and they are then fertilized by the males. Young walleye fry feed on tiny crustaceans and insect larvae in the shallows, moving to deeper weed beds and feeding on fish at they grow.
  • Problems - Walleye don't generally cause problems even when introduced into lakes where they are not native
  • Walleye are a good eating fish that are widespread and hit a variety of baits. Walleye tournaments are popular on waters where they grow bigger, and they are one of the most popular fish in the US.
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