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Walleye Fishing in Canada

Canadian walleye fishing destinations are known throughout the world of sport fishing as an ideal environment for trophy walleye. You can enjoy a shore lunch of walleye on one of the thousands of islands dotting the lakes of the Canadian Shield. In Eastern Canada you can enjoy walleye and pickerel fishing...the best of both worlds. Heading east or west, you'll have a multitude of choices to pick from in locating the best walleye fishing in Canada.

Walleye Biology

The walleye is a member of the perch family found in freshwater lakes and rivers throughout Canada. It has a long body, pointed mouth, and forked tail with one spiny dorsal fin and one soft dorsal fin. Its large protruding eyes give it greater vision at night and in low-visibility water. It feeds on smaller fish, insects, worms, and amphibians. Walleye spawn in sand and gravel beds of rivers and lakes in the springtime.

Common names include:
  • yellow walleye
  • pickerel
  • yellow pickerel
  • pike perch
  • In Quebec they are called dore or dore jaune
Walleye and pickerel are separate fish species in Canada although the names are often used interchangeably. While the walleye belongs to the perch family, pickerel belong to the pike family. Both are predatory fish with a similar look. Pickerel fishing stretches from Nova Scotia to Ontario in the warmer, shallow waters of lakes and rivers.

Canadian Walleye Fishing Tips

In the spring, walleye can be found in river currents or close to shore as they stay near their spawning areas to protect the eggs. They are very aggressive at this time of year so when the season opens cast along the shore with a light jig. Use bright-coloured lures and jigs as walleye will "hit" them to protect the eggs even if they aren't feeding. If you are pickerel fishing, the same tactics apply.

When Canadian walleye fishing or pickerel fishing in the spring it's best to troll the shoreline in order to pinpoint the area they are congregating in. Troll slowly with a bright-coloured floating rapala in 5 to 10 feet of water. When you start getting hits, stop the boat and start casting the area. Refrain from trolling the area continuously as you may spook them away.

In the summer when the temperatures rise, walleye head for deeper waters or in the case of shallow lakes, they'll head for weed-beds. A depth-finder is helpful to locate rocky drop-offs where they tend to "hang out". For pickerel fishing you can "jig" the bottom of deeper lakes or head for the weeds and cast or troll with a rapala.

Years ago, at my insistence, my father and I headed out walleye fishing in Canada at roughly six in the morning. We trolled, jigged, and cast around Clear Lake, in the Kawartha Lakes region, for 4 1/2 hours and didn't hit a thing. We used a fish finder and located a rocky drop-off at about 30 ft (9 m)...we had our limit in 1/2 hour using minnows.

Popular Canadian Walleye Fishing Destinations

To find the best walleye fishing in Canada is life-long project for the most avid angler. When you locate the "best spot", you'll find a better spot in another lake. You may never find the best walleye fishing destination but you'll have a whole lot of fun in the process. No matter where you travel in Canada, you'll have the opportunity to catch a "trophy" walleye. Canadian walleye fishing is enjoyed coast-to-coast in the hundreds of thousands of lakes that dot the landscape.

Ontario alone has over 250,000 lakes available for walleye fishing in Canada. In most places you can participate in hunting in Canada as well. Ontario is home to wide-variety of game fish in addition to walleye such as largemouth and smallmouth bass, northern pike, muskie, lake trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, and salmon making it world-famous as a sport fishing destination. Popular walleye fishing destinations include:
  • Lake of the Woods is described as the "walleye capital of the world" and for good reason...there are over 100,000 kilometers (60,000 miles) of shoreline and more than 14,000 islands for walleye to hide around. Communities around Lake of the Woods include Kenora, Morson, Nestor Falls, and Sioux Narrows, Ontario.
  • Lake Nipissing and the French River are excellent walleye fishing destinations. My favourite spot for walleye fishing in Canada, since I was a child, has been Dokis Riverview Cottages about 12 miles downstream from Lake Nipissing on the French River.
Canadian walleye fishing destinations offer fishing outfitters, resorts and lodges, fishing guides, and cottage rentals in Canada. You won't encounter a shortage of fishing accommodations and if you want to "rough it"; you can go camping in Canada at country-wide campgrounds. There are also Canadian fly-in fishing destinations available across the country.

Other Canadian walleye fishing destinations include:
  • Red River in Manitoba
  • Upper Columbia River in British Columbia
  • Crawling Valley Reservoir in Alberta
  • Lake Diefenbaker in Saskatchewan
  • St. Lawrence River in Quebec
  • Lake Champlain, Quebec
With the possible exception of salmon fishing, walleye fishing in Canada is the "species of choice" with most sport fishermen. Whether it's the challenge of the fight or the sumptuous flavour, Canadian walleye fishing provides it all. Eastern Canada offers some of the finest pickerel fishing and a shore lunch on an uninhabited island will "top off" the day. Whatever part of the country you choose you'll find walleye fishing destinations that "deliver the goods".
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