The tackle, flies and techniques you need to land walleye on the fly

Many walleye situations call for fast-action 8-weight fly outfits, and sinking linesMy go-to fly rod for walleye is a fast-action 8-weight. That’s so I can throw largish flies (more on that in a moment) with minimal effort. In the places I fish, it’s also quite common for walleye to be found with either pike or largemouth, often around weeds, so I want enough backbone to handle any kind of jungle combat that might ensue.


If the water is less than four feet deep, you can use a standard weight-forward floating line and weighted flies. In water any deeper, however, the only practical way to target walleye is with a full-sinking or sink-tip line. For years, I was reluctant to invest in a sinking line, but now I can’t imagine fishing a lake without one.

Finally, I use a simple length of 12- to 20-pound mono for a leader, upsizing around heavy cover or if it’s windy, since the extra stiffness will reduce leader tangles. With floating lines, use a six-foot leader; with sinking lines, keep it to 30 inches. If pike are in the neighbourhood, add a 12-inch wire bite tippet, or there will soon be a lot of hammer-handles sporting feathered lip jewellery.