Skills: Walleye on the fly ... any ideas?

The sun sets over Whitewater Lake in northwest Ontario.

I’m at Striker’s Point Lodge, part of the the Wilderness North Lodge system in Ontario. We arrived after a 90-minute float-plane ride from Thunder Bay this afternoon, and, after getting our gear all unpacked and a quick dinner, we hit Whitewater Lake in search of some walleye for tomorrow’s shore lunch.

While a couple of us managed to bring some fish to hand, nobody did very well with the fly rod. I managed one quick and exciting hook-up, but I ended up with nothing to show for it. Thankfully, my buddy and fellow TU staffer Mark Taylor stuck a few fish on some soft plastics with this spinning rod so we won’t go hungry tomorrow.

Walleye can be caught on a fly, even though they tend to hang out close to the bottom where they ambush everything from leeches to small fish. The trick is to get the fly down to their level and hope they’ll show some interest.

Mark Melnyk, a well-known Toronto-based angler, has had some success with walleyes, and he suggested a couple of methods for me today. The first involved a sinking line and the appropriate fly. I fished a black leech with no luck and a big yellow Clouser (I got the hit on the latter). The idea, Mark says, is to simply drift the fly with a little movement through the suspected walleye hangouts. This is how I got a hook-up today.

The second method simply involves a floating line, a long leader and the right fly (leech, Clouser, ‘bugger, etc.) drifted under an indicator. I didn’t try this method today, and, frankly, it doesn’t really turn my crank.

Long story short… I’m open to ideas. Anyone out there have consistent success on walleyes with a fly rod? Share your I’m best methods, and I’ll send those of you with the best ideas some TU swag when I get home to Idaho, hopefully just time for runoff to come to an end.

— Chris Hunt

By Chris Hunt.