The Most Comprehensive Guide for Walleye Rigs

Rigs are among the most powerful fishing setups available to catch walleye throughout the open-water season. They can be used for trolling, casting, or stationary fishing and successfully deliver your bait at the proper depth.

Additionally, they are ideal for finesse techniques since fishers can utilize live bait and fluorocarbon leaders that are almost undetectable in the water to catch particular walleyes.

We’ll cover the top 8 walleye rigs in this post and go into great detail about each one so you can decide which is ideal for you.

How To Rig For Walleye?

The following are the top eight walleye fishing rigs:

  • Bottom bouncer rig
  • Lindy rig
  • Crawler harness
  • Carolina rig
  • Slip bobber rig
  • Ned rig
  • Slip sinker rig
  • 3-way rig

The variety of rigs available may sound a little overwhelming if you’re a beginner.

But keep in mind that you only need one of them to get started, and depending on the environment and fishing strategies, you’ll probably only use two or three of them as you gain more expertise.

Bottom Bouncer Rig

Bottom Bouncing Rig For Walleye
Bottom Bouncing Rig For Walleye


A bottom bouncer rig is one of the most effective trolling techniques for catching walleye, and it can also be used successfully from shore. Compared to other techniques, bottom bouncing for walleye has two significant benefits that could attract any walleye fisher.

The first advantage is that, depending on the length of the bottom bouncer wire, the bait will be displayed around a foot above the bottom. This is a good depth to target walleye in many circumstances, as they often like to hold close to the bottom structure.

Secondly, it is designed to reduce the chances of weight getting snagged on the cover while the rig makes regular contact with the bottom.

How to set up:

A bottom bouncer rig is an L-shaped wire with an oval weight in the middle of the long arm and a snap swivel at the end of the short arm. Therefore, the first step in setting it up is to tie the main line to the notch (in the corner of the L-shaped wire of the bottom bouncer), using a Palomar knot or double uni knot.

Next, fasten the leader to the bouncer’s snap swivel. The recommended leader is 8 to 10 lb of test fluorocarbon, with 3 to 7 feet length. Then, anglers can affix a number of rigs, lures, or just a single hook that has been baited with a live minnow or leech at the end of their leader.

However, the most popular way to use a bottom bouncer rig for walleye is with a worm harness, which can be attached straight to the snap swivel (also known as a spinner rig).

When to use:

Used whenever the walleye are toward the bottom. The bottom bouncer rig may be used pretty much any time during the open-water season, but it is most frequently used in the summer. 

In some cases, bottom bouncers are a bad idea if the walleye are suspended higher in the water column, since they won’t be able to see the bait presentation underneath.

How to use:

This type of rigging for walleye can either be used to troll from a boat or cast from the shore. But keep in mind that bottom bouncing for walleye from shore is not quite as productive as trolling since it is difficult to cover as much water and the live bait will tend to be ripped off the hook during casting.

The most efficient way to employ bottom bouncer rigs is for trolling, which is how they were intended to be used in the first place. Anglers ought to troll it slowly to ensure consistent bottom contact. That way, they can cover a lot of ground, which allows them to search in a large area for hungry walleye. 

In general, the rig can be used with artificial lures as well as any live bait presentation, including minnows, nightcrawlers, and leeches.

Relate: How do you run bottom bouncers for walleye?

Lindy Rig

Lindy rig for Walleye

The Lindy rig is a bottom fishing rig including a sliding sinker, a snap swivel, and a leader with a snelled hook. The swivel connects the main line to the leader and stops the sinker from slipping onto the leader. 

Commonly, there is a bead placed between the sinker and the swivel to prevent the sinker from getting stuck on the swivel. 

Through time, the original Lindy rig has been developed into so many versions, each with its own set of features (for instance, a sliding float to make your bait float above the bottom). And it’s worth creating your unique variation of this traditional fishing rig once you master the basic Lindy rig.

How to set up:

First, the main line should be threaded through the sliding sinker before being tied to the snap swivel with a Palomar or double uni knot. Next, attach a hook size 4 to 6 onto the leader line, measure out 2 to 5 feet of leader length, and then knot a loop at the leader’s end.

Finally, clip the loop of the leader onto the second eye of the snap swivel, and the setup is done.

When to use:

Same as a bottom bouncer rig, the Lindy rig works best when the walleye are holding close to the bottom. Unless the angler uses a floating lure, the bait will be presented very close to the bottom because a Lindy rig lacks a wire like a bottom bouncer rig. 

The only drawback when using a Lindy rig is that the weight might easily become snagged on the bottom structure, whereas the bottom bouncer rig is more snag-proof. 

However, there is a more sophisticated variation of the sinker called the Lindy no-snag sinker. It is a banana-shaped sliding sinker with a wire extension at the bottom, making it far less likely to tangle with the bottom structure all the time.

How to use:

Fishing with a lindy rig is extremely versatile and can be done in numerous ways. Anglers can use it for trolling, drifting, or even fishing from the shore. 

In fact, it is most commonly used for trolling. When trolling, it’s crucial to always keep the Lindy rig in contact with the bottom. In order to reach the fishing target, fishermen should choose the correct size of weight and trolling speed.

Carolina Rig

The Carolina is one of the most classic and simplest rigs for walleye fishing. Basically, the components for it include:

  • 10 to 12 lb test braided main line
  • 8 lb test fluorocarbon leader
  • 1/8 to 1/4 oz sliding sinker
  • Plastic bead
  • Size 5 barrel swivel
  • Size 6 hook or medium-sized jig head baited with a grub tail

Also, keep in mind that, though the Carolina rig can be used for both walleye and bass fishing, the setup for walleye is lightweight spinning rod and reel.

How to set up:

First, thread the sliding sinker onto the main line, followed by the plastic bead, which will prevent the sinker from stucking in the knot. Next, connect the main line and the leader line by using the barrel swivel. 

Depending on the angler’s preference, the leader can be at least 18-inch long and even longer. Finally, attach a hook or jig head to the fluorocarbon leader, and the rig is ready to use.

When to use:

The Carolina rig is particularly made to aid fishermen in catching bottom-feeding fish, and it works great when drifting for walleye.

How to use:

As bottom-dwelling fish, walleye can be caught using a Carolina rig, which enables you to deliver your bait to them just about 1 foot above the bottom. 

If anglers use live bait, the simplest technique is to put out a Carolina rig in a location where walleye are likely to pass by when searching for food. The drop-off areas of structures, such as submerged islands, mud flats, or points, are highly recommended.

If anglers want to use a jig head baited with a grub tail, they ought to actively retrieve it after each cast. The benefit of this strategy is that they can cover more ground that way. Of course, by employing additional rods, fishermen can also use both methods simultaneously.

Slip Bobber Rig

Slip Bobber Rig
Slip Bobber Rig

Another very well-known setup for walleye fisher is the slip bobber rig. It consists of a rubber stop, a bead, a slip bobber, a sliding sinker, a barrel swivel, a leader, and a circle hook.

A bead is typically an excellent idea to place between the rubber stop and the bobber since it controls how deep your bait is.

How to set up:

Firstly, add a rubber stop to the main line, followed by a plastic bead. After that, thread the slip bobber onto the line below the bead. After attaching the bobber to the main line, thread a sliding sinker onto it below the bobber, and then secure the main line to a barrel swivel.

Depending on each angler’s preference, put a split shot weight or a sliding sinker underneath the slip bobber. Sliding sinkers such as egg-shaped sinkers are commonly used for being compact and speedy in lowering the bait, especially at great depths.

Next, tie a fluorocarbon leader to the swivel and measure out 2 to 3 feet of leader length, then tie a baited hook to the other end of the leader. 

When to use:

Any seasons in the open water periods can work. However, this rig works best if you want to present the bait above the walleye. This is a great option when the walleye are feeding close to shore in shallow water during the spring or fall. 

How to use:

The slip bobber rig works quite well both from shore and from a boat. It is necessary to locate walleye and estimate the depth at which they are holding when utilizing it from a boat.

Then use the rubber stop to adjust the depth of the rig so that the bait will be presented 1 to 3 feet above the walleye’s location. Simply move on to the next area if you lower your bait to the fish and don’t receive a bite within a minute or two. This is a great technique for catching suspended walleye in the summer. 

Crawler Harness

Crawler Harness For Walleye

The crawler harness is a two-hook setup designed to hook a nightcrawler at both ends. The setup stretches it out underwater and is more appealing to walleye. 

The crawler harness is the same thing as a spinner rig. The only difference is that when a nightcrawler isn’t being used, the device is referred to as a “spinner rig” instead of a “crawler harness”.

It also features a colorful spinner blade attached to the front to produce underwater vibrations and color flashes, which are hard for walleye to resist. When they come close enough to see the worm, that’s usually enough to elicit a bite.

A crawler harness is always used in conjunction with one of the other rigs. But commonly, most anglers prefer to use a bottom bouncer combined with a harness or snelled spinner 3-5 feet long. Sometimes, it can also be used with a lindy rig or 3-way rig.

How to set up:

Crawler harnesses are available in a wide variety of attractive styles on the market. Both the selection and quality have improved. Therefore, though it is possible to tie your own harnesses, we advise purchasing ready-made ones as it is more time-efficient. 

When to use:

Crawlers are one of the walleye’s favorite foods. However, they are only naturally present as a food source for walleye throughout the summer. Because of this, a crawler harness should only be used from late spring until early fall.

How to use:

The crawler harness can be used for drifting or trolling. The most productive method of fishing with it is to pair it with a bottom bouncer. The trick to this presentation, in a nutshell, is to slowly drag the rig through the water column where the fish are, causing the blade to spin at the pace that walleyes prefer.

Keep the sinker just off the bottom, without dragging it, and lift it occasionally to avoid snags and other debris. This way, the setup can cover a lot of ground and be used from shallow to deep.

Ned Rig

Ned rig for walleye

Another excellent alternative for walleye fishing is the ned rig, which is more frequently used for bass fishing. The cool thing about it is anglers can set it up quickly and be ready to fish in just a few seconds, and with a few adjustments, they can choose between targeting smallmouth bass or walleye.

How to set up:

First, choose a jig head with a hook that matches the fishing line. For instance, if fishermen are fishing with a light line, their jig head should have a light wire for better penetration. However, they need a stronger hook when using heavier lines in order to prevent the hook from breaking under increased pressure.

For jig heads, 1/16- or 1/4-oz ones are recommended. Tie the main line to the jig head. Then, select a 2- to 4-inch plastic lure that you like or that matches the colors or forage in the fishing waters. Finally, thread the jig head with the plastic worm onto the hook. 

When to use:

The Ned rig is excellent for catching shallow-water walleye. Additionally, you can use it to fish on shallow mud flats and weed beds.

How to use:

The bait must be absolutely straight on the hook to perform effectively. To a fish, it also appears straighter and more natural. The small bend in your bait can somewhat alter its natural appearance and potentially scare off wary fish.

Make nice, long casts, and watch your line closely as the lure sinks to the bottom. When the rig has reached the bottom, slowly retrieve it by moving it steadily along the bottom with periodic jerks or small hops. Experiment with the retrieve to determine which one suits you the most.

Slip Sinker Rig

The slip sinker rig is the best technique for bottom fishing

The slip sinker rig is commonly used for catching walleye, catfish, trout and other bottom-dwelling species. 

How to set up:

Determine the length of the leader and cut it to the desired length (allow a couple of extra inches for knot tying so you have some room to work with). The majority of fishermen prefer between twelve and eighteen inches.

The longer the leader, the more your bait will move around in the water, and the more a fish can move with it without you noticing it. Try decreasing your leader if you are fishing in an area with plenty of snags or if you frequently get caught up. Longer leaders also have a tendency to hang up more, so be aware of it.

Next, use a Palomar knot or the simple snell knot to secure the hook to the leader line. Then, attach the swivel to the leader with the Palomar knot. 

Slide an egg sinker, no roll sinker, or other sliding sinkers on the mainline, followed by a bead. This absorbs the impact of the sinker sliding into the swivel while also protecting the knot. Finally, tie the main line to the other end of the swivel, and the rig is finished.

When to use:

This rig is made to be slowly moved over break lines, rock reefs, humps, or other fish-holding bottom structures with live bait. 

How to use:

The slip sinker rig is similar to the California rig and the Lindy rig. It is used to troll bait slowly across the bottom with less resistance and tangle.

3 Way Rig

Three-way Swivel rig Fishing in spring will be an excellent experience
Three-way Swivel rig Fishing in spring will be an excellent experience

The 3-way rig is a cross between the bottom bouncer and the Lindy rig. It consists of a three-way swivel attached to two leaders, one of which has the hook attached to it and the other is attached to a sinker.

How to set up:

Attach a three-way swivel to your main line. Then fasten two leaders to the other two swivel eyes. One of them is 2 to 3 feet long and tied to the sinker. The second leader is around 3 to 7 feet long. Then, attach it to the hook or any crawler harness or lure.

When to use:

The 3-way rig is one of most fishermen’s favorite choices for trolling for walleye. As the walleye are hanging several feet above the bottom, anglers can adjust the length of the line that is attached to the sinker to control how deep the bait is presented.

How to use:

This type of rig can be used with either live bait or artificial lures and is incredibly versatile for trolling, which is its best application. It may produce a bait presentation that is 4 feet above the bottom when used with floating lures, which can be highly effective in some specific circumstances.

What Is The Best Rig For Walleye Fishing?

The top three walleye setups are:

  • Lindy rig (for bottom fishing)
  • Bottom bouncer rig (for trolling)
  • Slip bobber rig (for float fishing)

If you are still considering, have a closer look at the given rigs.

Best Live Bait Rig for Walleye?

The best walleye rigs for live bait are the slip bobber rig, bottom bouncer, and lindy rig. 

Walleye Minnow Rig

For live minnows, the slip bobber rig is an excellent choice, as it gives the fishermen the option of adjusting the depth at which they expose their live bait in the water column.

For walleye ice fishing, minnows can also be used to bait a jig head, which is quite simple to set up.

Worm and leeches

When employing a nightcrawler as live bait, thread the worm onto a crawler harness and fasten the harness to a bottom bouncer or lindy rig. Leeches can be used in the same way, but a lindy rig or slip bobber rig is preferable.

Walleye Rig For Trolling?

All bottom bouncer rigs, Lindy rigs, and 3-way rigs are great choices for trolling. These setups are made to allow anglers to deliver their bait or lure close to the bottom while trolling for walleye over large regions.

So which one should the fishermen choose among these rigs?

The bottom bouncer allows anglers to deliver their bait roughly a foot above the bottom, while the lindy rig is perfect for presenting it a few inches above the bottom.

If you are unsure of the depth at which the walleye are holding, you can test out a few of these rigs simultaneously to determine which one attracts the most strikes before switching all of your rods to the most effective walleye rigging.

Walleye Rigs For Shore Fishing?

The slip bobber, lindy, ned, and three-way rigs are the most effective setups for walleye shore fishing. All of them can be utilized as stationary walleye shore fishing setups, with the exception of the ned rig.

Walleye Rigs For River Fishing?

The lindy rig, the three-way rig, and the slip bobber rig are the best rigs for fishing walleye in the river. 

Maintaining constant bottom contact with the setup is crucial while walleye fishing in rivers. Unfortunately, this frequently results in the tackle getting snagged in the ground’s structure.

To avoid that issue, use a stationary rod when fishing. This can be accomplished by utilizing a lindy rig or a 3-way rig with live bait on the hook. Simply cast it out in a good location and watch for walleyes to come for a bite.

Another choice is to set the depth on a slip bobber setup to just over the bottom. If there is a current, anglers can cast it upstream and let it drift downstream as the water moves slowly to cover additional ground.

What depth do walleye like?

The most challenging aspect of walleye fishing is locating them. The depth is a relative term that depends on the fishing location.

Generally, walleye is found in depths greater than 10 feet, so finding them depends heavily on your knowledge of what’s happening beneath the surface. The relationship of walleye to the lake’s topography, the types of cover they employ, and how the water temperature and lighting affect their feeding habits are the keys to finding walleye.

Final thoughts

Fishing for walleye is an exciting yet challenging activity, but arming yourself with this knowledge can make it easier for you. Through this article, we hope that you can filter out and select the most well-suited setup for your walleye fishing plan.

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