APRIL 15, 2019

Tips for Spring Walleye in Georgia

Walleye in Georgia? You bet. North Georgia is the southernmost point of the walleye’s range, offering a unique opportunity for anglers. In 2002, Georgia DNR’s Wildlife Resources Division launched a walleye stocking program that produces nearly 600,000 fingerlings each year. Once they reach one inch in length, they’re stocked into eleven North Georgia lakes and reservoirs for your future fishing enjoyment.

Walleye fingerling.Walleye fingerling. Photo credit: Georgia DNR

Spring is a great time to get after walleye. So, grab your fishing license and tackle, allergy medicines, and head to a spot in North Georgia this weekend. In the meantime, here’s some tips to help you bide the time between now and when you wet a line.

  1. Go in the evenings.

Walleye will stay deep during the day to hide from the sunshine. Target them during the “Golden Hour”: about 30 minutes before and after sunset. This is when they move up to the shallows at sunset to feed and spawn.

state record walleyeState record walleye caught by Wes Carlton on Lake Rabun in 2016. The fish weighed 14 pounds, 2 ounces.

2. Find the spawning grounds.

From February to April, you’ll want to target these fish on their spawning grounds. In Georgia, most of these areas are in shallow, rocky headwaters. Our interactive fishing map will help you narrow down the best fishing spots.

3. When things get hot—move your fishing spot.

Carter's Lake walleye

  1. Walleye caught on Carter’s Lake.??????

When spawning ends, these fish prefer cooler temperatures and head out to the main lake. Long points, humps, and weed beds on the lower end of the lake are the best places to search in summertime. In early summer, target depths ranging from 15 to 25 feet. Most walleye will be “chilling” in the lower half of the lake.

4. A simple nightcrawler will do the trick.

Sometimes all you need to do to catch a one is drift a nightcrawler along the bottom slowly and steadily. Make sure to drift your lure near downed trees and other shady structures. Walleyes may be hiding from the sun in these places.

5. Don’t rule out other lure options.

While a nightcrawler will hook a fish, don’t be afraid to try other options. In the shallow spawning waters, try a 3/8oz jig tipped with a nightcrawler, minnow or plastic grub. At night, a shallow running minnow is a sold choice. If it’s past spawning season, a weighted bottom bouncer with an in-line spinner tipped with a blue backed herring should get you a bite. A deep-diving crankbait in a shad, perch or fire tiger pattern will do wonders too. Try ‘em all!

6. Check out the Walleye Fishing Seasonal Calendar.

This helpful chart tells anglers where walleye fishing is best throughout the year. Lake Tugalo and Lake Yonah offer great walleye fishing year round while some of the other lakes fluctuate on how well the fish bite. Be sure to check out the fishing tips included in the formal Georgia DNR Walleye Fishing Guide.

walleye seasonal fishing chart

Looking for more walleye fishing tips and tricks? Check out our complete seasonal walleye fishing guide.