A common question I see is… what is the best fishing line for walleye?
The reality is there is no one fishing line for every walleye fishing application. Each type of line shines in its own way, depending on how it’s used.
For example, what line you use for pitching, vertical jigging, bottom bouncers and rigging, trolling, etc. will ALL vary. So you’ll want to plan ahead for what you’ll need for the way you like to fish walleyes. So I will answer the basic fishing line questions that come up often in circles.
What is the Best Fishing Line for Vertical Jigging Walleye?
I think the first question to ask is what is on the bottom? Is it snaggy? How deep?
When I’m fishing shallow, and in non-snaggy areas, I use monofilament most of the time. The same goes for pitching jigs for that matter (which is usually shallow and is often on fishing rivers for walleye). I like to be able to set the hook HARD with mono, and it also seems to drop slower.
6 lb. test is what I lean towards, often up to 8 depending on the chance of snags. And I like to use colored monofilament fishing line when pitching. By watching your line, you can often see bites before you even feel it (I will often run a short fluorocarbon leader as well).
If I’m going to be fishing snaggy areas or DEEP I like to use Fireline. As I said, it’s not my first choice, but Fireline has its place. Obviously, with snaggy conditions, you’ll lose a lot less tackle with Fireline over mono. Also, when I’m fishing really deep I like to have zero stretch for quick hooksets. Some use mono for all jigging, to each their own.
What’s the Best Monofilament Line for Walleyes?
This is kind of a Ford vs. Chevy question, but my personal preference as of late has been Sufix Elite 6 lb. test fishing line. Like I stated earlier, I use colored mono for casting and pitching jigs and use clear for rigging.
I’ve had good luck with its strength, castability, and knots. A lot of guys will say mono is mono but just use what you’re confident with.
Why Not Fish Walleyes with Mono All the Time?
I know a lot of anglers that use the same line all year long. And more often than not, it’s monofilament fishing line that they’re running. Now I never understood this, especially if you’re only running a few fishing rods. Is it laziness or ignorance? I run a lot of rods personally, so I have them rigged for the presentation myself. If you’re not running many yourself, be prepared to change the fishing line occasionally.
Which Fishing Line to Use for Trolling for Walleyes?
The answer to this question to me is easy…I use Power Pro. There are more options nowadays than ever for trolling fishing line, but the reality is nothing, in my opinion, is stronger or thinner. This allows my crankbaits to dive deeper and I lose fewer cranks in the process.
The problem with Fireline is that it frays. After you catch a fish you have to constantly eyeball the line above the hook. You don’t want it to fray as it can result in a lost fish. So to avoid constant retying, I like to use Power Pro.
Power Pro is VERY thin, which means less resistance in the water from the fishing line.
The one problem with Power Pro is that it is a really slippery line, and standard planer board clips won’t catch the line properly. The result is the planer board sliding back to the lure. I hate that. So to avoid this, you’ll want tension release clips instead of standard clips, to ensure a solid grip on Power Pro line.
I used 10 lb. test Power Pro for years, but the past few years I started switching to 15 lb. test. The reason is I deal with a lot of snags in the waters I fish, especially Lake Oahe. I can’t say I’ve really noticed a difference in crankbait diving depth (it’s still SO thin), but I have noticed losing A LOT fewer cranks.
What is the Best Braided Line for Walleye Fishing?
There’s one lake in particular where I rig up the 10 lb. Fireline for, and that’s the infamous Devils Lake in North Dakota. I have custom rods that cast a country mile when equipped with a solid reel and Fireline. I use a HEAVY fluorocarbon leader for the pike, but the mainline is always 10 lb. test Fireline. I cast jigs and cranks DEEP into the garbage, as that’s where the big walleyes hangout…and you need a solid fishing line to rip them out.
So, basically, when I say the best-braided fishing line for walleyes, it’s Fireline for the few applications mentioned.
Another popular fishing line for casting is Nanofil. It is smooth and casts a LONG way. The only downfall is it’s not good with certain knots. I recommend a double palomar knot for fishing this line.
What is the Best Fishing Line for Bottom Bouncers?
When I’m fishing bottom bouncers through a potentially snaggy area, I like to use 10 lb. test Fireline. I will tie the fireline direct to the bottom bouncer or with a clip, and use monofilament for the leader (but more on leader line next).
The main reason I use Fireline for bottom bouncing is strength and sensitivity. I want to feel and see everything happening down there as soon as it happens, and Fireline excels at this. And it’s pretty darn strong. Again, you may want to watch it for frays, however, if you’re fishing in snaggy stuff.
What is the Best Leader Line for Rigging Walleyes with Bottom Bouncers?
When making walleye rigs, the only real options you have are monofilament or fluorocarbon. You need a clear line, obviously, so you don’t spook the fish. Most guys I know lean towards fluorocarbon because it’s more clear and abrasion-resistant. But it comes with a price…
Fluorocarbon sinks and if you’re fishing slow and with a long leader, you’re probably going to end up dragging the bottom. This will cause you to snag up more and lose more rigs.
With that being said, I like to use 8 lb. or 10 lb. test monofilament for my leader line. I like to use 3 to 4-foot leaders with slow death rigs, so I want to keep it off the bottom as much as possible.
As I stated earlier, the best walleye fishing line will always be up for debate amongst fishermen. But some things never change. Always try to use as light of fishing line as possible, and don’t be afraid to step up a size if you’re losing tackle. I wrote this review simply for those that are newer to fishing and looking to eliminate a lot of the trial and error on the water. So these combinations of fishing lines are what I use for my walleye fishing.