Best Early Spring Walleye Lures [2024 Review]

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Fishing in winter is challenging, however fishing for walleye in early spring is a true test of your fishing skills. If you intend to catch large walleyes in spring, then you have to prepare adequately. One key step in your preparation is identifying the best early spring walleye lures.

Our Top Early Spring Walleye Lures Recommendations

The traditional jig and minnow mix is renowned for catching walleye, however, it can’t attract lazy walleyes. I have compiled a list of the best lures for early spring walleye for you to help reduce the stress of choosing from the overwhelming list of walleye lures available on the market.

Best Overall Lure for Early Spring Walleye: Strike King Saltwater Flats Jig Head

When it comes to fishing walleye in early spring, nothing beats the traditional jig and minnow mix. The Strike King Saltwater Jig comes in chartreuse yellow, a color that walleyes can’t resist during spawning in spring. Also, the pearl version has excellent visibility in muddy water. Adding a life or artificial minnow will land you the big female walleye that is coveted by anglers.

The Strike King jig has less true-life suspension ability than the Rapala Husky jerk, however, when it comes to catching trophy-sized walleyes, the strike king jig head still does great. This lure’s premium razor-sharp hook is also capable of withstanding the heaviest of bites.

The ⅛ ounce size is great for shallow water jigging where walleyes like to come to feed when the sun is out. One downside is you can’t jig this without live or fresh bait, which is one aspect of the Rapala Original floater that bests it. Secondly, it doesn’t do so well in deep water because of its weight limitations and restricted movement.


  • Wide variety of colors to match water condition
  • Less time spent tuning giving you more time to actually fish


  • Needs live bait for better presentation making its use limited particularly with artificial bait
  • Weight selection prevents it from going deep, limiting its versatility

Best Suspending Jerkbait Lure for Early Spring Walleye: Rapala Jointed Deep Husky Jerk

The ability to suspend in cold Spring water is one feature many lures have tried to perfect for decades, and only the Rapala Jointed Deep Husky Jerk perfected it. The Rapala jointed deep Husky Jerk’s ability to suspend underwater allows it to wait longer in the zone of lethargic walleyes until a big female is ready to approach it.

Its variety in sizes allows it to dive and suspend at deeper water levels during post-spawn periods when walleyes are resting. It runs true out of the box, unlike the Original Rapala Floating Minnow that needs to be tuned. It comes in different sizes ranging from 2½ inches to 5½ inches making it perfect for all depths and currents. It also has three deep-diving sizes specifically for trolling walleye in deep.

Its design is a downside because it doesn’t score a lot of points in aesthetics when compared to the Rapala Floating Minnow, however, its ability to reach depths of 20 feet on troll and 10 feet where large female walleyes love to stay in the afternoon is a strong positive.  It does well in waters below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, a thing the Striker King Jig head and Original Rapala Floating Minnow struggle to achieve.


  • Suspends perfectly in cold water which attracts lazy walleyes
  • Runs true out of the box, needing no tuning
  • Wide range of models and sizes to suit any water condition


  • Poor design makes it slightly less attractive than other lures and may impact your chances of walleye biting
  • High possibly of fake bites due to one hook system

Best Floating Minnow Lure for Early Spring Walleye: Original Rapala 7

The versatility of the Original Rapala Floating Minnow allows it to be used as surface bait to hunt walleye. It can also be retrieved as a shallow runner which is perfect in the afternoon when walleyes come out to spawn and feed. It can also be bottom walked off a sinker rig to reach depths where large female walleyes are known to reside.

It comes in a variety of colors designed to match every walleye prey and water condition you may encounter, a key feature the Rapala Husky Jerk lacks. It comes with three hooks which makes it better at catching walleyes with soft bites compared to the Strike King Jighead. The Original Rapala Floating Minnow is best suited for deep walleye fishing in water with rocky bottoms.

The three hooks are also a downside when it comes to handling walleye because it’s more difficult to detach. However, if you are looking to make every walleye bite count, then this isn’t a deal-breaker. Remember to use the slow retrieve method when fishing in deep water to attract lethargic females.


  • Versatility makes it useful in various water conditions
  • Wide variety of colors to match any walleye prey
  • Can be trolled at depths of 15 feet for easy access to walleyes in post-spawn


  • Three hook system makes it hard to detangle fish
  • Needs adequate tuning to function properly

Key Features to Consider in the Best Early Spring Walleye Lures

Strike King Jig headRapala Jointed Deep Husky JerkOriginal Rapala Floater 07 Minnow
Type of LureJig head (saltwater)CrankbaitCrankbait
Size/weight⅛ ounces8-12 inches, 4.8 ounces9, 0.7 ounces
Color Chartreuse, red and pearlBlue shad, firetiger, perch, silver shad, and multi-coloredUp to 24 color options to choose from

Type of Lure

Each region is different and choosing the right lure to match the common prey in the area you are fishing is vital. Do well to check the local shop in the area to confirm what baits walleyes prefer in the water. Generally, if you will be fishing in saltwater, the Strike King Jig head should be on top of your list.

Also, note that walleyes generally stay in depths of 15 feet and below and only come up to feed, the Strike King jig head will do better in shallow water during feeding and won’t reach those depths where big game reside. The Rapala jointed Deep Husky Jerk is ideal for fishing deep depths.

Size and Weight

Walleyes can grow up to 30 inches and weigh 10 pounds or more. If size matters, take bigger lures that can handle the big walleyes. The Rapala Jointed Deep Husky Jerk and Original Rapala Floating Minnow will do well when fishing for a big game than the Strike King jig head would. Also, deep fishing will require heavier lures for stability and easy control underwater.

An image of a walleye fish caught by lure


In clear water, opt for natural colors like silver, chartreuse, gray, and white. In darker and muddy waters use shinier colors like red, pink, and crystal green. The Original Rapala Floating Minnow has the widest variety of colors among other lures on the list. Due to the uncertainty, it is advisable to pack as many colors of each lure to prepare you ahead in case of a change in the water condition.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Different Lures Used for Fishing Early Spring Walleyes off a Boat vs Surf Casting?

Yes, different lures are used for fishing early spring walleyes off a boat vs surf casting. Crankbaits like the Rapala Jointed Deep Husky Jerk work well in both conditions while the Strike King jig head suits shore casting.

If you need one lure that is guaranteed to do well in both situations, then opt for the Rapala Husky Jerk known to perform excellent regardless of the region.

Where Is the Best Place to Start Fishing For Walleye in Early Spring?

The best place to start fishing for walleye in early spring is shallow waters close to pre-spawn or post-spawn activity if size doesn’t matter to you. If you’re fishing for big game walleyes then look deeper, that’s where those big females love to hide.

Before embarking on the walleye hunt, study the water and note down areas that have been previously spawned. Rocky bottoms, creeks, and up the river are good places to start from.

What Colors Are Best for Walleye in Early Spring?

The best colors for walleye in early spring are red, crystal green, and pink, This is because winds can turn clear water murky, so they are best used in this situation. If the water is clear, use natural colors like white and chartreuse. It is advisable to carry many colors so you aren’t caught off guard.

Lures with a wide range of colors are better picks than ones with a couple or three colors. Study natural bait in that region to note the colors walleyes attack more.


Fishing for walleye in early spring can be tricky, however, these three lures are designed to thrive in most of the conditions you would encounter. Remember, choose your lure according to the prey common in the region you’re fishing to avoid disappointment. Having different colors and sizes of each lure on the list will help you beat whatever challenges you might face.