The 5 Best Walleye Lures of 2023

The Cotton Cordell Wally Diver Lure earns a spot in our tackle box

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Best Walleye Lures

Chloe Jeong / TripSavvy

There are many different ways (and places) to fish for walleye. The best method for any given day depends on variables like topside weather, time of year, temperature, and water clarity. Each fishing technique has its optimal lure type. For example, a weighted jig is an ideal choice for ice-fishing in winter, while a spinnerbait is a good option when fishing amongst feeding walleye in areas of dense cover. We compile this list by evaluating options based on color, type, and size.

Best Overall

Cotton Cordell Wally Diver Lure

Cotton Cordell Wally Diver Lure


What We Like
  • Mimics a variety of forage species

  • Sits motionless

What We Don't Like
  • Not as many weights as other options

Lauded by many experts as the most legendary walleye lure of all time, the Cotton Cordell Wally Diver is a proven classic that deserves a place in every walleye fisherman’s tackle box. Designed to be cast or trolled right out of the box, its baitfish shape mimics a variety of forage species, making it ideally suited to freshwater systems all over North America. The lure’s slender profile allows for the tight wiggling action needed to trigger big bites, but when you stop reeling, it sits motionless for an irresistibly vulnerable presentation.

There are two sizes to choose from 2.5 inches or 3.37 inches. The smaller lure dives to 8 feet on the cast or 11 feet when trolled, while the larger version can reach 11 feet on the cast or 18 when trolled. Whichever size you choose, two sharp treble hooks ensure that you’re guaranteed an effective hook set when the walleye strikes. The Wally Diver has many different color patterns that appeal to walleye feeding instincts, including fluorescent red/black, chrome blue/black, and chartreuse perch. 

Price at time of publication: $10

Colors: 22 | Weight: 0.25 or 0.5 ounces

Best for Ice Fishing

Clam Drop Tg Jig

Clam Pro Tackle Drop Tg Tungsten Jig

Courtesy of Cabela's

What We Like
  • Dense

  • Slices water better than lead lures

What We Don't Like
  • Not as many colors as other options

Constructed of 99.7 percent pure tungsten, the Calm Drop Tg Jig is denser than lead lures, affording a smaller profile and a higher sensitivity to generate more hookups. The round ball jig comes with a 90-degree Japanese Mustad Ultra Point 2x Strong Long Shank high-carbon hook that sets reliably and slices through water cleaner than lead lures, allowing precise control when you drop the lure and start to jig. They come in eight different colors and five different sizes, ranging in weight from 0.06 of an ounce, sold in packs of four, all the way up to a two-pack of 0.37-ounce lures.

Price at time of publication: $8

Colors: 8 | Weight: 0.06, 0.12, 0.18, 0.25, or 0.37 ounces

Best Blade Bait

Johnson ThinFisher

Johnson ThinFisher


What We Like
  • Adjustable retrieval

  • Has a rattle chamber

What We Don't Like
  • Hooks could be better

Blade baits are ideal for use at the beginning of winter when falling temperatures cause baitfish to die off in large numbers. They capitalize on this natural event by mimicking the action of a struggling fish. The Johnson ThinFisher boasts a realistic profile, an oversized eye, and true-to-life colors ranging from black gold to chartreuse pearl or purple tiger. Another key feature is the lure’s adjustable retrieval, which takes the form of an easy-change snap that can be attached to three different tow points—one for a high-speed retrieve with a light vibration, one for a slow-speed retrieve with a wide vibration, and one medium retrieve in between the two.

The lure can also be jigged vertically, allowing it to swim back down through the strike zone repeatedly. However you choose to use it, a sonic rattle chamber attracts predatory fish by sending vibrations through the water. Once triggered, twin black nickel treble hooks help translate a strike at the end of the line into a trophy fish on the bank.

Price at time of publication: $4

Colors: 9 | Weight: 0.5, 0.25, or 0.18 ounces

Best Soft Plastic

Berkley PowerBait Rib Worm

Berkley PowerBait Rib Worm

Courtesy of Bass Pro

What We Like
  • Built with PowerBait formula

  • Ribbed body

What We Don't Like
  • Smells

With 15 lures per package, Berkley’s PowerBait Rib Worm has been a go-to for legions of walleye anglers with an affection for a soft plastic lure. Built with the brand’s PowerBait formula—a process developed for more than 25 years to perfect the smell and flavor of the plastic worm—assures that even the most finicky of fish will take notice, with a ribbed body to increase the scent releases. This means the fish is more likely to take a bite—and then another, so you have more opportunities to set your hook. In fact, Berkley claims that fish are 18 times more likely to hold onto the PowerBait Rib Worm than with other soft plastic lures. They come in different colors, and there is some debate on the best color, each with a modest amount of eye-catching speckle pattern, and measure in at 4 inches.

Price at time of publication: $5

Colors: 9 | Weight: Not listed

Best for Trolling

Storm Hot ’N Tot MadFlash

Storm Hot ’N Tot MadFlash

Dick's Sporting Goods

What We Like
  • Has side-to-side searching and diving action

  • Realistic look

What We Don't Like
  • Not as many weights as other options

This lure harnesses the famously erratic side-to-side searching and diving action of the original Storm Hot' N Tot lure and boasts the same mold dimensions and distinctive metal diving lip. Like the original, these features make Storm's Hot' N Tot MadFlash upgrade ideal for trolling behind a boat. What makes the newer lure special, however, is its range of innovative fish-catching colors. These include a detailed external scale pattern and come in classic, chrome, holographic, or UV finishes.

Choose options like blue chrome orange, chartreuse purple shad, or iridescent ghost flash. All patterns come with 3D holographic eyes for an ultra-realistic look that proves fatal for unsuspecting walleye and two VMC black nickel treble hooks. Two sizes are available: a smaller 2-inch version and a larger 2.5-inch version. The former has a running depth of between 5 and 14 feet, while the latter runs between 7 and 20 feet.

Price at time of publication: $12

Colors: 27 | Weight: 0.18 or 0.37 ounces

What to Look for When Shopping for Walleye Lures


A jig set-up is typically the best rig to capture the elusive walleye, but your specific lure should correspond to the typical live feeders in the water where you’ll be fishing. Check with a local fish shop to find out which lure types—soft plastic worms, suspended jerkbait, blade bait, etc.—are performing well, and select accordingly. Note also that most walleyes spend most of their day at depths of anywhere from 15 to 30 feet, only moving into the higher water columns to feed. At dusk and dawn, they gravitate toward shallower waters. So take that into account as well when selecting lures by depth rating.


Walleyes can grow up to 30 inches long and weigh more than 10 pounds, so select a lure that can handle the big guys. For jig heads, the optimal size range from 0.06 ounces to 1 ounce. For jib body lures, go with ones between 3 and 5 inches long. Spoons weighing between 0.5 ounces to 1 ounce can be used, with 0.75 ounces hitting the sweet spot.


Start with more naturally colored lures like silver, gray, and white—especially when using crankbait. But you can opt for flashier colors (red, pink, or bright green) to catch a walleye’s attention in darker, murkier waters. Lures with iridescent shimmers also effectively mimic fish bait scales to amp visibility in low-light situations.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Are lures different if I’m fishing off a boat versus shore casting?

    Yes, in most cases, whether you’re on the shore or riding in a boat will largely dictate how deep the water might be, with deeper depths off a boat and more shallow waters off the shore. Crankbaits cover both options, while bottom-bouncers and heavier lures with large depth ratings should be selected for boat fishing.

  • How should the seasons influence which lure I should use?

    Though walleyes can be caught year-round, spring is typically when they start to spawn as the water warms. They become very aggressive at this time, so almost all lure types will work. As the water heats up in the summer, the fish go deeper, so go with lures that have a 30-foot depth rating, especially if you’re trolling. If you’re lucky enough to spot a school of walleyes, swap to a jig set-up with a spoon or soft rib worm lure. Fall is typically the most challenging, as the fish feeding is starting to slow, so go with smaller lures that will slow down in the water. And in winter, when fishing on ice, go with a lure designed specifically for ice fishing.

  • I’m new to fishing for walleyes. What’s the best place to start?

    Troll fishing is a relatively easy, reliable way to catch walleye—select slow to moderate diving lures when fishing around weeds, rocky shorelines, and reefs. In the summer, go with a lure rated to go deeper (up to 30 feet). Then, after you’ve landed a few, consider trying a jig lure set-up. If you already have a decent foundation of equipment, a fishing subscription box can add depth to your tackle box.

Why Trust TripSavvy

Nathan Borchelt is a freelance contributor to TripSavvy. He has worked in the travel and outdoor industry for over 15 years as a writer, photographer, editor, and product manager. The contributors to this story have spent decades reviewing and testing outdoor products. In researching the products selected for this round-up, we consulted pro and amateur anglers to gain insight into lure performance, lure categories, and the specific lure’s advantages and drawbacks, supplementing that input with reviews provided by experts in the field as well as confirmed customers.

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