Fly Fishing Tips for Catching Walleye, Crappie and Perch

Fly fishing is a great sport and you can pursue it as a hobby or it can become a lifelong addiction. Once you get the hang of this amazing sport it will become all the more interesting as there is so much more to learn. Casting itself takes several attempts to master and is all about regular practice and muscle memory. I suggest you go to your backyard or take a trip to an empty parking lot to practice casting before you are out there in the open.

A couple of years ago, fly-fishing implied just trying to catch a trout. However, over the years the definition of this sport has expanded and anglers now look forward to catching salmon, tarpon, walleye, crappie, perch and many more fish using this technique. Here, we are going to give you some fly fishing tips for catching walleye, crappie and perch. If you are a total fly-fishing beginner, maybe start by reading this. Otherwise, first let us look at some tips & tricks to catch your favorite walleye:

Walleye fishing requires you to have a live bait. So, anglers on a lookout for walleye always have some leeches and crawlers handy. Fly fishing may not be the easiest but it is perhaps the best way to get a great catch.

What is a Walleye

The common name walleye is given to the fish named yellow pike. The walleye is the largest fish that belongs to the perch family and can sometimes weigh more than 20 pounds. Did you know that the walleye derives its name from its opaque eyes? Their eyes have a layer of pigment that reflects light and is called the tapetum lucidum. This layer helps the fish to see clearly in low light.

The walleye varies in color and is one of the most commonly stocked game fish famous for its great taste. It is a freshwater fish and is native to United States and Canada. These fish resemble the European species called pikeperch.

Walleye Tips & Tricks

We have come with a few tips and tricks that will help a walleye fisherman get a great catch.

Consider the Sink Rate

The sink rate is a crucial factor when it comes to fly-fishing for walleye. In the shallow water it is good to use a floating line as it easy to retrieve it so that the weighted fly stays at the bottom. In the comparatively shallow waters use a type I or II density compensated line. Opt for a slow sinking fly line so that it does not sink quickly.

Position the Rod Tip Accurately

Make sure that the rod tip is close to the water and is pointed directly at the fly. This helps you know the light hits and you can also get a tight line in between the fingers. Many fly anglers make the mistake of putting the rod tip high and this leads to a decreased capability of strike detection.

Season and Time of Day

Walleye stays active at night and hides under logs and plants during the day. At night they move to shallower waters for feeding.

Best Places to find Walleye

The walleye prefers cooler temperatures and is abundantly found in deep and quiet lakes and rivers.

Tackle

Go for Use an 8 ½- to 9 ½-foot fly rod that can hold 5- to 7-weight lines. As mentioned before, choose the fly lines according to the water type where you are fishing. Make sure that your tackle box includes 1/4- to 3/8-ounce jigs that you can use to get a great catch. The suitable colors for these jigs are yellow, green, orange, and red. Any jig with combinations of these colors will also work well. Do not forget to carry a life jacket and an extra fin in your backpack, in case you may need it. For more info on suitable flies, check out theflyfishingforum.

Man standing on rocks fly fishing in a lake

Fly Fishing Tips for Catching Crappie

Fly fishing for crappies is a common sport in North America with so many serious as well as recreational anglers enjoying this fun fishing experience. Once you get acquainted with the right technique fly fishing for crappies will become a breeze!

What is a Crappie

Crappies are also referred to as panfish because of their small size. They are usually less than 45 cms in length and are delicious. However, catching these fish is not an easy task mainly because of a thick membrane around their mouth that causes the hook to tear off easily. It is because of this reason that they are also called papermouth.

Crappie Tips & Tricks

Crappie is heavily targeted by anglers as they are available round the year, provided you know where to find them.  Moreover, they can be caught using different techniques. Let’s look at some tips for an effective catch:

Choose Suitable Lures

As you might know that flies are a major part of crappies’ diet so you should opt for fly lures that comprise synthetic flies with small colorful feathers as they will be helpful in attracting crappies. But you should ensure that the length of these flies is not more than the length of your finger. The end of the fly has a treble hook attached to it for catching the fish that bite the fly. You can actually tie them yourself if you like with a fly tying vise.

Follow the Apt Technique

Fly fishing for crappies does require some technique although it’s not very difficult to learn and all you need is sufficient practice. Use a fish finder to locate the suitable areas for fishing. The fly lures are light in weight and the fish are not scared when you put them in the water. So, as a recreational angler you will have a lot of fun catching crappie.

Make sure that you have sufficient practice on how to cast the line and make the right motions to lure more fish and who knows you might end up getting a large catch. Also, ensure that the knots are steady so that the flies are kept in place and be careful when the crappies are biting the baits.

It is good to start fly fishing in smaller water bodies such as lakes so that you can practice how to cast a line and how to monitor your flies. Learning how to set a hook is also crucial because these fish are intelligent and failing to set the hook at the right time might end up in a disaster. Also consider getting waders to be able to get a bit in the water without getting wet immediately.

Season and Time of Day

Crappies are available throughout the year and they usually hide under the wood cover. During summers and winters, you might get a great catch by fishing in deep waters. Alternatively, during spring and fall it is a good idea to look out for fish in shallow waters.

Crappies actively feed from midnight to 2 am and this is usually the best time to catch them. If you are not a fan of late-night fishing don’t lose hope as many of these fish feed during dawn and dusk so these are also preferable times for getting a great catch. For more info on the best seasons and other crappie fishing tips, check out this article.

Best Places to find Crappie

Large ponds and lakes are great places to find crappie as they have more vegetation and wildlife that the fish can feed upon.

Tackle

Having the right equipment is the first step while trying to get a great catch. You will require a fly rod that is 6 1/2 - 8 1/2 foot in length. You can also opt for a 2 or 3 weight rod. When it comes to the reel, pick up a middle range one that has a decent single action. WF2F, WF3F, or ST are all good choices. Also, you should go for a 5’ tapered leader and a 4X or 5X tippet, as well as a crappie fishing line.

Blurry Photo of man fly fishing

Fly Fishing Tips for Catching Perch

Many anglers go after perch with conventional casting techniques involving traditional rods and reels. However, fly fishing for perch is a technique that requires more practice as perch steal the baits and you can feel their hits better with a fly-fishing rod.

What is a Perch

It is easier to catch more fish using live baits as these fish love to eat. If you have crayfish or minnows then they will work perfectly in cold water. Crayfish are crustaceans living in fresh water bodies and are a perch’s favorite food. On the other hand, if the water is warm then you should prefer night crawlers.

Perch Tips & Tricks

As mentioned before, perch are carnivorous and eat insects, flies, shellfish, and also other smaller species of fish. As these fish feed actively it is easier to find them and to catch them, although they put a great fight. As long as these fish are actively moving around looking for food, they can be lured with the help of live baits. Here are some tips and tricks that will help you in catching perch:

Go for the Right Live Bait

It is easier to catch more fish using live baits as these fish love to eat. If you have crayfish or minnows then they will work perfectly in cold water. Crayfish are crustaceans living in fresh water bodies and are a perch’s favorite food. On the other hand, if the water is warm then you should prefer night crawlers.

Use Suitable Artificial Lures

Although perch are easy to catch with live baits, artificial lures also do a good job. However, you should pick them out carefully or else you won’t be able to lure these smart fish. It is a good idea to use a lightweight jig or a set of poppers as perch get attracted to them very fast.

Use a Small Hook

Perch are infamous for stealing live baits. So, there are chances that your minnows and crayfish are lopped up if you are unable to detect their subtle bites. The key is to use a small hook so that these fish cannot escape. Also, it is a good idea to have the bait on the edge of the hook as this will better your chances of setting a hook when these fish strike.

Season and Time of Day

Want to know the best time of day to catch perch? Well, this would depend upon the season you are fishing in. Dawn and dusk are considered to be good times to catch these fish if it is early spring or summer. On the other hand, if you are looking forward to get a great catch in the summer then go for fishing in late afternoon and evening.

Best Places to find Perch

Freshwater lakes and ponds are the best places to go fly fishing for perch. Also look out for places with sufficient vegetation as plants help in attaching bait fish, which in turn attract game fish such as perch. So, places with natural vegetation such as islands, dams, rocks, bridges, and reeds are also a good spot for catching perch. You might also consider using light at night to attract other baitfish.

Tackle

The first tip for getting the right equipment is not to go too light. Although these fish are relatively smaller and do not need heavy tackles, having live baits and bigger flies requires a decent tackle that can bear weight. So, when you are starting fly fishing for perch it is good to a six or seven weight outfit that is suitable for most of the waters. However, if pikes are common in the area the we would advise you to go for something heavier.

Also, if you are fly fishing in shallower waters then use a floating line and leader that is 7-8 feet in length. When fishing in deep waters you should opt for a full sinker along with a shorter leader.

Happy Fly Fishing!

Mastering the art of fly fishing will take some time and it will happen step by step. The first step is to practice how to cast and to tie the knots. Over a period of time you will start knowing when a fish gets attracted to your bait and accordingly you will learn where and how to place the hook. Eventually you will learn how to reel the fish. Once you get a hang of this entire process, you can learn the details about the fish that interest you and get more facts about their environment. The key is to keep trying, as every time you fail you learn something new. Be sure to check out our articles on fly fishing gear, for example vests, sling packs, hats and gloves! And if you are not sure yet whether fly fishing is right for you, feel free to check out our comparison of fly fishing vs. spin fishing. Happy fishing!