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Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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Scientific Name: Walley - Sander vitreus

Habitats: Brule Lake, Chicaugon Lake, Eagle River Chain of Lakes, Great Lake Huron, Great Lake Michigan, Great Lake Superior, Hagerman Lake, Iron Lake, Lake Emily, Lake Gogebic, Michigamme Reservoir, Michigamme River, Peavy Pond, Perch Lake, Stanley Lake, Sunset Lake, Swan Lake

Edibility Score:

Toxicity Level: Medium

State Recommended Max Servings Per Month: 1

Fish Type : Walleye

One of top prized fish in the area for eating, very difficult to catch.  The fish known as walleye (Sander vitreus), often referred to as “walley” or “walleye,” is a popular freshwater species found in various regions, including Northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It is a highly sought-after game fish known for its tasty flesh and challenging angling opportunities.

Physical Characteristics:

Walleye are primarily known for their unique eyes, which have a reflective layer called the tapetum lucidum. This adaptation allows them to see exceptionally well in low-light conditions, making them proficient hunters during dawn, dusk, and overcast days. These fish prefer clear, cool waters, often inhabiting lakes, reservoirs, rivers, and larger streams.

Life Cycle:

The prime time for walleye fishing in this region generally occurs in spring and early summer. During this period, walleye migrate from their deeper wintering areas to shallower waters for spawning. This movement creates excellent opportunities for anglers to target these fish.

Fishing Tips:

Various fishing techniques can be effective for catching walleye in these regions. Anglers often rely on techniques such as casting with jigs, trolling with crankbaits or spinner rigs, and live bait presentations using minnows or nightcrawlers. One thing for sure is Walleye have a soft bite, a soft mouth hard to keep hooked.  Looking for the slightest tap on the line counting two seconds and try to set the hook is a good technique.  Another is to back troll with live minnows.  Night time new rocky shores and lighted dock areas are productive.  The deep drop-off trolling for the big boys is effective.   The choice of technique may depend on factors such as water clarity, weather conditions, and angler preference.

When targeting walleye, it’s important to consider their behavior and preferred habitats. Walleye are known to relate to structures like rocky points, underwater humps, weed beds, gravel bottom shores with lights at night, and drop-offs. They often gather near submerged vegetation, submerged timber, or other underwater structures that offer cover and ambush points for their prey.

Fishing regulations and bag limits for walleye can vary by location and specific water bodies. It’s essential for anglers to familiarize themselves with the local fishing regulations and adhere to any size and possession limits to help maintain healthy fish populations and sustainable fisheries.

Overall, walleye fishing in Northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan offers a fantastic angling experience for both locals and visitors. The region’s scenic beauty, coupled with the thrill of pursuing these elusive and prized fish, makes it a sought-after destination for anglers looking to test their skills and enjoy the natural wonders of the area.

Health : Local waters have PCBs, dioxin, mercury, PFOS, and other chemicals that can be found in fish and stay in our environment for a very long time.

Be aware of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services – The Eat Safe Fish Guide (ESF Guide)

Wisconsin has the a health guide for eating fish in Wisconsin – Choose Wisely Contaminate Advisories for Wisconsin


Fishing Season


Remember to consult local fishing regulations and guidelines before engaging in fishing activities, as rules may vary depending on which state you are fishing in, Wisconsin or Michigan both require their own fishing licenses.  Watch for local posted regulations.


Northern Wisconsin - Walleye May 6 - March 3, 2024 (Season may vary each year)


Upper Peninsula of Michigan - Walleye May 15 - March 15 (Season may vary each year)


WI Fishing Hook & Line Record

Wisconsin Record Walleye.

Weight - 18 lbs. 0 oz. Length not available.

Date - 09/16/1933

Location High Lake Vilas County.

Wisconsin Hook and Line Records for Fishing

MI Fishing Hook & Line Record

Michigan Record Walleye.

Weight - 17.19 lbs. Length 35 Inches.

Date - 1951

Caught on Live Minnow

Location Pine River Manistee County.



Michigan Hook and Line Records for Fishing
DNR Master Angler Michigan.gov Program and Map

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