Best Rods For Walleye (Yellow Pike) Fishing Reviewed

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If you’re already on the hunt for the best walleye fishing rod, then you’re probably aware that there’s a ton on the market with a range of different features. Choosing the best rod and reel to suit your needs may seem like a huge hassle, but it could save you hundreds of dollars in the future. You’ll need a rod that is flexible but won’t break. And, a rod that can hold heavier lures and baits without leaving your arm and hand in pain.

Luckily for you, we’ve reviewed and compared the best rods from some of the most reputable brands that are in the market today. But before you make your purchase, it’s important to know exactly what you need and what you’re looking for.

Preview

Model

Line Weight

Power/Action

Check Price

Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod 6'6' - Medium -...

Ugly Stik Elite

8-17 Lbs

Medium, Ultra Light

KastKing WideEye Walleye Casting & Spinning...

KastKing WideEye

3.6 Oz.

Medium, Fast

St. Croix Mojo Series Ice Rod (28', Medium)

St. Croix Mojo Series

2-6 lbs

Medium

G loomis Walleye Fishing Rod WPJR821S GlX

G.Loomis Walleye Series Rod

6-12 lbs

Light, Fast

St. Croix ECS70MLF Eyecon Graphite Spinning...

St Croix Eyecon

6-10 Lbs

Medium, Extra Fast

Okuma CP-LT-762M Classic Pro GLT Lake...

Okuma Classic Pro GLT

10-20 Lbs

Medium, Fast

Cadence Fishing CR5 Spinning Rods | 30 Ton...

Cadence CR5-30

4-8 Lbs

Medium, Light-Moderate

Okuma Classic Pro Salmon Trolling Combo with...

Okuma Great Lakes Combo

8-12 Lbs

Light, Fast


Why Angling Yellow Pike Requires a Quality Rod

If you’re going out to wrestle a walleye into the shorelines, you'd better be well-equipped with a rod that can match the “water wolves” strength. A rod that’s under 7-feet won’t work as well as longer rods. Beefy tackle is recommended, and combos can work a treat against yellow pike.

If you plan on fishing walleye and your equipment is not suitable, you’ll run into a lot of problems. Your reel could seize up, your line could break, or your rod could snap in two. Be prepared by knowing what you need for your trip and when you'll need it. A good fishing rod is one of the most important pieces you'll need, so here's everything you'll need to know to choose the best walleye fishing rod for you. 


How To Choose A Quality Walleye Rod

Rod Type

  • Walleye Trolling Rods
    The best walleye trolling rods are usually between 8 Ft to 8'6". There are trolling rods up to 10 feet long, but these aren't the best fit for walleye fishing. Shorter trolling rods have a strong backbone for handling large lures and thicker lines and work exceptionally when paired with a trolling reel. However, they should still have a soft tip section to aid fighting a large yellow pike.
  • Walleye Jigging Rod
    Be sure to pick up a walleye jigging rod that’s between 6’3” and 8’. This length works wonders and allows you to feel every bite.  There’s obviously a big difference between a 6'3" rod and an 8". Shorter rods weigh less, so it's easier for your arm and hand when fishing all day. Longer 7′ – 8′ rods allow for greater control for its extended tip.
  • Walleye Spinning Rod
    If you’re considering a spinning rod for walleye, always make sure it's strong and durable. Don't be fooled by one that's weak. The weight of a good spinning rod should fall in between a much heavier trolling rod and an ultra-sensitive jigging rod. You’ll be able to cast a variety of bait and line weights. A typical Medium Power 6-7 Ft spinning rod and a medium-sized 35 reel will give you the versatility needed to fish walleye.

Rod Material

The material that’s used to construct a good quality rod is very important as it can stop you from overpaying for a rod that isn’t very suitable. Typically, the actual “rod” portion of the fishing rod is generally made from graphite, carbon fiber, or fiberglass. Some manufacturers have composed a blend of two materials to achieve an even stronger rod.

Whereas graphite can be used and measured in many different modulus ratings, a rod with a high modulus rating can be made using less material, making the rod lighter and more sensitive. There's more flex with this rod's material, so rod stiffness won't be a problem.

Rod Length & Action

You'd better be ready to take on some walleye fish with a long rod. Typically a good walleye rod will be 7'10" up to 10' with many anglers loving rods that are about 8'5" in length. The rod type is important and will play a big part in the rods' length.

The best tend to be moderate in action, with some experienced anglers leaning closer to fast-extra fast action.  A fast action rod will bend in only the top third or less of the blank but can lose its level of sensitivity so novice anglers may find it difficult to control.

Rod Handles

Nowadays, there’s a range of handles that differ depending on its price. Higher priced handles are made of cork or EVA foam. These types of materials help with grip, and they protect the angler's hands from slipping when going against larger species of fish.  Cork and EVA foam are also better known for transmitting sensation from the rod to the handler so you'll feel every bite that comes your way.

Power Rating

The power of a rod refers to the rod’s resistance when it’s being flexed. Heavier action rods require more pressure to bend, while light action rods bend much easier. The line and lure will also affect your rods’ accuracy if it’s not matched correctly with the power rating.

For walleye fishing, a medium power with moderate-fast or fast action rod works well. This is also a good combination for larger black bass, walleye, catfish, and other fishing species.

Line Weight & Guides

Whether you're fishing in a weed line or clear waters, the best walleye line weight tends to stay the same but varies from line to line. For braided lines, use 8-10 lbs. Monofilament tends to be best at about 6-8 lbs, whereas a fluorocarbon leader needs to be 10-12 lbs.

If you’re wondering which line to use, then you’ll need to determine which type of rod you’re hoping to use. As mentioned above, jigging, trolling, and spinning rods differ in length and capabilities, so it's better to choose your line based on the rod rather on the fish.

Durability/Ease Of Use

A durable fishing rod will have some key features that can help when tackling a walleye. Always check the rod material, guide material, handle composition, and tip sensitivity. These features will determine a quality rod over a basic, cheap rod.

When it comes to walleye fishing, it needs to excel in durability as you’ll want to use it not only after one big catch but multiple catches. Once you've found your durable and robust rod, you can get the hang of casting and reeling in an open space to get the grips of how it works. This will make it easier to use when you get the open water.

Price & Warranty

Many manufacturers have warranties on many of their rods and reels, and they also state exactly what it's covered for. It could be a replacement or refund if there is a demonstrable defect created during the construction of the product. Other warranties will cover any issues that arise when you've ownership of the rod for the period of the warranty. Your new walleye fishing rod could be covered for 1 year or for life, so be sure to check on our list before you buy.

You'll also see from our list; walleye rods can range in price from budget-friendly price points to higher, more expensive price points. There's bound to be a fishing rod that will suit all of your walleye fishing needs on our list so you can get out to the waterways in no time at all.


8 Best Walleye Rods Reviewed

1. Ugly Stik Elite

Our Top Pick!

Length

6’6”

Line Weight

8-17 Lbs

Handle Type

Cork Handle

Primary Material

Ugly Tech Construction with added graphite

Power/Action

Medium, Ultra Light

Warranty

5 Year

Our top pick is, without a doubt, a stand out rod for many reasons. Anglers all across the US love this elite spinning rod by Ugly Stik, especially for its lightweight features and elegant design. It’s composed of Ugly Tech’s new added graphite construction for lower overall weight and increased sensitivity. The cork handle with the new guides makes this feel extremely balanced, too.

Balance is particularly important for a rod that’s 6 ft 6” in size as you may be sitting by the water for a long time waiting on a bite. You’ll need to be prepared to wait or to fight a hefty walleye in the brink of an eye.

Another reason why this rod is the best walleye fishing reel is its ease of use. Spinning rods tend to be a little easier for novice anglers to master as there’s less to think about compared to a baitcaster. Casting is made simple, and the sensitive tip ensures you’ll notice when there’s any inkling of a bite. The rod is also quite elastic, meaning that it can endure heavier lures while it still recovers quite fast, and the bending does not last.

The Ugly Stik Elite rod is convenient and comfortable for anglers hoping to catch big and small species as well as yellow pike and bass fish. It’s also suitable for fresh and saltwater so you won’t have to buy different rods for each fish species. This versatile rod won’t just perform well, but it will excel on all of your walleye fishing excursions.

Pros
  • Extremely balanced for comfort over long periods
  • Light in weight
  • Suitable for big and small species
  • Easy to use for novice anglers
Cons
  • High level of water turbulence could cause the rod to snap

2. KastKing WideEye

Runner Up

Length

6’8”

Line Weight

3.6  Oz.

Handle Type

AAA Cork Split Handle

Primary Material

High Carbon

Power/Action

Medium, Fast

Warranty

1 Year

If you’re looking for an all-round top rod from a trustworthy brand, then the KastKing WideEye Technique specific walleye rod is one to consider. KastKing has produced some top of the line rods at affordable prices in the past, and the WideEye Fishing rod is no different.

The company has said they've used a "new level of technology with years of experience in creating rods with technique-specific actions and lengths." This research, alongside new technology, gives this rod an outstanding result when it comes to fishing for walleye.

To start, the WideEye fishing rod is composed of high carbon making it one of the lightest rods on our list. It’s made possible through advanced IM9 fishing rod blank technology making it extremely lightweight, sensitive, and power.

Some other high-end components used when making these rods are the FUJI tangle K frame guides and reel seats to help you with each cast. It also features a AAA cork split rear handle. This handle is not only beautiful to look at but also is not going to flake and fall apart after years of use.

Its design is classic, not sporty. Its components are of a high standard, and its performance on the water is incredible. With 13 different lengths and actions and with 1 & 2 piece models available, it won't take you long before you find the rod that's perfectly suited to give you the best results.

Be sure to know what you're looking for before you buy, though. Each walleye fishing pole is great for a specific technique or walleye fishing style. So, jigging, rigging, and trolling options are all available for your choosing.

Pros
  • Technique specific action rods
  • Extremely light in weight
  • Provides excellent casting abilities
  • Tournament rod’ for everyday anglers
Cons
  • May not be a great fit for more experienced anglers

3. St. Croix Mojo Series

Best Walleye Ice Fishing Rod

Length

24”

Line Weight

2-6 lbs

Handle Type

Split Grip Cork/EVA Handle

Primary Material

Carbon Fibre

Power/Action

Medium

Warranty

5 Year

Fishing for walleye during Spring may be one anglers dream, but another alternative for walleye fishing is on the ice. Ice fishing has become a lot more popular over recent years, and many anglers love spearing holes and looking for yellow pike. If this is something you're interested in, the St. Croix Mojo series ice fishing rod will be your best friend on your next trip out on the ice.

St. Croix has used its own innovative technology and knowledge to craft a rod that is like no other. It has a specialized reel seat and a split grip cork handle that has a reduced mass that helps keep the overall weight of the rod low. It also offers direct hand contact with the blank to increase sensitivity.

Another great feature of the Mojo Series ice fishing rod is its twist grip locking mechanism. It allows you to get a tight and secure lockdown on the reel foot. Finish this rod with lightweight, stainless steel guides, and you'll have a high performing rod that won't freeze up in cold weather conditions.

The St. Croix Mojo Series rod won't just be great for catching walleye; you'll be able to catch bass, perch, and large trout in freshwater as well as ice water. There's a ton of backbone, and the tip is very sensitive, too. All in all, you won't be disappointed if you're looking for an ice fishing rod that can handle large lures and thicker lines as it can handle it.

Pros
  • Great flexibility & backbone
  • Features stainless steel guides that are light in weight
  • Super sensitive due to its tapered carbon blanks
  • Cork/EVA handle has great grip
Cons
  • Not capable of handling heavier weight on the line

4. G.Loomis Walleye Series Rod

Best Walleye Jigging Rod

Length

7’6”

Line Weight

6-12 lbs

Handle Type

Cork Handle

Primary Material

Blended Fiber Blank

Power/Action

Light, Fast

Warranty

LifeTime

As mentioned previously, there is a range of rods that are suited for catching yellow pike, and jigging is one way to get them at the end of your line. The best walleye jigging rod should be lightweight, balanced, and comfortable enough to pull up and down for hours at a time. The G.Loomis Walleye Series rod is a perfect match in these areas, and more.

The G.Loomis walleye rod comes in 6 models and can cover a range of fishing applications and environments. Its extra length that helps extend casting range and provides more positive hooksets in deep water. Unlike a vertical jig rod, the standard size guides of this G. Loomis Spinning Rods increase distance and accuracy, so you'll be able to target your lure with ease.

G. Loomis has created a "blended fibers" blank with Fuji Alconite guides, Fuji reel seats, and premium "A" grade cork handles. They also use G. Loomis' popular GLX blanks. It’s designed for vertical jigging and provides a 3-power version for more power when you’re using slightly heavier jigs with heavier line.

The extra inch was added in the blank to give you better control around your motor and provides a little more power for bigger walleyes. This rod may be one of the more expensive pieces of equipment on our list, but it’s perfectly matched for any jigging fishing trip you may take in the future.

Pros
  • Longer length for extended casts
  • Standard size guides for increased distance
  • Soft tip for fishing lighter line
  • Great for jigging in freshwater
Cons
  • Very expensive compared to its competitors
  • Better suited for experienced anglers

5. St Croix Eyecon

Best Walleye Spinning Rod

Length

6’3”

Line Weight

6-10 Lbs

Handle Type

Split Grip Premium Grade Cork Handle

Primary Material

SCII Graphite

Power/Action

Medium, Extra Fast

Warranty

5 Year

When it comes to spinning rods, there’s a ton to choose from. Some are better for lighter lures, and others are great for casting. The St. Croix Eyecon Spinning rod is produced by a well known and beloved manufacturer, St Croix. This rod is a perfect match for anglers who appreciate high-performance without the high cost.

The St. Croix Eyecon Walleye Spinning Rod is a premium product for technique-specific fishing. It is composed of an SCII graphite blank, making it very strong, yet still lightweight and responsive. The rod features Kigan Master Hand 3D guides with slim, sturdy aluminum-oxide rings and black frames for truly smooth line movement. So you won’t need to worry about a bird’s nest forming within your reel. And in terms of durability, you’ll have some to spare as this rod can hold heavy lines and lures.

From its tip to toe, this rod looks and feels professional in your hand. It has a premium-grade cork handle with an EVA trim for hand support. Finished with two coats of flex coat soft cure finish, and you have yourself the best walleye spinning rod that sits at a reasonable price point.

Pros
  • Two coats of Flex Coat slow-cure finish
  • Great backbone throughout the rod
  • Specifically designed for fishing techniques
  • Extra- fast action rod bends just at the tip
Cons
  • Extra fast action can allow the rod not to flex as well

6. Okuma Classic Pro GLT

Best Walleye Trolling Rod

Length

7’0”

Line Weight

10-20 Lbs

Handle Type

EVA foregrip handle

Primary Material

Fiberglass

Power/Action

Medium, Fast

Warranty

Lifetime

Whether you're fishing from a moving boat, moving side to side on a jetty, or you're winding the line in from a static position, you'll need a trolling rod to suit your needs. The Okuma Classic Pro GLT trolling rod is an excellent fit for just about any technique you are going to be using it for, and at a very affordable price, too. They are well-known for their sensitivity and durability, as well as having a very comfortable grip for fighting large fish.

Some of the features on this rod are the titanium oxide guide inserts that sit along with the E-glass blank construction. It is composed of a durable tubular gloss black fiberglass construction and has high purpose-specific EVA grip designs. Okuma has put a lot of time and effort into the design portion of their products. This Pro GLT model comes with a triangular-shaped EVA foregrip that looks great but also gives you a great grip when you’re fighting any walleye fish.

With 6 technique-specific rods available, from copper/lead-core to lake trolling, you’re bound to love this tournament-like rod like no other. And for the price and warranty, you’ll be ha[[y to know that this rod is one of the least expensive rods on our list with an exceptional lifetime warranty covering your against most defects in workmanship.

Pros
  • Great product at a low price point
  • Easy to use
  • Comes in a 2-piece design
  • Extremely durable rod
  • Great warranty
Cons
  • Sporty design- may not suit every anglers’ taste

7. Cadence CR5-30

Value for Money

Length

6’6”

Line Weight

4-8 Lbs

Handle Type

Full Cork & EVA Handle

Primary Material

30-ton Carbon Matrix Graphite

Power/Action

Medium, Light-Moderate

Warranty

1 Year

If you’ve been looking and researching for a new fishing rod suitable for walleye, you may have heard about Cadence, a fishing gear company that is relatively new to the market compared to its competitors. Still, the company is getting noticed for all the right reasons.

One of the products from the company that has gained a lot of popularity for walleye fishing (or any large species in freshwater) is the Cadence Spinning Rod, CR5-30. It's not just its striking looks that are grabbing anglers' attention; it's the value for money you get, too.

The CR5-30 uses advanced technology in designing a product that is not only likable but practical. It is available in different lengths that vary from 4’8” to 7’0”. The action, on the other hand, is grouped according to moderate, moderate-fast, and fast, whereas the power changes from ultralight, medium-light, medium, and medium-heavy. We feel the 6’6” medium power with a light to moderate action is the best in terms of line weight yet still giving it some flex.

The blank is constructed of High Quality 30-ton carbon matrix graphite and offers a strong yet lightweight feel. This spinning rod is known for its durability and sensitivity that other rods lack. It’s an important element that is necessary when fishing with heavier lures, like crankbaits, for example. It's a great rod for game fish, including freshwater fish like bass, walleye, and trout as well as popular inshore species like redfish, speckled trout, and flounder with a rinse after fishing.

Finish this rod with stainless steel guides with SiC inserts, and it makes it more smooth and durable than a lot of its spinning rod competitors. The guides also avoid the line from sticking and minimizes friction by transferring vibrations from the line through the guide to the rod and to your hand.

Pros
  • Extremely light in weight
  • Easy to use and maintain
  • Composed of high quality, long-lasting materials
  • Great value for money
Cons
  • The diameter of the handle is a bit narrow- not ideal for prolonged use

8. Okuma Great Lakes Combo

Best Walleye Rod & Reel Combo

Length

7’6”

Line Weight

8-12 Lbs

Handle Type

Full EVA Foam Handles

Primary Material

E-Glass Blank Construction

Power/Action

Light, Fast

Warranty

Full 1 Year

If you’re new to the game of catching game fish, you might be looking for a new rod and reel. Many manufacturers have created rod and reel combos to suit many fishing styles and techniques. The Okuma Great Lakes trolling rod/reel combo is perfectly matched and could have you trolling for walleye, trout, and bass in no time.

The rod is composed of durable E-glass blank construction with Double footed aluminum oxide guides. Even though E-glass isn’t as tough as S-glass, this rod has been tried and tested on lakes to guarantee strength and durability. The stainless steel hooded reel seats also help the overall strength as you won’t have to worry about corrosion when you're by the lake. Pair these features with the EVA Foam grips, and you'll have yourself a strong, stable, and comfortable rod that you can use for hours on end.

In terms of the spinning reel, it's easy to use, basic, but performs well when accompanied by the rod. It has machine cut brass gearing, with a gear ratio of 5.1:1. This ratio is perfectly matched for trolling large species and is a better fit than the other models that are available with a ratio of 4.0:1.

The ball bearings are quite low at just 1+1 bb, however, and these really can help the reel move without much jerkiness.  Overall, this walleye rod and reel combo is loved by many anglers, and as it's created by Okuma, you'll have a good warranty in case anything goes wrong during workmanship.

Pros
  • Great for saltwater trolling
  • Great combo for anglers needing both pieces of equipment
  • Can hold heavy lures
  • Reel works well and has a beautiful, simple design
  • Good value for money
Cons
  • Fore-grip is triangular, and the fit is tight for some anglers 
  • Ball Bearing could be higher to help the reels jerkiness

Tips for Walleye Fishing Pole Setup

When you're setting up your new walleye rod, you'll need to consider some key steps to successfully set it up with ease. Whether you have got a trolling, spinning, or jigging rod, these steps will help you to understand what’s involved when setting up your rod.

1. Choose your Equipment wisely:

Choosing the right rod is just one part of the process. To guarantee good results, select a reel and lure that will work with your rod rather than against it. The same goes for fishing lines. Common choices include monofilament, braided, and fluorocarbon lines.

2. Prepare the line and rod:

Your blank and reel will have recommended estimated ranges printed directly on them, frequently on the hold of the rod and on the spool of the reel. These are estimates in “pound-testing," so you'll know which line width is recommended.  Be sure to assemble your 1 or 2 piece rod and prepare the correct line to be spooled onto your reel and down your rod.

3. Connect each piece of equipment:

Once you’ve put the line on the reel, begin to bring it down the blank. On most rods, you will need to rotate the pieces together. Do this by holding the grip and rotating the reel pieces while they are adjoined. If your rod is not coming together, stop immediately. Look at the instructions and try again. There may be a locking mechanism stopping you, and if you keep persisting the line,  you risk damaging it permanently.

4. Add your lure, and get to the water:

Once you’ve connected the reel, spooled the line down the blanks, and have everything ready to go, you can now add your lure to your fishing line. Anglers usually leave approximately ten inches, or twenty centimeters, of line on the other side of the lure. Since a fishing line is so difficult to see, it is often recommended that you practice knot tying with string or shoelaces before you try on your new walleye fishing rod.


Walleye Fishing Tips for Beginners

If you’re completely new to walleye fishing and you’re looking for some tips and tricks for starting off, then you’ve come to the right place. There’s a ton of things novice anglers tend to forget about. One thing every angler should consider is the weather.

Different weather conditions make a difference when fishing for walleye. After heavy rainfall, trolling is your best bet as walleye tend to stay lower in the water bed. If the water is clear, look for places with a lot of cover, like weeds, as the walleye have a tendency to hiding out.

Another tip that’s useful for beginners is not to be afraid of experimenting with baits and lures. There is no real way to know how the walleye will react to each type of bait until you try them. If you’re closeby to a fish tackle store, why not give live baits a try?

Last but not least, practice makes perfect when it comes to any technique-specific fishing, so take your time learning how to cast and get to know your equipment as well as you can before you get to the water.


People Also Ask (FAQs)

What are the best brands for walleye rods?

Nowadays, many brands are fighting to take first place as the best brand for various types of fishing. The best walleye fishing rod could be manufactured by G.Loomis, Fenwick, St. Croix, or KastKing. Each brand has a rod that uses its own new technology so you can choose the one that’s best suited for your needs and environment.

Where can I catch yellow pike & when is the best time to go walleye fishing?

Within the US, you’ll find walleye fishes in States like Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Idaho, Northern New England, and more. These are merely a few that have a high number of yellow pike in their waterways. Regardless of where you fish, the end of  May and start of June is a great time to target big pike species. The majority of this species will spawn around the full moon cycle in April. And that’s the same for ice fishing or open water fishing.

What line should I use for walleyes?

When you’re choosing a line for walleye fishing, first consider your rod and bait. If your lure or bait is heavy, then a heavier line will be needed. If your rod or reel can’t support your line and lure, then you’ll be running into some problems. All of the rods listed here would have little to no problem using a monofilament line for walleye. It casts exceptionally well on light gear and has less memory than other mono brands.

Is there anything special to consider when buying a rod for walleye ice fishing?

The most important factor is power and action. If you're buying a rod solely for walleye fishing, then medium-light to medium power ratings are great. Fast to extra-fast action is great for quick hook sets but can be more difficult for novice anglers.

What lures do walleyes like? What’s the best bait to use?

The three most popular live baits for walleye fishing are hands down minnows, leeches, and nightcrawlers. They're slow-moving with a little bit of weight to them, making them an excellent choice for trolling or spinning rods. For jigging rods, use a lure that's a soft-plastic with a grub-style body. This offers a slippery, life-like appearance.

Are there regulations for walleye fishing? Do I need to get a license for walleye fishing?

Many anglers may be unaware of this, but under the “Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act 1997,” it is illegal to go fishing without a license. You may be penalized for not having a license with you, and the penalty is way more than the cost of the actual license. Always check with the local authorities to obtain the right license and paperwork so you won't have any worrying to do when you’re out by the water.


Conclusion

One of the most important things when choosing your perfect walleye fishing rod is that quality should never be compromised, and there’s no need to compromise it over price either. From our list, you’ll see rods as low as $30 that range up to $400.

Our top pick, Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod is a high-quality rod that sits at a fantastic price point. It also has a lot of the same features as higher priced fishing rods yet still being easy to use and learn with. If there’s another rod that suits your needs more on our list, then go for it! Every rod has some great features and proves to withstand against walleye when under pressure.