There is no doubt about it, walleye love crankbaits!
However with so many different types available on the market today, which one is the best crankbait for walleye?
Let’s take a look at 7 of my favorite cranks to throw when fishing for walleye.
What are the best crankbaits for walleye?
Here is a quick look at what would be my top 7 walleye crankbaits, for a more detailed look at each lure, please keep reading below.
- Rapala Clackin’ Rap
- Rapala Rippin’ Rap
- Reef Runner 800
- Rapala Husky Jerk
- Berkley Flicker Shad
- Storm Original Hot N Tot
- Livetarget Threadfin Shad
Oftentimes when we think about lipless crankbaits we think about catching big bass, but they can be just as effective in catching walleye. This is especially true when the water temperature starts to warm up. So, when fishing for walleye during those warm summer months, lipless crankbaits should be one of your go-to lures.
With that being said, let’s take a look at a few of our favorite lipless crankbaits for walleye.
The first lipless crank that we want to consider is the Rapala Clackin’ Rap. This is a 2.5 inch, 7/16 ounce single knocker lipless crankbait. The reason is it called a single knocker is because it has a single steel ball located in a metal cylinder tube. When it is being brought through the water, it gives off a deep ‘one knock’ sound that is much different from other crankbaits that have many bb’s in the sound chamber. The best part about the one knocker design is that it doesn’t matter if you work it fast or you work it slow, it is going to give off that sound and draw those fish in.
Also, because of its unique sound, it a great lure to use when fishing for pressured fish. As you can see from the picture, it has those standard 2 flat sides on the body, giving it that nice tight wobble that no walleye can resist.
Let’s take a closer look at the action of this bait underwater in the following video:
Another deadly lipless crank for walleye is the Rapala Rippin’ Rap. Much like the clackin rap, this lure has a 2.5 inch long slender body designed to give it that tight wobble and a lot of vibration to draw attention.
The difference between the two cranks is the rattle. This lipless crankbait is equipped with several bb’s in the sound chamber that help to give it a much louder rattle. Many anglers like to take advantage of this loud rattle by the way they fish it. In order to do this when you are retrieving it back to the boat, give the lure a quick rip with the rod and then let the lure fall to the bottom. This technique along with rippin it through the water, will really gets the bb’s going and send off a lot of vibrations. This helps to generate a lot of attention and draw in some bites.
The best part about this lure is that because of the loud rattle, it isn’t limited to fishing in the summer, it can be just as effective in catching walleye during the winter.
Let’s take a look at the Rapala Rippin’ Rap in action:
Another great way to get onto some big walters is by trolling crankbaits. The reason this can be so effective is because it allows you to cover so much water. With that being said, let’s take a look at some of my favorite trolling crankbaits for walleye.
If you really want to catch some walleye you need to pick up a good trolling crankbait, such as the: Reef Runner 800.
As you can see from the picture, this lure has what looks like a jerkbait style body, but with a large hump located in the rear. This body design helps to give it a darting back and forth hunting action that will generate results when casting or trolling for walleye.
It is also because of this design that it can be trolled at different speeds without changing the action of the lure, thus making it a bait that is truly versatile.
One of the most important thing to keep in mind when fishing with a lure such as theReef Runner 800 is to make sure that you tune it before you fish it. Of course out of the box, this lure is going to run true, but that could change if you catch a fish. So, after catching a fish, before you make that next cast, always make sure this lure is still running true, if not you may need to tune it by adjusting the eye.
So, if you are looking for one of the best walleye crankbaits on the market, you certainly won’t be disappointed with the performance of the Reef Runner 800.
Are you looking for the best trolling crankbait for walleye that can be effective in both the warm summer months and those cold months too? If so, we think the Rapala Husky Jerk might be the crank for you.
What makes this lure so effective and so different from the rest is its ability to suspend in the water. This allows it to stay in the strike zone longer when fishing for those finicky walleye. Because of its ability to suspend, it also can be slow rolled more effectively than other lures similar to it. This is great when fishing for walleye in those cool spring and fall months.
Don’t limit yourself to trolling this lure, you can also have much success by casting it and fishing it like you would any other crankbait. One of my favorite ways to fish it is to give it some pops as I am bringing it back to the boat. By giving it a little action, whether on the cast or trolling it, you can help to give it that erratic motion and help to trigger a strike.
See this lure in action in the following video:
No list of the best crankbaits for walleye would be complete without mentioning the Berkley Flicker Shad. Hands down this is one of the best and a must-have for the true walleye angler. This is a crankbait with a unqiue body design that gives off a flicker action, much like a shad or other baitfish, thus the name, Flicker Shad.
It is available in a number of different colors and sizes. The number 4 and 5 are most effective when fishing those colder months when walleye are in shallower water. Simply cast it out or troll it and you are bound to catch a walleye.
When the water gets a little warmer and the walleye head out into deeper water, much success can be had with the larger baits like number 6 and 7. These baits will dive a little deeper and get you down to where those fish are holding up. Depending on the situation and the fishing line, these baits could dive close to 15 feet.
It is also important to note that you will notice a slight difference in the action between the sizes. The bigger ones (6,7) have a more aggressive action, while the smaller ones (4,5) have a more subtle action.
Let’s see the Berkley Flicker Shad in action in the video below:
Next up on our list of the best crankbaits for walleye is probably one of the most popular lures, it is the Storm Original Hot N Tot. This is a deep diving crankbait that can be used both for casting or trolling. There are two features that really make this lure stand out from the rest.
The first is the lip/body design. It is equipped with a metal lip on a somewhat peculiar looking body. Let’s face it, deep diving crankbaits take a beating. However, with a metal lip, this crankbait was built to last. Attached to this lip is a stout looking body that helps to give it that wide hunting action that walleye crave.
Are you still not convinced that this is the best trolling crankbait for walleye? Well, I have saved the best feature for last. One of my favorite features is that it is buoyant, meaning that when you stop reeling it in, it will slowly float. This really helps to make this lure effective because with a simple stop and go retrieve, you can bring this crank to life under the water.
Take a closer look at one of our favorite walleye crankbaits in the following video:
Like most predator fish, walleye love to feed on shad hence the reason many crankbaits in this post are designed to imitate these fish. However, no crankbait can beat the look of the next one on our list the Livetarget Threadfin Shad Crankbait. In fact, let’s just pause and drool, I mean marvel (!) over the look of this bait in the next video clip:
As you can see this is one beautiful crank designed to look like not one shad, but a small school of them making it even more appealing for that hungry walleye lurking nearby. Couple the sick design with that wide wobble and you have yourself a deadly walleye crankbait.
While any of these crankbaits can catch you walleye any time of the year, let’s narrow it down just 3 crankbaits. Which ones would I choose? I like to throw the Storm Original Hot N Tot when fishing warmer weather, the Rapala Husky Jerk during those cooler months, and the Rapala Rippin’ Rap when ice fishing.
There you have it, my list of the best walleye crankbaits. What do you think are the best crankbaits for walleye? If you could only bring 3 with you, which ones would you take?
(You may also enjoy Best Bass Crankbaits, an indepth look at the different types of crankbaits, lipless, squarebil, and deep diving)