By Jeff Oien, Pro Staff

Whether you are looking for that trophy fish or just some fillets for your dinner plate, rod selection is a key part of walleye fishing. Finding the rod that best suits both the type of fishing and your personal preference will not only enhance your experience, it will increase your success on the water.

The first step to finding the perfect rod for targeting walleyes is to decide its purpose. How are you going to be targeting the eyes’? If you are going to be jigging, with either live bait or plastics, you are going to need a different rod than you would if you were cranking. “All purpose rods” are great for novice anglers, but you may want to ditch this type of rod and select a rod based on its specific purpose.

For jigging, either with live bait or plastics, there are a few variables to keep in mind when selecting the perfect rod. Length and weight are extremely important. As sensitivity is vital to jigging for walleyes, a rod with a good length and weight will help you in this area. For length you want to have a rod that is anywhere from 6’ to 7’0”. It all depends on personal preference here, with the longer rods having the ultimate sensitivity. My personal preference is right in the middle with a 6’3” rod. As for weight, medium or medium light will do the trick. The most important aspect to your jigging rod is the action. Look for a rod with a fast or extra fast action. A rod with a solid backbone and fast tip is also going to give you the control and sensitivity you need to feel the rocks and structure, and enable you to catch more fish. Try to stay away from two piece rods. With a two piece rod (or more) you tend to lose sensitivity due to the disconnect in the fibril skeleton of the rod blank. There is a loss of the energy in its transfer down the rod. If you stick with a one piece, there is minimal energy loss, which means greater sensitivity and more fish for you!

The good thing is that most rod manufacturers take all the guess work out of it for you. Most major rod manufacturers have specialty rods designed specifically for your fishing needs. The only downfall is that some of them are expensive. If you have the pocket for it, St. Croix makes some phenomenal walleye rods. The Walleye tournament series is aptly named. They are specifically designed for catching walleye after walleye. The vertical jigging model is my favorite, but the finesse jig and jig-n-rig models do the trick as well. Otherwise St. Croix’s Legend Elite series is a fantastic rod, as well as G’Loomis’ GLX series and walleye spinning rods.

If your pocket is a little thin these days, Fenwick makes a nice low cost option in their Elite-tech rods. These rods are priced in the upper $100’s, but are significantly cheaper than the other high end specialty rods. Shimano also makes an affordable rod in their Compre Series. These are also great rods and are well priced.

All the previously mentioned rod manufacturers also have lower level series rods at more affordable prices. They are all fine choices. In the end all that matters is that you find the rod that best suits the type of fishing you are doing and more importantly you.

Keep your tips up and your lines tight. Good luck out there.