It’s back to that time of year when everyone is looking forward to wetting a line in open water again. Melting snow and rising water levels mean one thing to most anglers: the walleye race is on. Walleye flock to the rivers each spring to lay their eggs, and anglers flock from far and wide to try and land the 30-inch club.

The males usually move in just after the ice comes up, and the females follow when the water temperature approaches 40 degrees. Spawning can happen fast, depending on the weather, and most fish have spawned by the time the water reaches 50 degrees. One thing to remember during this time is to be bold and fish in shallow water. Walleye will usually move to shallow areas with gravel or rock to spawn. Don’t be surprised if you find one sitting in a foot of water. During this time of year, tactics can range from throwing plastics, hair jigs, or trolling Dubuque rigs at low speed. For a more active bite, rippin raps and blade baits are common, along with trolling crankbaits. Don’t be afraid to change if something doesn’t work. I’ve found that the more natural colors work best before the water gets dirty, but the brighter colors produce better once the clarity diminishes.

I love to fish for walleye before spawning, but after spawning it can produce a phenomenal catch. During this time, the fish are hungry and actively feed. Then, as spring progresses, sport fishing opens up in every state, allowing people to raise walleye in inland lakes. Check your state regulations for daily baggage and size limits, as these vary.

There is nothing better than fresh walleye for dinner. There are many ways to eat walleye, but you must clean them first. Making sure you get all the bones out is essential, as no one wants to pick fish bones out of their teeth.

Here are a couple of tips to make this process a bit easier:

  • Before cleaning your fish, sharpen your knife. There is nothing worse than a dull knife when trying to fillet a fish. Smiths Consumer Products manufactures a variety of knife sharpeners. However, I recommend Smith’s Deluxe Knife and Hook Sharpener. It is compact, easy to use and always gives great results.

Steps for cleaning:

  1. Place your knife behind the front flipper and cut down to the spine. DO NOT cut through the spine.
  2. Once you make this cut, turn the fillet knife to the side, slide it along the spine to the tail, and remove the fillet.
  3. Next, remove the rib bones. Position your fillet knife just behind the ribs and follow the outline to do this.
  4. Next, you will remove the skin. Starting at the tail, hold the knife to its side and slide along the skin, removing the fillet as you go. Use your fingers to hold the skin in place while you do this.
  5. Lastly, you will remove the bones along the middle of the fillet. To find them, run your fingers over the fillet. Once you find them, make a cut along both sides and remove them.
  6. Wash the fillets in cold water and they are ready to cook!

There are many ways to eat walleye, but one of my favorites is fish tacos. You can easily modify them to make them your own. No fish taco is the same. This is how I like to do them



2 zander fillets

1 cup Southern Zatarains Crispy Fish Fry

1 cup of cornmeal

Milk (used to dip the fish)

Olive oil (for frying)

1 bag of coleslaw

1 can of your favorite coleslaw dressing

Hard or soft shells (whatever you prefer)

Ingredients of your choice (red peppers, pico de gallo, pineapple salsa, guacamole)

Preparation of toppings:

  1. Mix the coleslaw in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Cut the peppers and any other vegetables you want and reserve.
  3. I usually buy pico de gallo, pineapple salsa, and guacamole, but if you’re ambitious, you can make them yourself.

Cooking your walleye:

  1. In a bowl, mix Zatarains and cornmeal.
  2. In another bowl, add the milk.
  3. Cut the fillets into smaller pieces about 4-5 inches long.
  4. Dip the fish fillets in the milk and then in the dry mix.
  5. In a skillet, add enough olive oil to about 1/4 inch to cover the bottom.
  6. Heat the oil and then add the battered fish fillets.
  7. Fry until crisp

Prepare the final product by putting the fish on the shell, followed by the coleslaw and dressings, and it’s ready to eat!


Smith’s Consumer Products is an Arkansas-based company that traces its history back to 1886. Smith’s produces the broadest line of knife and scissor sharpeners available, ranging from simple fixed-angle removable sharpeners for consumers who want quick and easy sharpening to sophisticated precision kits. Designed for the knife sharpening enthusiast. Our offering includes manual and electric sharpeners that incorporate many different abrasive materials, including diamond, carbide, ceramic, bonded synthetic abrasives, and of course, Arkansas natural stone. Smith’s Consumer Products Edge Experts also design and manufacture a wide range of tools for the outdoor enthusiast, as well as knives for everyday carry, tactical, shop, kitchen, hunting and fishing needs.