We tested & reviewed the top 8 best walleye rods including a few rod/reel combos. Find the perfect trolling, spinning or jigging fishing rod below.
With spring time just around the corner, I bet y'all are raring to get your gear ready for walleye season!
And if you are, I want you to know that you’ve come to the right place. Because in today’s blog post, we’re going to be going over the best walleye fishing rods currently available on the market.
Of course, if you’re a fisherman, you already know that no two fishing rods are the same. But the problem is that many anglers, even some experienced anglers, aren’t sure as to which rods they should be using when targeting certain types of fish.
So with that said, I thought it would be a good idea to break things down for you.
Below, I’ll start by taking a look at the different types of rods you can be using for targeting walleye, and then we’ll dive into my top 8 picks for the best walleye fishing rod.
Let’s jump into it!
When it comes to targeting walleye, you’re either going to want a trolling rod, a spinning rod, or a basic jigging rod.
Let’s take a look at the difference between the three different types of rods.
As their name implies, trolling rods are meant to be used when trolling, which is the act of dragging baits or lures behind a moving boat.
If you’re planning on trolling for walleye, then you’re going to want to use a heavier setup than you would when fishing with a spinning or jigging rod. Generally, you’re also going to want to use a longer rod, which makes it easier to fight fish in deeper water, as well as looking for something with medium action and medium-heavy power.
In most cases, walleye like to spend their time in the deeper waters of larger lakes. Therefore, you’ll often be using larger crankbaits or deep-diving lures. In other words, you’ll often be putting a lot of strain on your rod, especially if you’re planning on using a downrigger.
With that said, if you’re planning on trolling for walleye, make sure that you’re using the right rod.
In the end, the truth is that you can pretty much use any fishing rod for trolling. But you’re better off using a rod that’s actually designed to be used for trolling. Otherwise, you risk damaging your rod, snapping your line, and potentially losing out on the catch of a lifetime!
Unlike traditional casting rods, a spinning rod has the reel mounted underneath the rod, with the line guides facing downward.
When using a spinning rod for targeting walleye, you’re going to want to use a setup that sits somewhere in the middle of a heavy setup and a light setup. So in other words, you’ll want to use a rod with a light to medium action and medium to fast action.
With a spinning rod, you’ll often find yourself using a variety of baits and lures, from lightweight spoons to heavier types of crankbaits. Therefore, the key to remember here is that you’re looking for a mid-range, versatile rod for spin fishing.
When spinning for walleye, you’re going to want to cast in deeper waters, especially where there is some form of structure or cover, which is exactly where walleye love to hide.
Check out: Top 10 Spinning Rods (Tested and Reviewed)
Jigging or Jig rods are typically used with large metal jigs, which you drop straight down vertically below your boat or from wherever you’re fishing, which will hopefully be over some type of structure holding plenty of walleye.
When it comes to jigging, the key is sensitivity. In fact, walleye are known for being very delicate when nibbling on lures and bait. Therefore, you’re going to want to use a shorter, fast action rod with ultralight, light, or medium power.
Also read: Best ultralight spinning rods
Now that you understand a bit more about the different types of rods that can be used for walleye fishing, let’s dive into my review of the 8 best walleye rods to purchase.
Keep in mind that the best rod for you is going to be determined by what type of fishing you plan on doing.
And with that said, let’s jump into my breakdown of walleye rods classed by overall best walleye rod, the best budget-friendly walleye rod, and the best value for a premium walleye rod.
Afterwards, I’ll finish up by going over 5 other walleye rods that would all make excellent additions to your collection. And then, I’ll leave you with a few important considerations to keep in mind when shopping for your next rod.
Also, don't forget to check out our walleye fishing 101 guide to maximize your catching chances.
Available in a 1 or 2-piece design, this rod can be purchased in lengths ranging from 5’9’’ and 7’6’’.
One thing that’s great about this walleye rod is that it has a “Hidden Handle” reel design, which allows for improved function and comfort over many similar walleye rods.
Fenwicks Elite Tech Walleye Rod has titanium frame guides, which are extremely lightweight and built durable to withstand all the walleye fishing you can throw at it. The rod also has a solid handle made with TAC and cork, which ensures grip, even when the handle gets wet.
Although you can use this rod however you want, it’s designed specifically for light and ultra-lightweight applications, such as getting out on the water and jigging for your next walleye!
Designed at the exact intersection of quality and value, KastKing WideEye rods are best suited for lightweight applications that require both sensitivity and power. In other words, KastKing’s WideEye rods are some of the best budget-friendly rods you can find for casting for walleye.
This rod is built with reliable Nano-Resin blanks, and on top of this, WideEye rods also feature Fuji tangle-free k-frame guides, making them ideal for younger anglers or those who are still new to the sport.
This KastKing WideEye fishing rod is also extremely lightweight and provides walleye-specific action, which increases your chances of a successful catch.
As the best premium rod in our list, the St. Croix Legend Tournament Walleye Rod features Advanced Reinforcing Technology (ART), and is made from carbon fibers, for a lightweight, yet extremely strong and durable fishing rod, capable of handling a battle with virtually any fish.
On top of this, the St. Croix Legend also features Integrated Poly-Curve (IPC) technology. This eliminates all transitional points along the rod, while also providing extremely smooth action and increased sensitivity.
Ideal for jigging, this 1-piece, 5’9’’ walleye rod is built for ultra-fast action and medium power.
Finally, this rod is also backed by a 15-year transferable warranty, making it an ideal purchase if you’re planning on fishing walleye for many years to come. Pair this with a good spinning reel and you're in for a treat!
Great for mid to long-range casting, this 7.6’’ Ugly Stik is sure to make an awesome addition to your arsenal of walleye tackle. It is designed for light to medium action and features stainless steel guides, which are extremely durable and won’t rust.
Backed by a 7 year rod warranty, the Ugly Stik also features a 2-ball bearing reel, an on/off bait clicker, and the company’s world-renown Ugly Stik clear tip design.
The next pick on my list is the St. Croix Eyecon Spinning Rod. It is made with premium quality SCII carbon fiber, giving it the perfect combination of strength, durability, and flexibility to help you reel in the catch of your life.
This spinning rod also features Kigan Master Hand 3D guides, which are slim and the perfect match for the rod’s aluminum-oxide rings and pure black frame.
Backed by a 5-year warranty, the rod’s handle is made with split-grip, premium-grade cork and has an EVA trim for added strength. And lastly, the St. Crois Eyecon rod also comes with a Fuji IPS reel seat with a black hood for protection and a touch of extra style as well.
Although this rod’s 8’6’’ length is the ideal length for catching larger species of fish, such as steelhead and salmon, the Shakespeare Elite from Ugly Stik can also be a versatile addition to your walleye tackle, and will allow you to troll through deeper waters and cover more water when casting with crankbaits and larger lures.
This rod is made using Ugly Tech Construction and added graphite, making it a lightweight rod, while also providing you with power and increased sensitivity. And as always, the Shakespeare Elite features Ugly Stik’s patented Clear Tip designed, which delivers added strength exactly where you want it.
Finally, this Ugly Stik has stainless steel guides for even more strength and durability, on top of that, it features a conventional-style reel seat with a cushioned stainless steel hood. If you opt for this model, remember to get a good spincast reel to pair it with.
Another stellar walleye rod from the Ugly Stik brand is the Tiger Elite Spinning rod, which is built with the brand’s renown Ugly Tech construction. But on top of this, the Tiger Elite spinning rod also features a fighting-length EVA handle with a contoured grip for added comfort while fishing for walleye.
While Ugly Stik’s Shakespeare Elite, which I mentioned above, is better for trolling and heavier operations, the Tiger Elite is designed specifically for jigging and bottom fishing. So in other words, this rod has very light action, but also provides you with heavy power to ensure that you’re able to hook, set,and land the big one.
The final contender on my list of best walleye fishing rods is Okuma’s Great Lakes Trolling rod, which features the extremely durable E-glass construction design for added blank strength.
The rod also has double footed aluminium oxide guides and comes with a stainless steel hooded reel seat. And on top of all this, the Great Lakes Trolling Rod is ideal for trolling for walleye due to its comfortable EVA foam grip for extra comfort.
Obviously, when you’re shopping for your next fishing rod, there’s much more to consider than just your budget or what other people think are the best premium rods in the industry.
So dependent on the type of fishing that you plan on doing, there are quite a few factors that you’ll need to consider in order to choose the best rod for the job.
Below, I’ll explain 4 of the most important factors to consider when shopping for your next walleye fishing rod.
Having the perfect combination of power and action (which I’ll explain below) is paramount in order to ensure that your lure and bait presentation are going to work properly once they’re in the water.
Sometimes referred to as rod weight, the power of a fishing rod is the amount of force needed in order to bend the rod. This is typically classified from ultra-light to ultra-heavy, where lighter rods bend easier than heavier rods.
Ultra-light rods are best used to catch smaller species of fish such as trout, bass, and pickerel. And on the other hand, ultra-heavy rods are best used for going after larger species in deeper waters or deep-sea fishing.
So if the power of a rod is how much force is needed to bend a rod, the action is where exactly along the rod the bend happens. Action is classed from “slow” action to “fast” action.
Slow action rods are usually going to bend nearer the reel and handle, which gives the rod more flexibility, as well as the ability to “whip” or snapback. Fast action rods are more sensitive, making them ideal for feeling the delicate bite of a walleye, while also allowing you to properly set the hook.
Slow action rods are better for fishing with slower baits or light lures.
On the other hand, a fast action rod is going to be more rigid and is going to bend towards the top third of the rod’s length. These rods are best used for throwing larger lures (using a Carolina rig, for instance) and heavier baits or when fishing in heavy cover when you might need to jerk your lure through thick vegetation to draw out your next catch.
It’s important to note that there are also other classes of in-between action rods, such as a medium-light, medium, and medium-heavy action rod, which tend to be more versatile fishing rods as they provide the best of both worlds.
The size or length of a fishing rod is measured from the rod’s tip to the end of the handle. This usually ranges from 6 to 12 feet and although it may not seem like it, can have a huge impact on your casting abilities.
In order to choose the best size for your specific needs, you’ll need to consider three things: the type of fishing you’re planning on doing, the species you want to target, and the environment you’ll be fishing in.
Typically, a good rod length for a beginner is around 6 or 7 feet. This is because shorter rods tend to be easier to cast and are best suited for casting short distances. Shorter rods are also great for “close combat” situations.
On the other hand, a longer rod will allow you to cast significantly farther, allowing you to cover more water or fish in deeper areas.
Generally, there’s not too much of a difference between 1-piece and 2-piece fishing rods.
The main difference is that a 2-piece rod can be taken down into two separate pieces, making it easier to transport and store when you’re not using it.
On the other hand, a 1-piece rod will give you some peace of mind knowing that your rod isn’t ever going to come apart while casting. And at the same time, a 1-piece rod might be better for younger fishermen or beginners since there’s less of a chance of getting your line tangled up than when dismounting the rod for storage.
Also read: Best fishing backpacks
As you know, not every fishing rod is going to be ideal for catching walleye in every situation.
And at the same time, not every walleye rod is going to be the best choice for you.
This is exactly why it’s important to consider the type of fishing that you plan on doing, as well as your own personal preferences before dishing out your hard-earned money on your next walleye rod.
But either way, whether you’re new to the sport or you’ve been at it for years, walleye fishing can prove to be an extremely fun, challenging and rewarding activity.
So what are you waiting for?
Get out there and start fishing!