The Maumee River riverbed is unlike any other riverbed we have had the pleasure of fishing. It is composed of rock; shale and slate. Perfect hard surface for walleye to spawn on. See our riverbed maps for incredible detail.

Even more unique is the amount of public access to this area. The area where the walleye spawn is almost entirely fully accessible by land (and a little by boat). Almost the entire stretch from the Maple Street area to the Jerome Road Rapids is all public property (mostly parks) and can be fished. That area is the shallow, rocky bottom area that the walleye love to spawn on.

Further, the walleye have access to high flow water currents and slow eddys as well as deep channels and holes to hide in and grab shad, minnows, debris, and other food to nourish themselves. The huge amount of tributaries that feed into the Maumee bring in tons of food. Walleye can sit near the underwater currents and pick off food.

Fishing for walleye in this type of environment and with this type of riverbed architecture is very difficult, but also very rewarding. Your usual bass fishing techniques or lake walleye fishing techniques will not work. So pay close attention.

Cast Often
You need to cast and cast often. You will lose a lot of gear and equipment to the rocky bottom. You will snag and break off more than you imagine. Bring lots of weights, twister tails, and jig heads. Look at our gear section to find out ways to reduce or eliminate snag by choosing proper equipment, proper line, proper knots. Try different areas and move quickly from area to area. If you’ve cast 15-20 times in one area and don’t get any bites, move on. Walleye move in schools and if you aren’t getting bites, the schools are somewhere else. Look at our big map to figure out which areas you can fish and which areas work better under different conditions.

Cast directly in front of you or just slightly upstream of yourself. Flip your bail and reel in your line till it’s taught. Then leave it alone. Once you can feel your sinker on the bottom, let it drift downstream. You will feel every scrape of the shale on your braided line and rod tip. Any time there is a slight pause or pull, set your hook. You either fell into a hole, or got a bite. It’s very subtle.

Sometimes your rig will keep falling into the same hole. Help this out by lowering your rod tip or reverse reeling to allow a little more line out.

If you have been getting a lot of bites, but they always seem to be throwing your jig after a brief fight, then you need to downsize your lures. We normally recommend 3 inch twister tails, you would have to go down to 2 inch. That’ll prevent the missed bites and get better hook sets.

Move On Quickly
Don’t stay in one area. If you aren’t getting bites after 15-20 casts. Move on to the next area. Walleye are in schools and huddle together. If they aren’t biting, they aren’t there. Or are just not in the mood and you may have to come back a different day or different time of day. At the break of dawn seems to be the most productive.

When to fish?
Once the ice melts and you can see the river, there are walleye in it. Of course, there are some walleye that live in the river year round, so there are always walleye in there.

The walleye are in the river in full spawn mode once the water temperature is above 40 degrees.  And when it’s between 42-46 degrees is the best. But realistically anytime the water temperature is 40-50 degrees, you can catch walleye. When the river gets above 52 and stays that high, the White Bass move in and Walleye season is considered over.

You are mainly looking at March 15 through April 30th as the prime time walleye fishing time. The last week of March through the second week of April are your main weeks.

Of course, there are some years where the temperatures hit 40 degrees a lot sooner. It has happened in mid February and sometimes even January. But this never leads to an early walleye run, because there aren’t enough daylight hours or not enough water current. Walleye need water temperatures 42-46 degrees, they need enough daylight hours to trigger the spawn, and they need water current. You can easily find the Maumee River water temperatures with a quick Google search.


Walleye don’t inhale your bait and run off with it. They are not bass. They are cold, conserving energy for spawning, and slow. They usually take in your bait, taste it, feel it, and then decide if they want to swallow it. They may also spit it out right away if they detect something is not right. You might not feel the very subtle inhalation or bite as the walleye takes it in to taste and feel it.

Using a mono or fluoro leader softens the feel of the rig. If a walleye bites, and feels a lot of resistance and can feel the resistance of your weight and main line, it will spit it out quickly. This is the same reason why heavy lead jigs went out of favor. When walleye inhale a heavy lead jig head, they can tell right away that it doesn’t feel right. It’s too heavy, too much resistance and it’s too hard.

Sometimes however, you will feel a big bite and a side to side head shake. Set your hook and get them in quickly.

Because the bites can be so subtle, you may have better luck randomly raising your rod and always be setting hooks to help increase your chances. One technique that seems to work is that you are reeling in and feeling every rock on the bottom, then there is a pause where you don’t feel the bottom any more. You either fell into a deep hole, or a walleye has taken your bait. Set quickly, because that weight will tug back on your jig and they walleye will figure it out quickly.

If you have been getting a lot of bites, but they always seem to be throwing your jig after a brief fight, then you need to downsize your lures. We normally recommend 3 inch twister tails, you would have to go down to 2 inch. That’ll prevent the missed bites and get better hook sets.

Depending on water current you will use weights from 1/4 oz up to 1 oz for most areas. You need to pick a weight that’ll get to the bottom and slowly drift downstream. When the river is between 582-584 feet above sea level, you are mainly going to use 3/4 oz weights for most high flow areas (further upstream). When the water level drops into the 581 or less, you are looking at weights around 1/4 to 1/2 oz. The way to know you have the right weight, is that you will start to feel the bottom on your braided line, every nook and cranny transmits to your rod and it keep drifting downstream slowly. If it just sits there, your weight is too heavy. If it goes downstream too quickly and you don’t feel the bottom, you need a heavier weight. See our gear section.

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