8 Best Fishing Rods for Walleye + Buying Guide

Updated on January 25, 2023 by
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The best fishing rods for walleye are 7 feet long, medium power, and fast action, depending on the style of walleye fishing you will be doing.

There are different ways you can fish walleyes. Your choice of fishing rod for Walleye depends entirely on the method you want to use for fishing. Each method is useful in a specific set of conditions such as techniques, locations, and setup.

In this post, I am going to present you with the Fishing Rods for Walleye Buying Guide. This should be useful to overcome any hurdle in fishing walleyes. All of this information is based on my own insights from decades of fishing. I have also written a guide into the top spinning rods if you want a versatile option that can catch multiple species.

Best Trolling Rod
Fenwick Elite Spinning Rod

Fenwick Elite Spinning Rod

  • Fast and Extra-Fast Action
  • Medium-Light Power
  • 6'6" Length
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Best Spinning Rod
Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Rod

Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Rod

  • Strong, yet balanced graphite and fiberglass construction
  • Durable one-piece stainless steel guides
  • 7-year warranty
  • Comfortable EVA handle
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Best Jigging Rod
Cadence CR5 Spinning Rod

Cadence CR5 Spinning Rod

  • Cork and EVA Handle
  • Fuji Reel Seat
  • Stainless Steel Guides
  • Lightweight and Strong
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How We Rate Products

I thoroughly review all products to measure their performance, durability, and value for money. This is done through bench and field testing to check how the product performs. This testing results in an overall score that I give to all products. All metrics are scored out of 5.


The performance score is how well this product fulfills its primary purpose. Does it have all the features and optional extras you need to catch the target species? We also interview expert anglers on their experience to build a broader and more comprehensive view on the performance under multiple conditions.

  • Test 1: Confirm that the max drag meets the manufacturer’s specifications.
  • Test 2: Test the maximum casting distance using a 1.0-ounce lure.
  • Test 3: Test the accuracy by casting 10 times into a 3 ft diameter circle at 30 yards.
  • Test 4: Check the versatility and the ability to handle multiple uses by field testing with 3 different lures and baits.


Durability refers to how long the product will continue functioning. I twist, bend, and break all the products to check their longevity. This score is for the materials of construction, the quality of the workmanship, and the servicing requirements. There are also bonus points for manufacturers’ warranty.

For products that we can’t test for long enough, we also consult with experts who have been using them for multiple decades to judge their longevity.

  • Test 5: Pull it apart to check the grease and oil levels, how difficult it is to maintain, and whether any sand or salt has deposited after use in saltwater.

Value for Money

The final aspect of the scoring system is the price or, more specifically, the value for money. Value for money is a comparison against the closest alternative products, both by the same manufacturer and other brands.

Overall Score

Finally, I average the three scores of performance, durability, and value for money to give the overall score of each product reviewed.

To see more details, please read the complete guide on how we test and evaluate fishing products.

1. Fenwicks Elite – Best Trolling Rod for Walleye

Trolling for Walleyes is usually done deep in large lakes. For baits, crankbaits are used that resemble deep-diving species of minnow. To get the trolling depth right, you will need one of the following: 

  • Weight
  • Down-rigger
  • Plano board

All of these tend to strain the rod. Down-rigger, for example, can make the rod bend for hours. But if you are trolling in shallow waters, you don’t need to use any kind of weight, no down-rigger at all. The crankbait’s lip might need to be adjusted for shallower waters. You can also adjust the diving depth by changing the boat speed.

Trolling next to the weed beds can be more productive and it would not require a powerful walleye setup as you may in case of trolling. If your troll-fishing involves the top 10-15 feet of water, you can even fish with a medium power spinning setup. In this case, you will not need a dedicated trolling rod for walleyes.

Even in the shallow waters, you can use trolling tackle but there is no need to use whatever you use to get it at a depth. 

  • Length – 6’6″
  • Power – Medium Light
  • Action – Fast and Extra Fast

2. Cadence CR5 – Best Jigging Rod for Walleye

Jigging is an equally popular method for catching walleyes. A good-quality jigging rod should be highly sensitive at the tip. This would ensure you get prompt feedback on what’s going on at the hook.

The feedback is necessary to choose the right setting for the hook. For this reason, you need a rod with medium power but with fast action. 

When you are using the jigging method, you need to know precisely what’s happening to the jigs. A fishing line with low stretch and fast action features is, therefore, necessary.

  • Length – 6’6″
  • Power – Medium
  • Action – Fast
Best Jigging Rod
Cadence CR5 Spinning Rod
8.9/10Our Score
  • Cork and EVA Handle
  • Fuji Reel Seat
  • Stainless Steel Guides
  • Lightweight and Strong


  • The Rod Butt Can Be Too Long and Get in the Way

3. Ugly Stik GX2 – Best Spinning Rod for Walleye

Although trolling and jigging are more popular ways of catching walleyes, spinning can prove to be the most productive method. A spinning setup requires a rod with light to medium power, and medium to fast action. 

With a spinning setup, you can throw lighter lures to a greater distance. Baitcasters do not allow the lures to go lighter beyond a point, not so with spinning.

A heavier spinning rod can be used for light trolling. This means spinning setup can be used for all three methods of walleye fishing – trolling, spinning, and jigging. For jigging, however, you may need a lighter line in a spar spool.

  • Length – 6’6″
  • Power – Medium
  • Action – Fast
  • Solid Construction Yet Lightweight
  • Comfortable EVA Handle
  • Graphite and Fiberglass Combination
  • Stainless Steel Guides
  • The Handle Can Be Too Thin for Large Hands

4. Tica Libra Spinning Rod

This spinning rod by Tica is a seven foot graphite rod with a fast action and medium power that almost perfectly fits the description of the ideal walleye rod. It has extreme sensitivity so you can feel every strike.

The graphite also has great strength for larger fish and even trollingh.

It comes with a non-slip cork handle as well as stainless steel guides.

  • Length – 7’0″
  • Power – Medium
  • Action – Fast
Tica SMHA Libra Series Trout, Bass, & Walleye Spinning Rods
8.5/10Our Score
  • Extremely Sensitive to Feel Every Strike
  • Non-Slip Cork Handle
  • Stainless Steel Guides
  • Lightweight Graphite Material
  • Graphite Is More Vulnerable to Shattering

5. KastKing WideEye Spinning Rod

This rod by KastKing suits walleye fishing – even its colors match that of a walleye. It is made with Toray IM9 graphite to give lightweight feel and extra sensitivity that is ideal for walleye. It has fuji line guides and reel seats which is an indicator of high quality construction.

The handle is made from high-quality AAA cork handle with an EVA butt.

  • Length – 6’8″
  • Power – Medium Light
  • Action – Fast
KastKing WideEye Spinning Rod
7.8/10Our Score
  • High-Grade AAA Cork Handle
  • EVA Butt
  • Lightweight Toray IM9 Graphite
  • Fuji Line Guides and Reel Seats
  • The Tip Isn't as Durable

6. St Croix Eyecon Spinning Rod

The St Croix Eyecon is specifically designed for Walleye fishing. This is a top quality rod and should be seriously considered as an option. It is made from Premium quality SCII graphite which makes it very lightweight to fish with while also having the strength to handle any walleye you hook.

The other components are also extremely high quality with fuji reel seats, Kigan 3D guides, aluminum oxide rigs, and cork handle with EVA trim.

The graphite makes its action very fast with high sensitivity so you can feel strikes more easily.

If you have the budget then give this rod a closer look.

  • Length – 6’3″
  • Power – Medium
  • Action – Fast
  • Premium SCII Graphite
  • Kigan 3D Guides
  • Aluminum Oxide Rigs
  • Cork Handle with EVA Trim
  • More Expensive Than Alternatives

7. Shimano Clarus Fishing Rod

The Shimano Clarus is a two-piece rod which gives much better portability. This rod is very well built, as all Shimano products are, and is durable and robust. It can be on the heavy side when targeting small walleye species.

The guides are made from titanium oxide for better durability and lower friction leading to further casting distances.

The Clarus also has a great grip which is made from an anti-slip material giving the angler better control and comfort.

This is a versatile rod and you can use it to catch many different species as well as walleye.

  • Length – 6’6″
  • Power – Medium
  • Action – Fast
Shimano Clarus Spinning Rod
7.2/10Our Score
  • Titanium Oxide Guides
  • Anti-Slip Grip Material
  • Durable and Robust Design
  • On the Heavy Side for Walleye

8. St Croix Legend Fishing Rod

The St Croix Legend is a premium walleye rod, and if you have the budget for it then go for it. It is made from carbon fiber with Advanced Reinforcing Technology. This makes it a lightweight yet strong and durable rod. It also featured Integrated Poly-Curve technology with eliminated the transitional points on the rod – this gives it improved sensitivity.

This is shorter than the other rods I have considered at 5’9″ but has a medium power and extra fast action.

It also has a 15 year warranty so you can sleep easy.

  • Length – 5’9″
  • Power – Medium
  • Action – Extra Fast
St. Croix Legend X Spinning Rod
8.5/10Our Score
  • 15-Year Warranty
  • Carbon Fiber with Advanced Reinforcing Technology
  • Integrated Poly-Curve Technology
  • Shorter Rod at 5'9"

Walleye Fishing Rod Buying Guide

The three the most popular ways of fishing walleye are:

  • Trolling
  • Jigging
  • Spinning

Each of these methods of fishing needs a different tackle configuration and setup. The difference lies in the sensitivity with which the rod can function in a given set of conditions.

While trolling rods are the least sensitive, spinning rods fall in the middle range and the jigging rods are always the most sensitive.

Trolling Rods

In contrast to spinning and jigging, in the trolling method of fishing for walleyes, you need a heavier setup. Trolling brings a lot of pressure to your gear. This is more so if you use a heavy lead core fishing line or planer boards to ensure you reach deep enough.

A trolling setup will require a longer rod, medium action, and a medium to heavy power. A heavier spinning rod can work well for trolling but you can also find rods that are designed to be used in troll-fishing.

Spinning Rods

Spinning rods are extremely versatile and can also be used when trolling. In contrast to other fishing rods, it’s not as heavy as trolling rods and not as light as jigging rods. In terms of action, it’s medium to fast and in terms of power, it’s light to medium.

The advantage of spinning rods is that it allows you to cast a number of different lures. Depending on where you are fishing, you can use Rapala, crankbaits, or even heavier spinners.

A good spinning rod for catching walleyes is neither ultralight nor too heavy but a medium heavy with most other settings in the medium range. The trick is in having a rod that’s versatile, not too light nor too heavy.

Jigging Rods

The point of having a jigging rod relates to the extreme sensitivity it offers. This kind of rods can be 6’6″ or it can be extended up to 7 feet as well. But it must have fast action and light to medium power.

When the tackle is lighter, it offers more sensitivity. If you have a sensitive rod, you can use small jigs heads in vertical jigging. The tips will give much more feedback. 

I have discussed the basic features required in different kinds of fishing rods for fishing walleyes. Now, let’s have a closer and more detailed look at each type of these rods.

Spending more money on the rod is not always right. In trolling and spinning methods of fishing, the reel plays a more important role so you should focus on buying a more robust reel than a pricy rod.

A good walleye fishing rod may not cost you much. But different fishing locations will make you buy different rods, and soon you will have quite a few of them.

The situation, however, changes completely when you are using jigging for walleyes. In this case, the rod assumes more significance than the reel. As a jigging rod is lightweight, a heavy reel can affect its balance, which in turn can affect how you are jigging. 

Rod Power

The power of a rod describes how stiff it is, and is an indicator of the backbone of the rod. This comes from extra heavy to extra light.

For walleye, you will generally want a Medium Light to a Medium Heavy power range depending on the size and type of fishing you are going to do.

However, different types of fishing require different power, for example if you are trolling then the pressure of the strike will be higher and you may want to consider a higher power rod to compensate. For walleye trolling this would be medium rod power.

Rod Action

The action describes how flexible a rod is, particularly around the tip. This is described from extra fast to slow. A slow action rod will flex uniformly from the base to the tip while a fast action it will only flex at the tip. This gives more sensitivity so that you can feel a fish strike more quickly.

For walleye fishing have a fast action rod is more desirable. This tip allows you to present your lure with a more attractive movement and you can strike early with a nibble.

Fishing Rod Action
Source: TailoredTackle.com

Material of Construction

Most fishing rods are made from either carbon fiber or graphite. Both are acceptable but have their own pros and cons.

Graphite rods are lighter and more sensitive, but they are more expensive and less robust.

Carbon fiber rods are heavier and most robust but don’t have the same flexibility or sensitivity.

For walleye, I would prefer a graphite rod but carbon fiber will certainly work as well.


Most walleye fishing rods are between 6’0″ and 7’0″, although this depends on how you are going to be fishing. If you are going for trolling from a boat then you can go with a shorter rod.

This length gives good leverage when live baiting to get a good hook set when striking.

My recommendation is to go for a rod between 6’6″ and 7’0″.

Final Thoughts

The perfect fishing rod for walleyes depends on the methods you choose to do the fishing. And, your selection of the method depends on the fishing conditions such as the depth and techniques.

Based on these factors, I analyzed the best fishing rod options that I have for walleyes. To be precise, I checked out when trolling, jigging, and spinning setups can work best. As per this analysis, I found that spinning rods offer more versatility while trolling and jigging can be more useful in circumstances that favor them.

Photo of author

Russ Egan

Russ is an avid fisherman. He has fished all over the world for more than two decades, primarily for saltwater game fish but also for local trophy fish. Russ writes reviews for all of his fishing gear to help others achieve their own fishing goals. There is nothing I prefer than heading down to my local tackle store, buying the latest fishing reel, and taking it to the water to test. My favorite reel is a Shimano Curado Baitcaster. My dream is to catch a Black Marlin.