Best Walleye Fishing Rods in 2021

Everyone loves catching walleye because you can do this in many different ways. However, you need a specific rod to achieve the best results in the shortest period.

We tested a few walleye rods and based on our results, the Ugly Stik Elite takes the win. But, there are other walleye rods as well if this one doesn’t suit your needs.

For example, the St. Croix Legend Tournament and KastKing Crixus rods are also worth your attention.

Stay tuned for more on the best walleye rods and how to pick one.

Best Overall

Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Fishing Rod

4.6/5
Best for Beginners

St Croix Legend Tournament Walleye

4.5/5
Best by Budget

KastKing Crixus Fishing Rods

4.5/5

Best Walleye Rod Product Reviews

  1. Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Fishing Rod
  2. St Croix Legend Tournament Walleye
  3. KastKing Crixus Fishing Rods
  4. St. Croix Rods Eyecon Spinning Rod
  5. Cadence Spinning Rod CR5
  6. KastKing WideEye Walleye Fishing Rods
  7. Tica WMVA Bass and Walleye Casting Fishing Rod Series
  8. Shimano Clarus Spinning Fishing Rods

Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Fishing Rod

Ugly Stik Elite is a lightweight but strong walleye rod. It has a line rating of 8-17 pounds and an Ugly Tech construction with graphite and fiberglass.

This product is a one-piece, but a two-piece version is also available for easier portability. Both versions have one-piece Ugly Tuff stainless steel guides to eliminate pop-outs and increase the overall durability.

Plus, this one has an exposed blank-style reel seat and cushioned hoods also made from stainless steel. It comes with premium cork grips that remain comfortable even when wet.

The reel seat is small for most reels, but its eyelets are perfect for braided lines. Additionally, the Ugly Stik’s clear tip design is for increased strength and durability.

It has a good backbone, handling many different species with all kinds of baits.

Standout Features:

Stainless steel guides

The exposed blank-style reel seat

Clear tip included

St Croix Legend Tournament Walleye

This St. Croix rod is made specifically for walleye fishing. It features the brand’s unique Advanced Reinforcing Technology (ART), which includes carbon fiber. As a result, it’s strong and more durable, but still not too heavy or wide.

The St. Croix utilizes the Integrated Poly Curve Tooling Technology, which is meant to increase its sensitivity and strength even more.

This Walleye rod features Fuji K-series tangle-free guides and alxonite rings. These have corrosion-resistant metal frames for added longevity and smooth performance.

It includes a Kigan hook keeper and machined-aluminum wind check. Plus, the entire blank is coated with two coats of slow-curing Flex-Coat finish.

Keep in mind this one comes with a 15-year warranty from the manufacturer.

Standout Features:

Flex-Coat finish

Fuji-K hardware

15-year warranty

KastKing Crixus Fishing Rods

This KastKing has a powerful but sensitive IM6 graphite blank. You can choose a length between 5’ and 7’6’’, depending on your needs and preferences.

What stands out the most is the SuperPolymer handle that’s slip-resistant, comfortable, and durable. It allows maximum control and comfort even after hours of fishing in different conditions.

Plus, this one has a split rear handle and EVA fighting butt. It comes with stainless steel guides with zirconium oxide rings for smooth and long casts. And it works with monofilament, braided, or fluorocarbon lines.

Apart from several length options, you can also pick between 20 action and power combinations. This makes the Crixus ideal for walleye, bass, catfish, and many more species in saltwater and freshwater.

One thing to keep in mind is that this is a two-piece rod. Although a one-piece version doesn’t exist, the two-piece one will work just fine thanks to the Power Transition System technology.

Standout Features:

Long-lasting handles

Stainless steel guides

Durable graphite blank

St. Croix Rods Eyecon Spinning Rod

This St. Croix features a premium SCII graphite construction. It’s high-quality, durable, and affordable, which makes it great for beginners and experienced anglers.

The mid-modulus graphite fiber has a high strain rate, which makes it easier to fight heavy fish. In addition, it comes with a split-grip made from premium cork and EVA foam.

This ensures a solid grip that doesn’t become slippery even when wet. Plus, it has Kigan Master 3D guides and aluminum-oxide rings with black frames. This allows the line to run smoothly and without breaking.

The Fuji IPS reel seat has a black hood and is easy to use. It also comes with a Kigan hook-keeper and two coats of Flex-Coat finish.

It’s a 6’6’’ long one-piece rod with fast action and 4-10lbs line weight. And, it’s backed by a 5-year warranty from the manufacturer.

Standout Features:

Comfortable cork handles

Technique-specific for walleye fishing

SCII carbon blank

Cadence Spinning Rod CR5

This Cadence spinning rod has a 30-ton carbon fiber blank. You can choose between one-piece and two-piece options made from the same materials. Both versions are lightweight, durable, and sensitive, although the two-piece is slightly easier to travel with.

Thanks to its durable rod, the CR5 performs well in different conditions. It does an excellent job of catching walleye, redfish, bass, and trout.

It also has SiC guides with stainless steel frames and a Fuji reel seat for comfort and smooth performance. Plus, the blank is wrapped in a carbon vail, ensuring more durability and resistance when fighting heavier fish.

It’s a versatile rod since you can also choose between two handle configurations. It’s either a full or split grip made from EVA and premium cork for maximum comfort and control.

Standout Features:

High-performance carbon fiber blank

Two-handle configurations available

Comfortable Fuji reel seat

KastKing WideEye Walleye Fishing Rods

KastKing WideEye is made specifically for jigging and rigging for walleye. It’s a 6’8’’ spinning rod built to transmit light taps and bites to your hand.

The most notable thing here is the Toray IM9, 64-million modulus graphite blank. It’s made as a single piece but has incredible strength and power to handle all kinds of fish.

Another thing worth noting is the split rear handle that’s among the most comfortable designs. This one also has Fuji line guides and a comfortable reel seat, allowing smooth performance the majority of the time.

It’s strong enough to handle different conditions, making it easy to retrieve heavy walleye without too much fight. At first glance, you’ll notice how lightweight and balanced it feels in your hands.

However, don’t let this trick you into thinking it’s not powerful enough. It just goes to show that the blank is comfortable to hold for hours without causing arm fatigue.

Standout Features:

AAA cork handle

EVA fighting butt

Strong but balanced blank

Tica WMVA Bass and Walleye Casting Fishing Rod Series

Tica WMVA is meant for bass and walleye, thanks to its durability and sensitivity. It’s made from 40T high-modulus graphite to resist frequent use in variable conditions.

The blank is lightweight and sensitive but still has enough backbone and durability to handle walleye and other similar fish. You can choose between several length options, all of which are heavy-action.

This one comes with Fuji Alconite ring guides, allowing smooth performance without breaking the line. On top of that, it has a unique graphite trigger reel seat for added sensitivity and ease of use.

What stands out the most is its versatility. Its construction and features make it suitable for all kinds of fish, big swimbaits, frogs, and flipping baits.

The telescopic design makes it easy to travel with since you can fold it into a more compact size. The non-slip cork handle and stainless steel hook keeper are another two useful features worth mentioning.

Standout Features:

Fuji Alconite ring guides

40T graphite construction

Comfortable cork handle

Shimano Clarus Spinning Fishing Rods

This is a two-piece rod that’s easy to use and travel with. Much like all Shimano products, it’s well-built and durable, so you can expect it to last a long time.

However, the first thing you’ll notice is that this walleye spinning rod is on the heavier side. It can be a bit too heavy when catching small walleye species, but this is a matter of preference and your skillset.

It comes with titanium oxide guides ideal for low-friction line performance. This is especially useful when casting long distances as the guides are unlikely to tear the line.

Another thing worth mentioning is the G Alpha anti-slip grip, allowing maximum comfort and control when fighting the fish. It works excellent with walleye, but you can also target other similar species.

The Shimano custom reel seat improves the overall ease of use and performance.

Standout Features:

High-modulus graphite blank

Titanium oxide guides

Many power and length options

Different Types of Walleye Fishing Rods

As you probably noticed, the market offers several different types of walleye rods. Although all the types have the same purpose, some are easier to use than others.

Plus, some types of walleye rods are more versatile, allowing you to catch other species. Here are the three most popular types used for walleye fishing.

Trolling Rod for Walleye

These are made specifically for dragging your lures and baits behind a moving boat. The technique is known as trolling and is highly popular among anglers worldwide.

If you’re interested in trolling for walleye, you’ll need a heavier rod than the one you’d use for jigging or spinning. But, it should also be longer, so it’s easier to fight the fish hiding in deeper water. And, make sure it has medium to medium-heavy action.

Walleye is the type of fish you’ll find in deeper waters. So, you’ll need deep-diving lures and large crankbaits that can put quite a strain on your rod.

Although you can probably go by with any rod, it’s always best to use one specifically made for trolling. If not, you’re risking snapping the line, damaging the rod, and of course, losing the catch.

Walleye Spinning Rods

A spinning rod has its reel mounted under the rod and downward-facing guides. For walleye, you want a rod that’s between light and heavy. In other words, look for a light-to-medium action and medium-to-fast action.

Spinning rods can handle plenty of different baits and lures like heavy crankbaits and lightweight spoons. However, you should focus on finding a versatile, mid-range spinning rod.

As we said, you want to cast in deeper waters when targeting walleye, more so if there’s a dense cover. And for this, you need a spinning rod designed specifically to handle these conditions.

Jigging Rods for Walleye

Jigging rods are used with metal jigs you drop vertically. The jigs are often heavy, which makes them easy to drop straight below your boat.

With jigging, you want to focus on sensitivity because walleye are known for their light nibble. It helps to have a fast-action rod with light, ultralight, or medium power. It should be on the shorter side because these are easier to perform vertical casts with.

How to Choose the Best Pole for Walleye Fishing

Finding the best walleye rod doesn’t have to be complicated. A few factors can help you make the best decision so that you’re certain your rod of choice fits the job.

Here’s what you should think about:

Type of Walleye Rods

Firstly, you’ll have to choose between spinning and baitcasting rods. Spinning ones are perfect for beginners who use light lures.

On the other hand, experienced anglers prefer using baitcasting rods that work better with heavy baits. You can also pick between several technique-specific walleye fishing rods like rigging, jigging, and trolling rods.

Which type you’ll choose often depends on how you plan on catching walleye. A great jigging rod you can use for walleye should be sensitive and will allow you to feel even the slightest nibble.

If not, a walleye will suck in the lure and spit it right back out before you know it. On the other hand, a trolling rod is more robust and able to handle more stress when banging, bending, and snagging.

Power

The power rating tells how stiff the rod is and how much pressure causes it to flex. It ranges from extra-heavy, heavy, medium-heavy, medium, medium-light, light, and ultra-light.

Again, the power rating you’ll choose is best determined by the fishing technique you’re using. In most cases, trolling is the most demanding because the rod is meant to handle a lot of stress.

This is where you want a medium or medium-to-heavy power.

On the other hand, you may want to consider a medium-light to medium power if you’re into vertical jigging for walleye. These have a more sensitive tip but enough backbone to retrieve the fish.

Action

Action determines how flexible a rod is. It can be extra-fast, fast, moderate, and slow. Every rod bends under pressure, but a fast one bends at the tip, while a slow one bends closer to the handle.

Flexibility and sensitivity are the two most critical things for walleye jigging. But, what makes one stand out is the fast or extra-fast tip.

It helps to present the jig in a way that will attract walleyes, allowing you to feel even the most subtle strike. With live baits, you need a more flexible pole that has fast or medium action.

However, trolling doesn’t require high-level sensitivity. Instead, look for shock absorption from a fast or moderate action rod.

Durability

Durability is always a major concern when buying a rod for any fish and technique. So, it’s no different when purchasing one for walleye.

Cheaper rods are often not as durable as more expensive ones. However, the price doesn’t always indicate quality, so make sure to check other factors as well.

In most cases, what determines the durability are the materials used. Stronger materials will last a long time as they can take on quite a beating.

However, you should also think about the overall quality of manufacturing. So, think about brand reputation and customer reviews.

Materials

Walleye fishing rods are made from either graphite or carbon fiber. These have similar qualities, and that’s sensitivity, lightness, and strength.

As we said, sensitivity is critical regardless of whether you’re into jigging or rigging. This is where we recommend that you want to stick with carbon fiber or graphite rod.

You need something stronger if you’re into trolling, so you might want to go for a fiberglass one. Although it’s not the best for sensitivity, it’s among the best choices for toughness and durability.

Walleye Fishing Rod Length

Rod length is where you have a bit more liberty to pick what suits your needs. In other words, there is no one single length that would work.

Budget options are usually 7’ long, but those made for walleye go from 5’9’’ to 8’. It’s hard to tell which length you should go for since that typically depends on how you intend to catch walleye.

For jigging, a walleye fishing rod length should go in-between 5’9’’ and 6’6’’ pole. In this case, the short distance between your hand and the tip makes it easier to detect strikes.

With bait rigging, you may want to look for a 7’ to 7’6’’ walleye fishing pole. However, for trolling, you should focus on something longer that’s between 7’10’’ and 10’.

Line Weight

The first thing you should think about is the pound test line you’re using for walleye fishing. In most cases, you can go for an 8-12lb test line.

However, you want to make sure your rod can work with this line weight. If you’re into trolling, you’ll need a heavier line and, with that, a more heavy-duty rod that can handle the line weight.

Size of Walleye Fishing Pole

We measure the size of a rod from the tip to the end of the handle. In most cases, this is between 6 and 12 feet.

The size of your rod has a significant impact on your casting abilities, which you should take into consideration.

First, think about the fishing technique you’ll use to catch walleye. And, think about if walleye is the only species you’re after, or you want to target other fish.

Finally, consider the environment you’re in. Beginners usually benefit from a 6’ or 7’ long rod because these are easier to cast.

However, you may want a longer one if you’re interested in casting farther and covering more water.

Ease of Use

You’ll likely spend hours fishing for walleye once you’re on location. So, make sure your rod is comfortable and easy to use in the specific conditions you’re fishing in.

Look for one that’s crafted specifically for the fishing technique you’re using. It should have a series of features to make walleye fishing easier, even if you’re doing it for hours at a time.

And, don’t forget to consider how comfortable it is since comfort has a huge impact on the ease of use.

FAQ

Why Do I Need a Rod Specialized for Walleye?

As mentioned, you can catch walleye with many different rods, but only a specifically made one will make the process easier.

Walleye rods are built to help you catch this species. They have all the right features, action, length, and everything else playing in your favor.

Final Thoughts on The Best Walleye Rods

At this point, you probably found your favorite walleye rod. Hopefully, the information we shared helped you make this decision.

If you still can’t make up your mind, try going back to some of the most critical buying factors before reconsidering these rods.