​What Are the Best Lures for Walleyes? Top 5 Crankbaits for Targeting Walleye Trolling

By: Doug Straub

October 18, 2022

Trolling crankbaits is a preferred method for catching walleyes across the country. Crankbaits are undoubtedly one of the best lures for walleye on the planet and can be trolled in many different ways. You can use diving baits and fish them off monofilament. To get deeper or give a different presentation, you can fish them off lead core. If you're fishing Lake Erie during the summer months, you can park shallow diving crankbaits behind dipsy divers. Regardless of the method, crankbaits catch walleyes and lots of them.

#1 Bandit Walleye Deep Divers

You’ll be hard-pressed to find serious walleye anglers that don’t have this bait in their tackle box. This bait has been around a long time but really gained popularity around 2012. I’m often asked, “why does this bait outperform the rest?” In my opinion, Bandit uses big rattles that create a hard “knocking” sound. Pair this unique feature with a plethora of walleye-catching colors and you have a recipe for one of the best walleye lures and a box full of walleyes. This bait has a max diving depth of approximately 27 ft. and will catch walleyes in all parts of the country, making it arguably the best lure for walleye trolling on the market.

Just a few of the many color options available in the Bandit Walleye Deep Diver assortment

#2 Rapala Down Deep Husky Jerk

This bait is one of the OG’s of walleye baits, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t still one of the best walleye lures. It’s been around a long time and is one of the best lures to catch walleye in cold weather conditions. This bait suspends and when trolled slow has a great action and will also suspend “in the zone” when making a turn, oftentimes triggering a strike from a big donkey. This bait is responsible for many big fat hen walleyes during the spawning season.

FishUSA Pro Staff Tony Roach with a beautiful walleye taken on a Purple Clown colored Deep Down Husky Jerk

#3 Salmo Floating Hornet Crankbaits

Those that fish hornets, just know. This is a staple bait in the midwest region and is a proven fish catcher. This bait is made from a proprietary foam body giving the bait a unique action and making them very good lures for walleye. This bait has a wire through construction and has typical Salmo durability expectations. These walleye lures get bumped down a few spots from the top because of a smaller color selection but don't worry, FishUSA has a few exclusive colors to help the eye!

FishUSA Exclusive Salmo Floating Hornet colors Dead Bread (front and back) and Moldy Muffin (middle)

#4 Rapala Deep Tail Dancer

The Tail Dancer is another staple in the world of walleye fishing lures. This bait is constructed out of balsa giving a unique action to the bait. This bait dives deep…..super deep……up to 30ft. That’s much deeper than some other very good walleye lures can reach. This crankbait is popular across the country but really shines on Lake Erie when fishing deep in the water column. Rapala keeps a tight color assortment but they have some proven fish catchers that every walleye angler should have.

A Rapala Deep Tail Dancer in Clown Flash color. That massive bill is what allows the bait to dive to significant depths

#5. Rapala Scatter Rap Minnow

Here’s the newbie that’s making waves amongst the walleye crowd. This bait hasn’t been around long but it’s already ranked up there with some of the best fishing lures for walleye. It has a unique shape and design that allows the bait to have a searching action, triggering strikes from hungry walleyes. It’s also a balsa bait that has a wire through construction.

The Rapala Scatter Rap Minnow is one of the more underrated walleye fishing lures

There’s a lot of crankbaits on the market but I hope this article helps you cut through the clutter. If you’re like me, you have way too many crankbaits but the reality is, they’re a fun way to catch fish and there’s so many ways that you can fish them. I’m a believer that variety is the spice of life……a variety of crankbaits is the spice for walleye anglers.