7 Best Walleye Rods Reviewed

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Best Walleye Rods

Welcome to my review of the best walleye rods!

It’s no secret that walleyes have one of the softest bites, yet can grow up to 20 pounds. Your walleye rod has got to be not only sensitive but also strong enough to handle the biggest walleyes. On top of that, unless you want to tire yourself out after a few casts, it has to be light too. With all these in mind, I found these 6 rods to be the best for walleyes.

When it comes to walleyes, some people like jigging walleye, while others like trolling. If you’re looking to do both jigging and trolling, you’re in luck. Whatever your fishing style, the St Croix Legend Tournament Walleye can handle it. 

Otherwise, if you’re only looking for a jigging or trolling rod, which would be less expensive, jump right in!

Our Top 7 Picks

  1. St Croix Legend Tournament Walleye Spinning (Best Overall)
  2. Ugly Stik Elite Spincast (Best For Trolling)
  3. Fenwick Elite Tech Walleye Spinning (Best Legend Alternative)
  4. St Croix Eyecon Spinning (Best For Jigging)
  5. Tica WMVA Casting (Best Ugly Stik Elite Alternative)
  6. KastKing WideEye Walleye (Best Eyecon Alternative)
  7. Cadence CR5 Spinning (Best Budget)

The 7 Best Walleye Rods

As you go through the list, if you see a walleye rod that’s out of your means, keep reading. I’ve included lower priced alternatives for the more expensive rods.


Best Overall

1. St Croix Legend Tournament Walleye Spinning

  • Blank Material: Carbon Fiber
  • Guides: Fuji Alconite
  • Handle Material: Cork
  • Action: Ranges from Moderate to Extra Fast
  • Warranty Period: 15 Years

Among all the rods, the handcrafted St Croix Legend easily took the top spot. Built to be the strongest, lightest, and most sensitive rod possible, it’s also exceptionally durable. These make it suitable for all fishing techniques, be it jigging or trolling. It also comes with a rarely seen hook-keeper.

A large part of its greatness can be attributed to St Croix’s industry-leading technology. St Croix has been around for more than 70 years. Throughout these 70 years, they’ve constantly researched and come up with new and better technology for their rods. To date, they have 3 patented technologies fully exclusive to them. These 3 technologies are the Integrated Poly Curve (IPC), Advanced Reinforcing Technology (ART), and the Fortified Resin System (FRS).

If you’re interested to understand them in full, you can check out their technology page. But in short, IPC, ART, and FRS all significantly strengthen the rod. And IPC specifically makes the rod more sensitive. No other brand is able to replicate any of the technologies. As such, St Croix’s Legend Tournament Walleye Spinning Rod is unmatched in strength, sensitivity, and lightness.

This incredible strength and sensitivity make it one of the only rods that are light and sensitive enough for jigging, but still strong enough for trolling. This toughness also means you can use it for even larger fishes like bass.

As for those worried about its lifespan, have a look at its components. Its Fuji alconite guides are well-known for their durability. Its handles are made of cork, which has a natural lifespan of 50+ years. In other words, the St Croix Legend is super durable and will last for years to come.

Finally, as if all these weren’t enough, the St Croix Legend is even equipped with a Kigan hook-keeper. Hook-keepers protect your rod from damage during transportation and storage. This makes them valuable additions on a rod.

I truly could find no flaws with this walleye rod – except the price. It exceeds the price of any other walleye fishing rod on this list by more than a hundred dollars. 

While at first glance it may seem overpriced, it can take on the role of both jigging and trolling rod. A good jigging rod plus a good trolling rod would easily exceed the price of the St Croix Legend by a hundred dollars. This means if you’re planning to do both jigging and trolling, you can save yourself more than a hundred dollars by getting the St Croix Legend. Furthermore, it’s backed by a 15-year warranty.


Best For Trolling

2. Ugly Stik Elite Spincast

  • Blank Material: Composite
  • Guides: Stainless Steel
  • Handle Material: Cork
  • Action: Moderate Fast
  • Warranty Period: 7 Years

Trolling rods need to be longer and stronger – just like the Ugly Stik Elite Spincast Rod. Aside from having qualities like strength, lightness, sensitivity, and durability, it’s long enough to be used for trolling. These earned it its title of best walleye trolling rod.

In terms of strength, Ugly Stik may not have St Croix’s technology, but they’ve got some tricks of their own. 

For decades now, Ugly Stik has been famous for making unbreakable rods – and rightfully so. 

The Ugly Stik Elite Spincast utilizes Ugly Tech Construction, a technology exclusive to Ugly Stik. This technology enables them to make unbelievably tough rods. With this technology applied to the Ugly Stik Elite Spincast, there’s no doubt it can take on even the largest walleyes. In fact, it can take on even large bass.

Since it’s this sturdy, I bet you’re wondering whether it’s sensitive enough to detect the faint walleye bites. Fear not. Ugly Tech Construction combines both fiberglass and graphite. The fiberglass further contributes to its sturdiness. The graphite ensures it’s sensitive enough to feel the faintest walleye bites. No walleye will escape your hook.

This remarkable walleye rod features stainless steel guides and cork handles. With both stainless steel and cork being very durable materials, your Ugly Stik Elite Spincast will serve you for many years to come.

The most crucial part of the Ugly Stik Elite Spincast is its length. It has to be long enough for trolling – and it is. At 8.5 ft, it’ll come in handy when trolling, especially in deep waters.

To be fair, it’s not the perfect walleye fishing rod. Since fiberglass is heavier than graphite, the Ugly Stik Elite Spincast does have more weight to it than the previous 2 rods. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still light, it’s just heavier compared to the previous 2 rods.

All things considered, it doesn’t get much better than this. Anyone who wants the best rod for trolling should get the Ugly Stik Elite Spincast.


Best Legend Alternative

3. Fenwick Elite Tech Walleye Spinning

  • Blank Material: Graphite
  • Guides: Titanium
  • Handle Material: EVA Foam
  • Action: Ranges from Fast to Extra Fast
  • Warranty Period: 1 Year

Designed for walleye fishing, the Fenwick Elite Tech Walleye is another one of the few rods that you can use for both jigging and trolling.

Fast action rods suit both jigging and trolling. The thing is, fast action for walleyes is not the same as fast action for bass. It’s recommended to get fast action rods specially designed for walleye fishing like the Fenwick Elite Tech Walleye. I also really like the titanium guides. Alconite is an excellent material, but it can’t beat titanium. Titanium is not only more durable, but also more corrosion-resistant.

The St Croix Legend is rather pricey, and the Fenwick Elite Tech is a more pocket-friendly choice. Choose the fast action and medium power, and you’ll be good to go with the Fenwick Elite Tech.


Best For Jigging

4. St Croix Eyecon Spinning

  • Blank Material: Carbon Fiber
  • Guides: Aluminum Oxide
  • Handle Material: Cork
  • Action: Ranges from Moderate to Extra Fast
  • Warranty Period: 5 Years

If you’re more of a jigging person, and you don’t intend to do any trolling, you’re going to love this rod. Like the St Croix Legend, the handcrafted St Croix Eyecon Spinning Rod is strong, light, sensitive, and durable. And you’ll be glad to hear it also comes with the Kigan hook-keeper.

For roughly a hundred dollars cheaper, you’re getting a walleye rod that’s only 10% heavier, and less tough, but still tough enough for even the biggest walleyes. It achieves this level of sturdiness through the FRS technology. 

Now on to the sensitivity. Jigging requires a walleye rod to be extra sensitive, and the St Croix Eyecon delivers just that. It’s crafted with their SCII carbon fiber that’s not only more sensitive, but lighter than normal rods. This allows you to effortlessly make casts all day, and feel even the timidest bites from walleyes. 

Moving on to the components, you’ll notice that it uses aluminum oxide guides and cork handles. These guarantee a pretty long lifespan for your walleye rod. 

To further seal the deal, the St Croix Eyecon comes with a Kigan hook-keeper.

A word of caution though, I wouldn’t exactly trust the reviews on the product page. It looks to me like their competitors are out to defame them. For example, I saw a 1-star review saying that their products had the “Made in China” label. That’s impossible because St Croix makes all their rods in the USA. As much as I usually depend on reviews to make decisions, unfortunately, the reviews on the product page don’t seem reliable.

Other than that, the St Croix Eyecon is the perfect jigging rod. Light, sensitive, strong, and durable. Most importantly, it’s affordable. What more could you ask for?


Best Ugly Stik Alternative

5. Tica WMVA Casting

  • Blank Material: Graphite
  • Guides: Fuji Alconite
  • Handle Material: Cork
  • Action: Ranges from Fast to Extra Fast
  • Warranty Period: 1 Year

The Tica WMVA Casting Rod was made for those who want to troll walleyes, but don’t have the means for a premium rod. As long as a walleye rod can handle heavy walleyes, and is sensitive and long enough, it can be used for trolling walleyes. The Tica WMVA Casting Rod just barely meets the requirements.

Right off the bat, you can see it’s rated heavy power. Constructed with a composite rod blank, the fiberglass helps make the walleye rod tough enough for heavier walleyes. The high density graphite makes it sensitive enough for soft walleye bites too. At 7.58 ft, it’s a tad short for trolling, but the point is, you can use it for trolling, albeit not the optimal length.

It’s clear that there are better trolling rods out there, but none can match this price. Those looking for a budget walleye trolling rod, look no further.


Best Eyecon Alternative

6. KastKing WideEye Walleye

  • Blank Material: Composite
  • Guides: Fuji
  • Handle Material: Cork
  • Action: Ranges from Moderate to Extra Fast
  • Warranty Period: Limited Lifetime

As much as I love the St Croix Eyecon, not everyone is willing to fork out so much money for a jigging rod. That’s why I included the Kastking WideEye Walleye. In essence, it’s a weaker version of the St Croix Eyecon.

Without St Croix’s technology, KastKing had to include fiberglass for added strength. Even so, it’s still a bit weaker. Durability-wise, the Fuji guides and cork handles can speak for themselves. Sensitivity-wise, they’re pretty evenly matched. 

Taking all these into account, for about $50 cheaper, it’s no surprise that the KastKing WideEye Walleye will be somewhat weaker. Nonetheless, it’s sensitive and strong enough for the entire range of walleyes, and for jigging. 


Best Budget

7. Cadence CR5 Spinning

  • Blank Material: Carbon Fiber
  • Guides: Stainless Steel
  • Handle Material: Cork + EVA Foam
  • Action: Ranges from Moderate to Fast
  • Warranty Period: 1 Year

When I first saw the Cadence CR5 Spinning Rod, I found its price suspicious. After using it though, I’m glad I didn’t judge it by its price. At first, I thought I was getting a subpar quality rod, but it exceeded all my expectations.  

It performed well in terms of strength, sensitivity, and lightness. The strength and sensitivity of the carbon fiber blank are more than adequate for walleye fishing, and the lightness is comparable to that of higher-end rods. 

The catch is that it’s not very durable. After a few uses, my tip broke off, and I had to ask for a replacement. 

Granted, for such a low price, it was only to be expected. I’d recommend the Cadence CR5 Spinning Rod for those who want to get started walleye fishing but are on a really tight budget.


Different Types of Walleye Rods

You can jig, troll, or let your bait sit when you’re targeting walleyes. These different fishing techniques give rise to different types of walleye rods.

Spinning

The first type is spinning rods.

Spinning rods are the easiest to use. When using spinning rods, all you have to do is let your bait sit once you’ve cast it. As such, it’s the simplest fishing style.

Note that jigging rods are also spinning rods. I separated them because this is a different fishing style.

Jigging

The second type is jigging rods.

A walleye jigging rod is, as the name suggests, meant for jigging. 

When you’re jigging, you’ll want snappy, clean, and crisp movements. This means your walleye fishing rod needs to have faster action – no less than moderate fast.

Since you’ll be jigging your rod, it also needs to be light enough that your arm doesn’t get tired quickly.

There’s also no need for a particularly long rod, so jigging rods tend to be shorter too.

If your arm starts to feel tired, you can stop jigging and let the bait rest. In other words, your jigging rod can double as a spinning rod too. 

Trolling

The third and last type is trolling rods. Obviously trolling rods are meant for trolling.

You’ll be dragging heavier baits and lures behind your boat, so there’ll be water resistance acting on your line too. This means your walleye fishing rod needs to be stronger.

Your rod will also need to be longer seeing as it’s easier to fight fishes in deep water with longer rods.

You shouldn’t go for such a sensitive walleye rod, or you won’t be able to feel the bite of the walleye over the water resistance. I personally recommend and use a moderate action rod.

Materials For Walleye Rods

When it comes to your rod blank material, some materials are more sensitive, and others are tougher.

Here’s the complete list of fishing rod materials.

Graphite (AKA Carbon Fiber)

Graphite is sometimes also called carbon fiber. Graphite is used in fishing rods as it’s the most sensitive and light. But it’s also the most expensive. Duh.

Fiberglass

Fiberglass is used when you need a rod to be tough. It’s tougher than graphite and cheaper, but also heavier and less sensitive.

Composite

Composite is a combination of graphite and fiberglass.

As you might guess, your rod won’t be the most sensitive, or the toughest. Instead, you’ll have a mix of all the qualities. Essentially, you’ll have a sensitive, tough, and light rod.

How To Choose The Right Walleye Rod

By now, I’m guessing you already have your eye on one of the awesome walleye rods on this list.

In that case, chances are, you’re also wondering what length, power, and action you should get.

That’s why I included this section to help you choose the right option.

Length

When it comes to length, there are two ranges you’ll want to pay attention to.

The first range is 5-7 ft. This is for spinning and jigging rods. Since you’ll be jigging, you’ll want shorter rods that are lighter and easier to jig.

The next range is 10-11 ft. This is the ideal range for trolling walleyes. When trolling, you need longer rods that are better for deeper waters. I use a 10 ft rod for trolling and have found it to be just right, so I’d advise that you go with 10 ft. 

Note that the Ugly Stik Elite Spincast is still viable for trolling because although it’s only 8.5 ft, it still offers enough leverage. 

It’s clear that jigging and trolling require quite different lengths. But the shorter recommended lengths for a walleye jigging rod are so that the walleye rod won’t be overly heavy. This means for a walleye rod like the St Croix Legend Tournament Walleye, you can get a longer option and still use it for jigging because of how light it is.

Power

When it comes to power, once again, it depends on whether you’re spinning, jigging, or trolling.

For spinning and jigging, you won’t need as much power as trolling, but you will still need to be able to take on the largest walleyes. Your walleye fishing rod should be at least a medium power, to ensure you can handle any range of walleyes. If you want to be able to take on fishes larger than walleye, like bass, feel free to go up to medium heavy, or even heavy.

For trolling, you’ll need walleye fishing rods that are a little stiffer, because as mentioned earlier, you’ll need to deal with water resistance. I usually go with medium heavy, but you can go heavy or even extra heavy if you prefer.

Action

For spinning and jigging, you’ll need the extra sensitivity. This is to feel the soft bite of the walleye, so go for a fast or even extra fast.

For trolling, you’ll need to have less sensitivity, so a moderate fast or fast will do.

FAQs

Walleyes tend to be less well-known than more popular fishes like bass. If you have any unanswered questions about walleyes, try looking here.

How big can walleyes get?

I actually mentioned this earlier, but in case you missed it, walleyes usually grow up to 20 pounds, although the largest recorded size is 29 pounds.

Do I really need different rods for walleye Fishing?

There are marked differences between jigging and trolling rods, as you may have noticed by now. That’s why walleye anglers prefer to have different rods for each. But walleye fishing rods that can fulfil the requirements of both jigging and trolling rods still exist. One such example is the St Croix Legend Tournament Walleye. 

My Verdict

Walleyes don’t put up the strongest fight, but their bites are hard to detect.

If you have the right walleye fishing rod though, you’ll be able to reel in the heaviest walleyes and detect the smallest walleyes.

Seeing as how any one of the hand-picked rods on this list can do that, you’ll be spoilt for choice. 

If you’re not sure which one to choose, the St Croix Legend Tournament Walleye is a great choice. Not only is it the strongest, lightest, and most sensitive rod, it’s extremely durable.

All the best on your next walleye fishing trip!

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AUTHOR

Reuben went on his first fishing trip when he was 9. That's when he fell in love with fishing. When he's not fishing, he's searching for new gear and ways to fish better.