Walleye is a freshwater perciform fish. Walleyes show a fair amount of variation across watersheds. In general, fish within a watershed are quite similar and are genetically distinct from those of nearby watersheds. The species has been artificially propagated for over a century and has been planted on top of existing populations or introduced into waters naturally devoid of the species, sometimes reducing the overall genetic distinctiveness of populations. Walleyes grow to about 80 cm (31 in) in length, and weigh up to about 9 kg (20 lb). The maximum recorded size for the fish is 107 cm (42 in) in length and 11.3 kilograms (25 lb) in weight.
Walleyes are largely olive and gold in colour. The dorsal side of a walleye is olive, grading into a golden hue on the flanks. The olive/gold pattern is broken up by five darker saddles that extend to the upper sides. The colour shades to white on the belly. The mouth of a walleye is large and is armed with many sharp teeth. The first dorsal and anal fins are spinous, as is the operculum. Walleyes are distinguished from their close cousin the sauger by the white colouration on the lower lobe of the caudal fin which is absent on the sauger. In addition, the two dorsals and the caudal fin of the sauger are marked with distinctive rows of black dots which are absent from or indistinct on the same fins of walleyes.
Casting or trolling with spinners or minnow-imitating plugs is a good bet. Special worm harness rigs of spinners and beads are often trolled. Jigs, either traditional bucktails, or tipped with any of the modern plastics, a piece of worm or minnow are Walleye angling favorites. Live baits are often still-fished, drifted or trolled on slip-sinker or "bottom-bouncing" rigs. Excellent live bait choices are nightcrawlers, minnows, or leeches, all of which can be used on a jig. In springtime Walleye will take almost any bait or lure, but may be more challenging to catch through the summer months. Fall often brings another peak of Walleye feeding activity. Walleye are readily caught through the ice in winter, usually on jigs, jigging spoons or minnows. When ice fishing Walleye are caught jigging or on tip-ups. Tip-ups are generally set up with a dacron backing and a clear synthetic leader. For bait, the most common minnows are Fatheads and shiners. Size for bait is anywhere from 1 to 7 inches. Walleye are not known for their fight in fish below about 24" in size. They fight well if over that size, however. Their wide appeal is partially the challenge in catching them, and partially their great popularity as a food fish.
The Walleye is native to most of Canada and to the Northern United States. It is known from the Great Lakes through the Mississippi River and Northwest Territories to South and Alabama.