Walleye are among the most popular of all game fish. Although their original range was from Canada to Alabama, today walleye have been stocked in the waters of virtually every state in the U.S. and every province of Canada.
North of the border, walleye are known as pickerel, jackfish or dore, while American fishermen know them as walleyed pike, or simply as walleye. Although they are sometimes called walleyed pike, walleyes are actually a member of the perch family.
One of the things that make walleyes such a popular sport fish is their unpredictability. Walleyes may bit like crazy for a couple of days, only to disappear from view with no explanation. And when walleyes decide to stop taking the bait, no amount of coaxing can make them bite.
Walleyes get their name from their huge marble like eyes, which feature a layer of reflective pigment. This gives the fish a distinctively walleyed look, but it also means that the walleye can see quite well in dim light. The most common prey of the walleye, the yellow perch, lacks this ability to see well in low light, so it is easy to see why the walleye has been such a successful predator. This well developed night vision also means that walleyes do a great deal of their feeding after dark.
Because their eyes are so sensitive to light, walleyes do not tolerate bright sunlight well. If they are swimming in clear water on a sunny day, walleyes are likely to go as deep as forty feet to avoid the harshest rays of sunlight.
Walleyes are not totally color blind, but they do lack the blue/yellow cells. For this reason, scientists believe that walleyes perceive the world entirely in shades of green and red. This means walleyes can see lures that are red, orange or green more readily than lures of other colors. It is important for the fisherman to realize, however, that the depth and clarity of the water can affect how the fish perceives the color. For this reason, many anglers will alter the color of their lures based on the depth of the water.