Best Walleye Rods of 2019 – Rated & Reviewed

PRODUCT DETAILS
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Cadence CR5

  • Best overall walleye rod on our list.
  • Carbon fiber rod blanks provide great strength.
  • Two-piece design is excellent for easy transportation.
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G.Loomis Walleye Series

  • Sleek and simple design.
  • Excellent balance and weight.
  • Very lightweight, easy on the wrists.
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KastKing WideEye Rod

  • Super sensitive.
  • Best pick on our list for the price.
  • Lots of lengths, actions, and powers to select from.
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GOOFISH Solid Nano Jigging Rod

  • Very lightweight.
  • Provides great action.
  • Best rod for jigging on our favorites.
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SHIMANO Trolling Rod

  • Strong and sturdy.
  • Great value for the price.
  • Best trolling rod on our list.
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Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2

  • Incredibly durable and strong.
  • Best ice fishing rod on our list.
  • Wide range of actions and lengths to select from.
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Fenwicks Eagle Spinning Rod

  • Great value.
  • Excellent action.
  • Best spinning rod on our list.
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Ugly Stik Walleye Round Combo

  • Best combo on our list.
  • Very strong and durable.
  • Great action for walleye fishing.
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When it comes to fishing for the notoriously sneaky walleye, the correct technique and equipment can make all the difference.

There are plenty of great rods on the market that can detect the shy bites walleyes are known for.

This article will walk you through some of our personal faves, as well as give you information on how to select the perfect rod if this is the type of fish you plan on targeting. 

Are All Walleye Rods the Same? Can Any Rod Be Used for Walleye?

While it’s pretty easy to target walleyes with a traditional fishing rod, not all walleye rods are the same. Many have qualities that make them the best choice for a specific technique. The most common rods you’ll see in walleye fishing are jigging, spinning, and trolling rods. 

Jigging and spinning use the same type of rod, so if you don’t have a preference of one over the other, that’s a good versatile choice. If your technique of choice is trolling, however, it’s necessary to have a more robust rod. 

As alluded to before, walleye-specific rods will also have one quality that should be emphasized over the others: sensitivity. These fish are known for having one of the softest bites among the pike fish family, which makes it tough for an angler to know when to strike. For this reason, having a sensitive rod that can detect the most minute movements can really make a difference in the fishing process. 


What Makes a Great Walleye Rod?

When you’re browsing for the perfect walleye rod, whether in-store or online, it’s a good idea to make sure your pick has a few baseline qualities that will make it suitable for fishing for this species. 

Length

While length isn’t the most vital part of a great walleye rod, it’s not an aspect to be totally overlooked. When it comes to your walleye pick, try to find something that’s in the range of six to six-and-a-half feet. This will allow for suitable casting control and balance. If you’re trolling, a slightly longer rod may be a better fit.

Power  

For jigging and spinning rods, the best fit for fishing walleye is a medium or medium-light power, maybe even a bit lighter if you plan to fish for the smaller end of the spectrum of these fish. This will allow for fast action and flexibility without compromising the backbone of the rod. 

Action

 Sensitivity is key when it comes to walleye, so the faster the action, the better. It’s a good idea to go for a very flexible rod and having a fast or very fast action is the best option for a walleye rod. 

Quick Take | Best Walleye Rods

Just looking for the top three best walleye rods? Here they are:

  1. Cadence CR5
  2. G.Loomis Walleye Series
  3. KastKing WideEye Rod

Review of the Best Walleye Rods

If you’re not sure which rod would be a good fit, check out our list! Here are some of our top picks from the market today:

Best Overall:
Cadence CR5

Cadence Fishing CR5 Spinning Rods | 30 Ton Carbon | Fuji Reel Seat | Stainless Steel Guides with SiC Inserts | CR5-661S-MF

PROS

  • Easy to Travel With
  • Excellent Sensitivity
  • Ergonomically-Designed
  • Comes Thoughtfully Packaged
  • A Versatile Range of Rod Lengths and Actions

CONS

  • A Little Stiff
  • Limited Power Options
  • The Rear Grip Should Be Longer

What Recent Buyers Report

Those who bought and reviewed the CR5 from Cadence were majorly impressed with the rod’s ability to pull in big fish for a great price. Buyers compliment the look and feel of the rod, commenting on its sensitivity and powerful backbone. Some users say the handles could use minor improvements to make it more comfortable for all-day use.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Cadence CR5 won the top spot on our list because of its incredible and special components designed to make the rod as durable as possible. We love the carbon-wrapped reel seat and blanks, as well as the high-quality stainless steel guides. There’s no need to worry about strength with this rod.

Who Will Use This Most

We’d recommend this product to anglers who need a seriously sturdy rod for walleye fishing that doesn’t compromise sensitivity. Although this rod has a great backbone, it also has the sensitivity needed to detect the shy, soft bites that walleye are known for.

What Could Be Improved and Why

Besides adding some heavier power options, the rod’s design falters with the handle style. Anglers who bought the CR5 say that the handles are a little too short to provide the perfect amount of control. If Cadence added an extra inch or so to the rod, this would provide more accuracy.

Bottom Line

Aside from the handle design-issues, the CR5 line from Cadence is near-perfect for fishing walleye. Sensitive enough to detect their shy bites and strong enough to pull in the largest fish in the water, these rods are a super reliable pick for any angler.

G loomis Walleye Fishing Rod WRR8500S GlX

PROS

  • Well-Balanced
  • Super Sensitive
  • Clean, Simple Design
  • Lightweight and Easy to Transport
  • Provides Great Action for Walleye Fishing

CONS

  • Not Very Versatile
  • Limited Lengths to Choose From
  • Cork Handles Can Get Sweaty Throughout a Long Fishing Day

What Recent Buyers Report

Reviews of the G Loomis Walleye Rods are overwhelmingly positive. Those who purchased rods were happy with their general performance, especially the sensitivity and balance. Although it really depends on personal preference, some buyers said they’d prefer foam handles.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This rod makes an appearance as the runner-up on our favorites list because of its lightweight and sensitive design. It trumps many different traditional rods in terms of sensitivity, an essential feature for fishing for walleye. Though it is a simple design, it is effective and reliable.

Who Will Use This Most

Although the Loomis rods would be a reliable pick for any walleye fishermen, this is an especially good setup for those who prefer jigging over other angling techniques. Reviewers say the rod has the perfect action and sensitivity for vertical jigging.

What Could Be Improved and Why

Although it is personal preference, some anglers prefer foam handles for comfort over cork. Also, while this is a great pick for fishing for walleye, this isn’t a very versatile rod. Unfortunately, there can’t be a great deal of crossover from walleye fishing to targeting other species.

Bottom Line

It’s pretty hard to find faults in the G Loomis Walleye Rods. They’re a sturdy choice for any angler looking to detect the soft bites of these elusive fish and powerful enough to pull them in one after the other.

Best for the Money:
KastKing WideEye Rod

KastKing WideEye Walleye Fishing Rods, Spinning - 2pcs-6ft 8in-M-Power Jig

PROS

  • Durable and Strong
  • Great Value for the Price
  • Lightweight and Transportable
  • Nice Action for Walleye Fishing
  • Plenty of Versatility in Rod Selection

CONS

  • Hook Keeper Gets in the Way
  • Line Guides Could Be Improved
  • Handles Could Be More Comfortable

What Recent Buyers Report

Those who purchased a WideEye Walleye Rod from KastKing were thrilled by the company’s commitment to affordability. KastKing prides itself on providing quality-made products at a fair price, and buyers of this line really appreciated that. There were few complaints and mostly praises of the durability, sensitivity, and action of the rod.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We love KastKing’s commitment to fair pricing because it keeps angling accessible without compromising the quality of their products. The WideEye rods provide exceptional performance at their price point, a combination that cannot be beaten.

Who Will Use This Most

Anglers on a budget can rest easy knowing if they purchase the WideEye rod, the performance will stand up to luxury rods at a much higher price point. This is also a great option for beginners who want to try out walleye fishing but can’t afford a huge price commitment.

What Could Be Improved and Why

Besides some general one-off quality control issues, these rods are really solid. The one design modification that could improve the rod would be to change the place of the hook keeper, as some anglers say it tends to get in the way when using the rod.

Bottom Line

Overall, the WideEye rod is an incredible budget pick for anglers who cannot afford to break the bank on their next walleye rod. Before going for a luxury product, try out this line. You may be surprised by what you can reel in!

Best Walleye Jiggling Rod:
GOOFISH Solid Nano Jigging Rod

GOOFISH Solid Nano Blank Slow Pitch Jigging Rod Light Shore Jigging Rod Slow Action Pitch Rod Pe 2-4 1.98m(6'6') (2piece&Casting&Spiral Guide Model, 6'6')

PROS

  • Fun, Bright Design
  • Super Lightweight
  • Incredible for Jigging
  • Very Strong and Durable
  • Nice Range of Lengths to Choose From

CONS

  • A Little Spendy
  • Handles are Uncomfortable
  • Could Be a Little More Sensitive

What Recent Buyers Report

Goofish is a newer, but very popular brand among some anglers. Those who took a chance on this jigging rod from the company were singing its praises. The compliments thrown out had to do with the exceptional strength, sensitivity, and great action for jigging.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Although this company is lesser known than some of the most popular angling brands, they’ve put out some incredible products that haven’t gotten the recognition they deserve, these jigging rods included. They are sturdy and steady making them great for pulling in giant walleyes.

Who Will Use This Most

As mentioned in the title of the actual product, these rods are the perfect fit for anglers who prefer jigging as their technique of choice. Those in the angling community who have given the rods a go say they provide excellent action for slow pitch jigging, a common technique in attracting walleye.

What Could Be Improved and Why

Although the majority of the qualities of these rods are really great, there’s always room for some improvement. Because these aren’t made specifically for fishing walleye, they aren’t as sensitive some rods on the market. They also could use a handle redesign.

Bottom Line

With a fun, funky design and incredible jigging performance, the Goofish rods are another great option for anglers testing their hand at walleye fishing. Although they could be a little more sensitive, overall, this is a reliable setup for the jigging technique.

Best Walleye Trolling Rod:
SHIMANO Trolling Rod

SHIMANO Piece Trolling Rod

PROS

  • Super Sensitive
  • Fairly Lightweight
  • Durable Construction
  • Well-Thought-Out Design
  • Excellent Value for the Price

CONS

  • Quite Stiff
  • Some Cheaply-Made Components
  • The First Line Guide is a Little Small

What Recent Buyers Report

The majority of recent buyers of the Shimano Trolling Rod were satisfied with its performance on the water. Although some complained about the inclusion of some cheaply-made hardware, the vast majority of users thought the rod had a durable construction and was adequately priced.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We were impressed with Shimano’s trolling reel for several different reasons, mainly because it is super-strong without compromising the sensitivity needed to detect soft bites from walleye. It’s tough to find the balance between the two and Shimano mastered it gracefully.

Who Will Use This Most

As the name suggests, this is a product made for trolling. That means this is a rod that should be paired with an adequate trolling reel and be cast from a watercraft. Although it is not very versatile, it performs its designed job well.

What Could Be Improved and Why

A couple of complaints that could be resolved with some design improvements include the first line guide being a little too small as well as the inclusion of some cheaply-made components. If Shimano could use all high-quality materials in the construction of this rod, it would be near-perfect.

Bottom Line

With a few minor improvements, this Shimano Trolling Rod could be perfect, but even as-is, it’s an easy recommendation to make. Any angler who prefers trolling as their technique of choice should feel confident choosing this rod.

Best Walleye Ice Fishing Rod:
Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2

Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Ice Fishing Reel & Rod Combo, 26' Light Action Rod, USGXICE26LCBO

PROS

  • Great Action
  • Nice Reel Seats
  • Well-Crafted Design
  • Virtually Indestructible
  • Created With High-Quality Materials

CONS

  • A Little Too Heavy
  • Reel Included is Not Great
  • Guide Design is Prone to Line Twist

What Recent Buyers Report

UglyStik is a well-known and loved company, and the majority of buyers of this rod were happy with their choice of rod/reel. Buyers complimented the strength of UglyStik's rod construction and the simplicity of the design, but were dissatisfied with the reel included with this combo and some of the rod’s line guides.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Like many anglers, we’re also familiar with UglyStik's high-quality standards. We admired this particular UglyStik combo because of its strength and thoughtful design. Although the reel could use some improvements, the rod is worth the purchase.

Who Will Use This Most

We’d recommend this UglyStik combo to anglers who need a reliable ice fishing rod for Walleye. It’s fairly inexpensive, durable, strong, and sensitive, an excellent combination of features for walleye fishing. This is a great pick for both beginners and seasoned anglers.

What Could Be Improved and Why

The line guides on the rod could be improved. They can’t handle braided line as well as they should and don’t hold up well to wear and tear. The reel in this combo is also not super high-quality. Some users may prefer to replace both the reel and line guides.

Bottom Line

Although there are some quality issues here with the reel and line guides, overall, this is still a great product for fishing walleye, especially for ice fishermen. The rod possesses the qualities needed to be a great purchase.

Best Walleye Spinning Rod:
Fenwicks Eagle Spinning Rod

Fenwicks Eagle Spinning Rods

PROS

  • Great Action
  • Nice Casting Abilities
  • Very Lightweight and Sensitive
  • Made With High-Quality Materials
  • Versatile, Can Be Used in Saltwater

CONS

  • Tip Can Break Easily
  • Could Use Better Line Guides
  • Cork Handles Aren’t Great for Every Angler

What Recent Buyers Report

Those who purchased the Fenwicks Eagle Spinning Rod were excited by several aspects of the product. First and foremost, they were happy with the rod’s value and price. Buyers also praised its sensitivity and weight, but wished it was more durable in the long run.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We chose this as the featured spinning rod on our favorites list because it provides some great abilities as a walleye rod. It has incredible sensitivity and action which, in combination, make an excellent choice for fishing walleye. It also offers lengths that can provide super long, smooth casts

Who Will Use This Most

This is a great rod to pair with any spinning reel. Spinning rods/reels are an awesome choice for beginners who may be wanting to try their hand at walleye fishing. They are easy to figure out and master and they also provide excellent casting performance.

What Could Be Improved and Why

One of the major complaints that comes up with Fenwicks Eagle Rods has to do with the durability of the rod tip. Graphite is used in the construction of this line, which is super-sensitive, but doesn’t provide great strength. If Fenwicks could add some structural enhancements to the rod blank, the overall product would be greatly improved.

Bottom Line

When it comes to spinning rods, the Fenwicks Eagle line is a reliable choice for any angler who prefers spinning techniques. Although it’s not the most durable pick on the market, when handled properly and gently, it offers incredible fishing performance.

Best Walleye Rod and Reel Combo:
Ugly Stik Walleye Round Combo

Ugly Stik USCAWAL762ML/RNDCBO Walleye Round Combo, 7'6'/Medium Light

PROS

  • Great Value
  • Rod is Super-Strong
  • Simple But Effective Design
  • Smooth Casting and Retrieval
  • Medium-Light Action is Perfect for Walleye

CONS

  • Reel Could Be Better
  • Line Capacity is a Little Low
  • Line Guides Need Improvements

What Recent Buyers Report

As mentioned before, UglyStik is a very popular brand among seasoned anglers. Those who reviewed this combo were happy with the majority of its functions, mostly excited by the rod’s durability and strength. Buyers were less satisfied with the reel’s performance, but thought it matched the price.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Combos are a great option for many anglers, so it wouldn’t be a comprehensive list if we didn’t include one on our favorites. UglyStik made the cut because of this rod’s excellent strength, which doesn’t compromise sensitivity. Its simple design is reliable, consistent, and effective.

Who Will Use This Most

Rod/reel combinations are a really good option for a wide range of anglers, especially for those on a budget and beginners who don’t want to take the task of balancing a rod and reel together. This combo comes at a super-reasonable price, so it’s accessible to all.

What Could Be Improved and Why

As with most UglyStiks, the line guides on this rod are considered an issue among anglers. They can’t handle all types of line super well, so some users prefer to replace them rather than deal with them. The reel on this combo is also mediocre.

Bottom Line

Overall, like most UglyStik products, this walleye combo is consistent and reliable. It provides the sensitivity needed to catch the fish, but it’s also strong enough to last a lifetime.

Types of Walleye Rods

There are a few product variations within the title of “walleye rods.” Which one you will choose will depend on your technique of choice, however, some can be used interchangeably between techniques.

Spinning

A spinning rod is one that is built to accommodate a spinning reel. They tend to be a little shorter than a casting rod and the reel hangs below. They are known for being easy to use and are popular among less-experienced anglers thanks to their excellent casting and simplicity.

Jigging

Jigging rods are used for the technique of jigging. They tend to be short and lightweight, a good combination for the jerky, vertical motions that the angler will try to achieve with their bait. Jigging rods are also very flexible and will bend in a fight with a fish to take the pressure off the angler. 

Trolling

Trolling rods are used for boat fishing and tend to be a little lengthier and more robust in size. They don’t require the same amount of flexibility as a casting rod does but should have a bit stronger backbone.

Perks of Getting a New Walleye Rod

Buying a new rod is a huge commitment and the choice isn’t always easy. It may be very tempting to go for the cheapest rod, but that’s probably not the best choice. Think about the pros of purchasing a higher-quality rod. 

Quality

 In most cases, rods on the higher end of the price scale are more thoughtfully-created. Many rods that are cheap have been created with low-quality materials like plastic that will break easily after limited use. Quality will shine through in the materials used and the look and feel of the rod. 

Durability 

With some cheaper rods, it isn’t uncommon to take it out on the water for the first time and have it snap under the pressure of a fish. This is super-frustrating and is pretty easily avoidable. If you splurge on a rod that is a little higher quality, you’ll spend less time and money in the long run. 

Ease of Use

As mentioned above, quality-made rods tend to be more thoughtfully-crafted. This usually results in special features that can make the angling process a lot more fun and comfortable. 

Conclusion

When it comes to finding the best walleye rod for you, above all, remember that sensitivity is key. Though they may be elusive, walleye are a fun species to target and a rewarding catch to bring home. Happy fishing!