Scientific Name: Sander vitreus
Classification:  Game Fish
Abundance: Common in several reservoirs in the Piedmont and Mountain regions of NC

Sport Fish Profile (pdf)   

Species Profile (pdf)


The walleye is the largest member of the perch family. It has a long, slenderbody, large canine teeth, large eyes and two separate dorsal fins. Normal coloris silvery to gray, with a white or cream belly. The back is darker than the sidesand has 7 to 9 saddles. Walleye have a black spot at the posterior base of thefirst dorsal fin and a white spot at the lower portion of the tail fin.Walleye grow rapidly in North Carolina. The average-size walleye is lessthan 18 in. long and 1 ½ lbs. in weight.

Native to Canada and the northern United States, walleye have been stocked in most states except a few in the far west and south. In North Carolina, the Commission has stocked walleye in mountain and Piedmont reservoirs. Walleye prefer clear, cool water and usually stay in deep water during the day, moving to shallow waters at night. Young walleye prefer to feed on fish but will eat crayfish, leeches, mollusks, worms and insects. Adult walleye are large, visual predators and their main diet is threadfin shad, although they will eat small bass, trout, perch and sunfishes as well. They usually feed at night on or near the bottom. Learn more by reading the Walleye species profile.


North Carolina offers some great fishing opportunities. If you are a resident or visitor to the state, please review the links below to ensure that you understand the rules, regulations and other guidelines.

The following fishing regulations are effective August 1, 2020 to July 31, 2021.

Inland Fishing

Inland Fishing Regulations
Regulatory authority between the Wildlife Resources Commission and Division of Marine Fisheries. Inland game fish regulations include Manner of Taking, Seasons and Using Trotlines and Set-hooks.



Saltwater Fishing

Fishing Techniques:

Anglers often fish with jigs to catch walleye. One technique that works well is to cast the jig parallel to boat and let it sink. Start a hopping motion using only the wrist, not the arm. Make the jig hop 6 to 12 inches from the bottom while retrieving jig between hops. Slack the line after each hop. Jigs come in many sizes, colors and styles, although experts swear on a round head, yellow chartreuse jig. Green, white, red and orange jigs work well, too. Other popular baits include minnows, nightcrawlers and minnow-shaped crankbaits.

Places to Fish:

Though found in streams and rivers, walleye prefer lake environments. Walleyeare considered a cool-water species, living in maximum water temperaturesof less than 77 degrees. In North Carolina lakes, walleye prefer the least-turbidwaters. They are found over hard bottoms composed of hard clay, gravel, boul-ders or bedrock. Walleye ordinarily inhabit moderate depths of from 20 to 60 ft.,which is deeper than large-mouth bass or small-mouth bass prefer.

Historic range and status in North Carolina uncertain, possibly lower Pigeon and FrenchBroad rivers.

Stocked in 1950s in some reservoirs.

Currently stocked by Va. in Lake Gaston.

Reproducing populations in rivers and reser-voirs of the Hiwassee, Little Tennessee, andupper Catawba river basins.


Summaries (One-page Fact Sheets)

2009 Research summary on Walleye in Hiwassee Reservoir (PDF)