What are the walleye eating? What are the walleye eating? What are the walleye eating? What are the walleye eating?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    Default What are the walleye eating?

    So the last 2 days we've been leaving Marzurik's before 6am, fishing a couple miles NE of Kelly's and have been marking tons of walleye mixed in with some sort of hatch. With a steady screen of 6-8 walleye on the Lowrance all morning I would have thought the bite would have been a little faster than 12 keepers, no shorts, and almost no junk fish in 3 hours. It took a few passes yesterday to figure out that bandits were getting bit better than spoons and 130 back with 2 oz wasn't deep enough for the bandits, 150/2oz was the number and 2.6 or faster was better. Color didn't matter. This morning knowing the program we got done much quicker.....so back to the post....while cleaning our fish this morning, talking about how many fish we've been marking,how slow the bite has been, how gold the walleye look, what are they eating? all their stomachs had some sort of shell residue in them....what are they eating?
    Attached Images Attached Images What are the walleye eating?-kellys-east-jpg 

  2. #2
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    Jan 2015
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    North West Ohio, Allen County
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    When I find shells in perch bellies, it is usually zebra muscles. Maybe that is what they are eating down on the bottom?
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  3. #3
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    Jul 2018
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    Weston, OH
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    A picture would be most helpful, but I am guessing that with this high water temperature, you may be seeing individual disarticulated vertebrae from whatever bait fish they ate. If not, perhaps the gill cover from small fish, the gizzards from shad or depending upon the size of the fishes in question, lucky stones. I cannot image a walleye with any type of mollusks in them.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by hageman View Post
    A picture would be most helpful, but I am guessing that with this high water temperature, you may be seeing individual disarticulated vertebrae from whatever bait fish they ate. If not, perhaps the gill cover from small fish, the gizzards from shad or depending upon the size of the fishes in question, lucky stones. I cannot image a walleye with any type of mollusks in them.
    So just for conversation, My fishfinder marked more walleye than I've seen in more than a month in the area that I fished Saturday and this morning. Usually if they're not on the bottom your going to catch them, and a lot were up in the water column mixed with what looked like some kind of hatch, but none of the fish caught had any fish remnants in their stomachs....and they weren't biting like what i'd consider good for the amount of fish marked there. We didn't catch many junk fish or any shorts. On my finder, it marks walleye with yellow centers if the walleye have any size to them, which is what we caught, 18-22" fish ....wish I took a screen shot to show what I'm talking about. Friday evening we caught our walleye down by Crane Creek and they didn't have that gold color to them and didn't see what looks like hatch on the finder. Also didn't have many of those spiny fleas on our lines there, but did East of Kelly's. I guess that's where I'm heading with this topic, are the walleye eating those fleas? do those fleas have some sort of shell at some point?

  5. #5
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    North West Ohio, Allen County
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    I have absolutely found zebra muscles in lots of fish. Not large muscles but small softer ones. There was always lots of shell grit and flakes that were easy to identify. Mostly in PumpkinSeeds and Perch. A walleye and a perch are not that different and are of the same family if I remember correctly.
    Last edited by pimplepounder; 08-23-2020 at 07:50 PM. Reason: spelling

  6. #6
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    Jul 2018
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    Weston, OH
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    I spent over 30 years professionally engaged in multiple fisheries studies and running ice charters on Lake Erie and have opened and checked thousands of walleye stomachs. I never saw mussels in any of the walleyes that I checked for stomach contents on the clock or while filleting them for myself or customer's catches. However, I have seen Zebra (or Quagga) mussels in the stomachs of thousands of other Lake Erie fish species including: Freshwater drum (Sheepshead), Lake whitefish, Yellow perch, Pumpkinseed sunfish, Bluegill, Smallmouth bass, Round goby, Channel catfish- but never Walleye. When Freshwater drum eat mussels, their skin often takes on a shade of gold, compared to the usual silver/gray hue. If there were indeed mussel shells in the walleye stomachs, my theory is that they are inadvertently eating mussels as they inhale Round gobies from the rocks, but not deliberately seeking them, like the other species mentioned are known to do. Take pictures next time!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by hageman View Post
    I spent over 30 years professionally engaged in multiple fisheries studies and running ice charters on Lake Erie and have opened and checked thousands of walleye stomachs. I never saw mussels in any of the walleyes that I checked for stomach contents on the clock or while filleting them for myself or customer's catches. However, I have seen Zebra (or Quagga) mussels in the stomachs of thousands of other Lake Erie fish species including: Freshwater drum (Sheepshead), Lake whitefish, Yellow perch, Pumpkinseed sunfish, Bluegill, Smallmouth bass, Round goby, Channel catfish- but never Walleye. When Freshwater drum eat mussels, their skin often takes on a shade of gold, compared to the usual silver/gray hue. If there were indeed mussel shells in the walleye stomachs, my theory is that they are inadvertently eating mussels as they inhale Round gobies from the rocks, but not deliberately seeking them, like the other species mentioned are known to do. Take pictures next time!
    Hageman, Last weekend was the first time fishing East of the islands in months and I just thought it was interesting that there was a large number of walleye on the east side of the islands that didn't seem to be hungry. Normally when I mark a lot of walleye and they don't bite, it's because they're full of something( with the exception of a storm front coming). In the spring they'll have a half dozen shad in their bellies and latter in the summer I've seen what looks like perch as big as 10" in their stomachs. This weekend no half digested fish, just a kinda gritty almost small shell like stuff. And the a totally different shade of fish than the ones west of the islands. I always thought of walleye as predator, and wouldn't expect them to eat Zebra Mussels.

  8. #8
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    nroyalton
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    My buddy John said several times Sat that that was a pretty fish.I wasn't paying attention but looked like had a more yellow tint to their color.We were also east of kellies.

  9. #9

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    Iíve been fishing on the rocks at the shoals and the walleye we catch are eating goabies. Iím sure they are sucking up zebra mussels while feeding on the goabies in the rocks.

  10. #10
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    Jul 2018
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    Quote Originally Posted by erie son View Post
    Iíve been fishing on the rocks at the shoals and the walleye we catch are eating goabies. Iím sure they are sucking up zebra mussels while feeding on the goabies in the rocks.
    The shells in the walleye stomachs could also be what's left from the goby's stomachs after the walleyes digest the rest of their meal of these common island-area prey items.

    Regarding color, people have long called the walleyes showing more gold color "Canadian fish." It may be caused from coming from more cooler water from north of the border. The Detroit River flow can often run just north of the islands, best seen when its clear water contrasts with the mud or algae stained water coming from Ohio's tributaries, especially after a heavy rain event. Also, fish that are on structure and weeds are often more colorful than the paler walleye and yellow perch orienting over mud flats.


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