Fish Biology and Identification Each fish species needs different habitats to carry out its life functions. The habitat a species needs varies with its life stage. Typical life functions include feeding, resting, hiding from predators, and spawning. Based on the water temperatures they need, fish species can be grouped into three broad fish communities: cold water, cool water and warm water. But please note that there is a certain amount of overlap among these broad community types. For example, during the summer when waters are at their warmest in Ontario, it is not uncommon to find some cold water species living in the same areas as cool water species, or cool water species living in the same areas with warm water species.
Want to learn about all types of fresh water species. Olive the Lake has compiled a list of the fish species around Canada. Learning about the fish can bring you closer to that big one that won’t get away.
Key Identifying Characteristics for a Walleye
Large, elongated fish
Back is olive-green to brown; sides paler with yellow flecks
No distinct blotches or bands on adults
White tip on lower tail fin
Spiny and soft dorsal fins separated
Large mouth extends below back edge of eye
Walleye (also known as pickerel) are found throughout Ontario and is particularly common in the Great Lakes basin and throughout northern Ontario.
Walleye thrive in a range of river and lake conditions from cold, clear water to warm, weedy and stained water. Preferred cover includes weed, wood and rock. Bottom types can be anything from soft mud to flooded timber, rubble or bedrock.
Walleye are a light-avoiding fish, caught most often under low light conditions. Fishing is generally best on cloudy or overcast days, or on days when waves keep light from penetrating too deeply into the water. Prime times include morning and evening.
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.
Casting or trolling with spinners or minnow-imitating plugs works well. Special worm harness rigs of spinners and beads are often trolled. Jigs, tipped with soft plastics, live bait or buck tail are walleye angling favorites.
Live baits are often still-fished, drifted or trolled on slip-sinker or “bottom-bouncing” rigs. Walleye are readily caught through the ice, usually on jigs, jigging spoons or minnows.