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Annual Walleye Run Draws Anglers to the Toledo Region

Fishing in the Walleye Capitol of the World!

Why on earth would hundreds of people stand in the chilling temperatures of the Maumee River every spring? To catch themselves a walleye, of course!

Each spring, this remarkable phenomenon transforms the Maumee River into a bustling thoroughfare as thousands of walleye make their journey upstream, setting the stage for thousands of angler's to visit the Toledo region.

Walleye (Sander Vitreus) are freshwater fish native to most of Canada and to the Northern United States. The common name, “walleye” describes the unique way the fish’s eyes point outward as if looking at the walls. But the eyes of the walleye are no joke! The walleye eye is amazing, blessing the predator with incredible night vision, second in freshwater only to its cousin, the sauger.

As the frost of winter melts away, anticipation builds among seasoned fishermen and newcomers alike. The famed Walleye Run starts in early March, then the fishing really heats up in April when the water temperature hits 42 to 54 degrees, triggering the walleye into spawning mode. It’s during this time that Toledo can lay claim to the title of Walleye Capital of the World, as the Maumee River is home to the largest population of migrating walleye east of the Mississippi River!

With its rich history and undeniable allure, the Maumee River is the epicenter of this yearly spectacle. Renowned for its robust walleye population, this waterway provides the perfect habitat for these elusive creatures to spawn. Each year the riverbanks come alive with activity, as anglers eagerly await their chance to cast their lines into the swirling currents.

But the Walleye Run isn't merely about the catch—it's about camaraderie, adventure, and the sheer joy of being immersed in nature. Whether you're a seasoned angler or a novice enthusiast, there's something truly magical about being part of this time-honored tradition.

The best places to catch a walleye during the spawn are in rocky rapids, stone reefs, gravel bars and rubble piles. If you have a solid understanding of this creature's basic nature, you are sure to find your fishing pursuits to be successful here.

Side Cut Metropark in Maumee is one of the most popular spring run fishing destinations. The park provides easy access from W. Broadway Street to the prime spawning grounds just below the Jerome Road Rapids.

Walleye, also called walleyed pike and pike-perch, is the largest member of the perch family and is revered for its flavor and its size. It is not uncommon to catch a walleye over five pounds. The best live bait to use include minnows, night crawlers and leeches, while jigs are a popular choice for lures.

Photo Provided by Maumee Tackle

Head over to Maumee Tackle Fishing Outfitters, just a few minutes’ drive from Side Cut Metropark, to stock up on all your fishing gear including reels, rods, lures, live bait, waders and just about anything you would need to catch your limit. Maumee Tackle also sells Ohio Fishing Licenses.

For more information on walleye fishing in Toledo, visit:

  • Metroparks Toledo for a complete listing of fishing hot spots.
  • Maumee Tackle offers updated river conditions and weather reports
  • Fish Lake Erie website is an online community for Northwestern Ohio anglers and includes information from Ohio Division of Natural Resources (ODNR)