Best Walleye Fishing Rods In 2024: Top 5 Reviewed

Kenneth Reaves

Kenneth Reeves

Executive Director

Daniel ONeil

Daniel O'Neill

Head of Product Testing


Last updated:

In our relentless pursuit of the ‘best walleye fishing rods,’ we’ve executed precision casts through a vast sea of options, subjecting each rod to rigorous tests of sensitivity, durability, and action. Our mission involved deciphering the subtle bites of walleye with a range of spinning rods, meticulously evaluating their on-water performance, and closely examining every nuanced flicker of the line.

From the unyielding resilience of Ugly Stik to the refined finesse of Temple Fork Outfitters, our analysis cuts through the marketing fluff to present you with the tried-and-true champions of the craft. Continue reading to unveil rods that truly stand out in the elusive art of walleye angling.

Best Walleye Fishing Rods – Our Top Picks

What We Look For: Essential Factors To Consider

  • Sensitivity: The ability of a rod to transmit vibrations from the line, indicating even the slightest nibbles—a crucial attribute for detecting the often subtle bites of walleye.
  • Durability: The rod’s capacity to withstand the stresses of frequent use, especially important for walleye anglers who often face tough conditions and sizeable catches.
  • Action: Refers to where the rod bends when pressure is applied. For walleye fishing, a fast to moderate action is preferred for swift hook sets and better sensitivity.
  • Material: Common materials include graphite for sensitivity and fiberglass for durability. An optimal walleye fishing rod should balance these traits for the best performance.
  • Length and Power: The rod length affects casting distance and maneuverability, while power determines the weight it can handle. Match these factors to your preferred fishing technique and target walleye size.
  • Guides: Quality guides with smooth inserts, like SiC, minimize line friction, improve heat dissipation, and contribute to the overall sensitivity and performance of the rod.
  • Handle and Ergonomics: The comfort and grip provided by the rod handle, often made of cork or EVA, are essential for maintaining control during long fishing sessions.

Our Recommendations In 2024


Editor’s Choice: Temple Fork Outfitters TFO

In the realm of walleye fishing, where sensitivity is king, the TFO Professional Walleye Spinning Rod reigns supreme. Its capacity to transmit the faintest tugs to the angler’s hand sets it apart from competitors, although its price tag and a few shipping hiccups cannot be overlooked.

Despite these minor caveats, my testing underlines its superiority in providing the tactile feedback essential for jigging and rigging techniques that walleye anglers rely on.

“This TFO Professional Walleye rod caters to the tactile angler, delivering unmatched sensitivity for light-biting species. It’s included for its specialized design.”

– Kenneth Reaves, Editor-in-Chief & Executive Director

The Temple Fork Outfitters TFO Professional Walleye series stands out for its impeccable sensitivity, tailored for the discerning angler targeting the subtle bites of walleye. My hands-on experience with the 6’6″ medium power rod confirmed its prowess for jigging, courtesy of its intermediate modulus carbon fiber construction and fast action.

The non-glare gold fleck finish is not just aesthetically pleasing; it also reduces visual distractions under bright conditions. Additionally, the down-locking split graphite reel seat and premium cork grip facilitated an extraordinary level of feel and control, which proved invaluable when detecting those elusive nibbles.

The Okuma Classic Pro GLT & Rods present a formidable option for anglers seeking reliable trolling gear without breaking the bank. They exhibit the necessary strength and flexibility to manage vigorous fights, albeit with an austere design.

While some concerns about eyelet durability have been noted, the overall positive feedback underscores their value proposition, particularly in comparison to higher-end counterparts. For those prioritizing function over form, these rods merit serious consideration.

“The Okuma Classic Pro GLT & Rods stand out for their ability to deliver a robust fishing experience on a budget. While they may not win beauty contests, their practical features and solid performance make them a worthwhile option for the cost-conscious angler.”

– Kenneth Reaves, Editor-in-Chief & Executive Director

The Okuma Classic Pro GLT & Rods, by Okuma Fishing Tackle Corp., bring a commendable blend of performance and value to the trolling aficionado.

With a glass fiber blank construction designed for durability in saltwater conditions, these rods are engineered to endure the powerful strikes of large salmon and other freshwater behemoths. The stainless steel double foot guides with titanium oxide inserts add a touch of resilience where it’s most needed, while the triangle-shaped foregrip ensures comfortable handling during extended periods on the water.

The rod’s 8’6″ length and moderate action, paired with a medium power rating, provide a versatile tool suitable for various trolling methods. Furthermore, the tip over butt ferrule connection is a thoughtful touch, aimed at boosting the rod’s overall strength.


Ugly Stik Elite

The Ugly Stik Elite stands out as an exemplar of durable spinning rods that won’t break the bank. Although it may lack the finesse of higher-end models, its dependable construction and responsive design make it an excellent choice for those prioritizing longevity and value.

Pitted against its competitors, the Elite offers a commendable performance-to-price ratio, making it a wise selection for both novice and experienced anglers who appreciate resilience in their tackle.

“The Ugly Stik Elite is a solid choice for anglers seeking robust performance without the premium price tag. Included in our roster for its remarkable fusion of affordability, sensitivity, and unyielding strength.”

– Kenneth Reaves, Editor-in-Chief & Executive Director

The Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Fishing Rod, crafted by Pure Fishing’s brand Shakespeare, combines graphite and fiberglass to achieve an admirable blend of lightness and resilient toughness. Upon handling, the 7-foot, medium-light one-piece rod demonstrates a substantial sensitivity attributed to the Clear Tip design, detecting the faintest nibbles with unexpected accuracy.

The rod’s guides, Ugly Tuff stainless steel, resist corrosion and endure the kind of rough treatment that turns lesser rods into splinters. The cork handle is noteworthy, providing comfort during extended periods of use, and is notably slip-resistant.

It’s rated for a line weight of 4-10 pounds, offering versatility across a range of freshwater species.


Editor’s Choice: Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2

The Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 stands out in the realm of ice fishing for its exceptional resilience and adept balance. While it won’t win any awards for the reel’s performance, its construction and handling are superior where it truly counts.

Anglers can confidently wield this rod, noting its precision in detecting bites and its fortitude in battle. It’s a worthy investment for those looking to enhance their ice fishing arsenal without breaking the bank.

“The Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 is a testament to versatility and toughness, offering a reliable option for novice and veteran ice anglers alike. It gains our nod for its admirable blend of sensitivity and strength at a reasonable price point.”

– Kenneth Reaves, Editor-in-Chief & Executive Director

The Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Ice Fishing Reel & Rod Combo embodies the marriage between time-honored toughness and modern refinement.45 pounds, provides anglers with a well-balanced instrument that boasts an appreciable sensitivity – a clear advantage when skirmishing with the more wily fish beneath the ice.

The EVA handle and twist lock reel seat are engineered for comfort and convenience, while the one-piece stainless steel guides ensure smooth line movement, a pivotal attribute in the frigid conditions of ice fishing. However, the size 20 spinning reel, while it does include a ported aluminum spool for weight reduction, has room for improvement regarding its single ball bearing system.


Cadence Spinning Rod

Cadence Spinning Rod,CR5-30 Ton Carbon Casting and Ultralight Fishing Rod,Fuji Reel Seat,Durable Stainless Steel Heat Dissipation Ring Line Guides with SiC Inserts,Strongest and Sensitive Action Rods

The Cadence Spinning Rod offers a robust and sensitive fishing experience at a competitive price point. The delicate interplay of its 30-TON carbon matrix graphite construction and SiC line guides impresses, as does its travel-friendly design.

While there are some concerns regarding the rod’s durability and reel seat consistency, these are not pervasive issues. This rod provides a premium feel that rivals more expensive equipment, making it an excellent choice for anglers seeking a reliable and versatile spinning rod.

“The Cadence Spinning Rod is a commendable choice for anglers seeking a balance between quality and cost-efficiency. It stands out owing to its superior construction and sensitivity, making it a suitable option for various fishing environments.”

– Kenneth Reaves, Editor-in-Chief & Executive Director

The Cadence Spinning Rod, fashioned from ultra-high-quality 30-TON carbon matrix graphite, delivers an unparalleled combination of strength, lightweight design, and sensitivity. Whether you’re targeting bass, walleye, trout, or inshore species like redfish and speckled trout, this rod asserts itself as a formidable contender.

Notably, the Fuji reel seat and stainless steel guides with SiC inserts provide a smooth and efficient line flow, optimizing casting performance and enhancing durability. The rod’s two-piece construction facilitates easy travel and storage without compromising the feel of a one-piece rod, a quite innovative solution for the mobile angler.

Tested on the waters of Lake Erie, the rod demonstrated exceptional casting smoothness and sensitivity, particularly when used with a drop shot rig from the shore.

Questions & Answers

  1. How important is rod sensitivity for walleye fishing?

    Rod sensitivity is paramount in walleye fishing. Walleye are notorious for their subtle bites, and a highly sensitive rod becomes a crucial tool in detecting even the faintest tugs—essential for executing timely and effective hooksets. The finest walleye rods typically boast a fast action and are crafted from materials like high-modulus graphite, excelling at the transmission of vibrations. When selecting a rod specifically for walleye, prioritizing sensitivity becomes paramount. This emphasis significantly enhances your chances of not only detecting but also successfully hooking these elusive fish, ensuring a more rewarding and successful angling experience.

  2. What are the benefits of a durable walleye fishing rod?

    A durable walleye fishing rod ensures longevity and consistent performance in various conditions. Walleye often inhabit areas with abrasive structures, and a rod with robust construction can withstand such environments, reducing the need for frequent replacements. Durability also translates to the rod’s ability to handle the fight of larger fish without failing, giving anglers confidence when targeting trophy-sized walleye.

  3. Does the length of the walleye fishing rod affect its performance?

    Yes, the length of a walleye fishing rod directly impacts its performance. Longer rods enable further casts, covering more water, and are advantageous for trolling. Conversely, shorter rods offer more precision and control, ideal for vertical jigging or fishing in confined spaces. The optimal length for a walleye rod typically ranges from 6 to 8 feet, depending on the specific technique and the angler’s personal preferences.

  4. Why is the action of a walleye fishing rod important?

    The action of a walleye fishing rod indicates how much and where the rod bends when pressure is applied. Fast action rods bend near the tip, providing sensitivity for detecting light bites and quicker hook sets—key for walleye fishing. Moderate action rods offer a balance between sensitivity and flexibility, allowing for versatile techniques. Selecting the right action is crucial for the angler’s technique and success in landing walleye.

  5. How does the choice of rod guides influence walleye fishing?

    Rod guides play a pivotal role in influencing line control, casting distance, and the overall sensitivity of the rod—crucial factors in the context of walleye fishing. High-quality inserts in guides, like Silicon Carbide (SiC), are particularly beneficial as they minimize line friction, facilitating longer and smoother casts. Additionally, these guides help prevent heat buildup that could potentially damage the line. Furthermore, the strategic placement and stability of the guides are essential. Well-positioned guides contribute to the effective transmission of vibrations, allowing anglers to keenly feel even the most subtle bites. In essence, the choice and quality of rod guides significantly impact the performance and success of walleye fishing endeavors.


Choosing the ‘best walleye fishing rods’ necessitates a focus on sensitivity, durability, action, and material—fundamental elements for a successful catch. Factors such as rod length, guide quality, and ergonomic handles also play pivotal roles. After a thorough analysis, the Temple Fork Outfitters TFO Professional emerged as the ultimate performer, excelling in all aspects for the passionate walleye angler. It’s important to keep in mind that the right rod acts as an extension of your intent, translating subtle underwater whispers into triumphant tales at the water’s edge.