Lindy Rig Set Up: Full Guide to Using This Great Walleye Rig

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If you’ve ever talked with another angler about walleye fishing and the best baits or fishing kit to use, you have probably heard about the Lindy rig. Introduced in the 1960s, this rig is extremely common and highly coveted for landing your next trophy walleye. 

This article will cover the Lindy rig setup and what it can offer you as an angler, as well as different ways you can prepare your Lindy rig depending on your fishing location and unique needs. Regardless of whether you are just starting out in fishing or have been fishing for years when it comes to landing walleye, the unique shape of the Lindy rig is your best bet to catch that next trophy!

What Is a Lindy Rig?

While the Lindy rig is mostly known as a walleye fishing rig, it can also be highly effective with other bottom-feeding or low-column fish, such as sucker-mouth catfish, bass, and trout. The rig is for low-water fishing and includes a snelled hook on a leader that is also connected to a sliding sinker.

There are quite a few different ways to adapt the Lindy rig to your personal preferences or unique needs, such as adding a sliding float to adjust the presentation of your bait, whether it’s live minnows, live crawlers, or leeches. You might also find ways to adjust the rig in a fully customized way once you learn how to tie a basic Lindy rig.

Walleye Fishing Basics

lindy rig set up for walleye image of a great big walleye being released

Walleye are energetic but sometimes elusive fish to land, but this makes them a worthy opponent for many anglers to try and hook. When it comes to finding the best trophy walleye, you might find that they love to stay close to the bottom of the lake, near the mud, throughout most of the year, but especially during the summer months. 

This can make targeting Walleyes a bit difficult. That’s where the Lindy rig comes into play. The rig is specifically made to deliver your live bait and spinners right down to the mud so your next trophy walleye can get a good look at it. The rig itself is a very simple device that is easy to set up, but it’s also extremely effective when it comes to getting the hook in walleyes.

Brief Lindy Rig History

In the late 1960s, a gentleman by the name of Ron Lindner experimented with different ways to deliver bait and lures right down to the bottom of the lake without getting them stuck in the mud. 

Whether you went with a pre-tied basic rig, of which more than 70 million were sold before Ron Lindner’s death, or you learned to tie your own, there was not a walleye angler worth his salt that didn’t use some form of this rigging design.

Lindy Rig Set Up

Lindy rigs are extremely easy to make and can be adjusted in various ways to give you the best results. The most difficulty you may have is in tying the knots, but taking some time to master your basic knot techniques can go a long way in improving your angling skill.

To make a Lindy rig, you will need some supplies. These are extremely common and should be available at any bait and tackle store in your area. You can also find them in some department stores with an outdoor section, as well as in numerous places online. 

You will need a basic bait hook, a small sinker, a barrel swivel or snap swivel, and a spool of your chosen fishing line. Most anglers will suggest you go with a monofilament line that has a 10 pound test, but you can get by with an 8 pound test line in most cases as well.

Lindy Rig Kits

The easiest way to set up a Lindy Rig is one of these popular pre-made Lindy Rig Kits.

Making Your Own Lindy Rig – The Process

The other option, which is more economical for the hard-core fisherman or woman, is to make your own from scratch.

  • Spool your chosen fishing line onto your reel. 
  • Take your sinker (either this type of Lindy Walking Sinker or the newer style No Snag Sinker), and slide it onto the end of the line. 
  • Tie the barrel swivel onto the line to keep the sinker on but still allow it to slide up and down the line.
  • Tie a 12-36 inch piece of line to the other end of the barrel swivel. The length is your choice, though longer is more common.
  • Tie your size 2, 3, or 4 hook to the end of this line using a snell knot. You can find information on different knots in various books and videos.
  • Add a second hook to the rig if you choose. It can be a few inches from the first hook to help ensure the walleyes that grab your bait are hooked.
  • Place your chosen live bait on the hook as you normally would. Minnows, leeches, and night crawlers are the most common choices for Lindy rigs.

When fishing with a Lindy rig, the point is to troll it slowly through the water at the bottom of the lake or river you are fishing in. You want the live bait to drop somewhat quickly and retain some natural movement slightly above the muddy bottom but want the sinker to keep the line pulled down slightly in a U shape. If using a minnow or night crawler in this case, their natural movement will help keep walleyes interested.

Lindy Rig Weights

Most anglers will go with a boot sinker or a generic walking sinker. You may also be able to find a sinker specifically called the Lindy walking sinker, which is, of course, made for the rigging. The entire point of the Lindy walking sinker is to keep the lure just above the bottom of the lake without it getting snagged in rocks or debris.

The original pre-made Lindy rigs normally use a walking sinker, which is a flat and slightly curved weight that hangs from the line freely. Other anglers swear by the no-snag sinkers, which are banana-shaped and are threaded on the slack line.

Lindy Rig Variants

If you spend enough time looking around, you will see a wide range of different styles of the basic Lindy rig design. Both beginning and experienced fishermen will make small adjustments here and there to get the best results from their rigging, depending on the type of water they are fishing in and the size of fish they are targeting. Most of the adjustments are in the leader length, but choosing a different or dual swivel, a different style of hook, or even a bigger hook point can also be done.

Floating Lindy Rig

The floating rig is specifically made to keep your hook and lure above the mud of the lake bottom a bit, and the distance will depend on the length of your rod and the leader you choose. You can either use a line that is prone to floating or add a small float or bobber to the leader to hold the bait up.  Crawlers, minnows, and other natural lures will help with their natural movement walleyes can’t resist.

Both walleye and trout will take bait that is right at the mud level but do seem to prefer live and active bait that is up to 12 inches above it. In addition, this rig is extremely useful in areas where grass, debris, or any other structure at the very bottom of the lake is common, as it will prevent your hook from being snagged.

Lindy Rig With Floating Jig Head

In addition to the above-mentioned ways, another very effective method to make your bait suspend above the bottom and be more appealing to lower water column fish is by using a floating jig head. This style of rigging is normally used with live bait fishing or minnow, so you get genuine movement from the bait with the proper height suspension from the floating jig head. This can help bring in scattered walleyes so they quickly take your hooks and give a nice pull on your reel.

Lindy Rig With Crawler Harness

During the summer, most experienced walleye fishermen will swear by the success that using night crawlers as your live bait will bring with walleyes. In order to do so effectively, you should make use of the crawler harness to ensure your worm stays hooked.

After your harness is in hand and ready to go, simply attach the loop to the swivel on your Lindy rig, and you’re ready to drop it in the water and fish. If you’re using massive night crawlers, you may think about using a small float or bobber to help keep them suspended above the muddy bottom, as they may drop like a rock without it.

How to Fish a Lindy Rig

Fishing for walleye and other species with a Lindy rigging is both effective and fun, and it is a rig that works no matter what type of rod or reel you have. It is also highly versatile, as you can adjust the rig in a number of ways to get the results you want from it. It can be cast at a distance, fished in a drift, dropped from a boat, or trolled slowly. 

Lindy Rig Trolling

If you decide to try trolling using a Lindy rig, try to stay right around 1.5 mph speed. This helps your rig remain in contact with the muddy bottom of the lake and not move too fast as to startle the fish. Always try to have your main line at a 40-50 degree angle into the water. This helps you feel contact with the mud and weeds from your sinker by using the rod tip as your signal.

Depending on the bait you will be using, you may want to increase your sinker to around 1.5 ounces of weight. This is especially true if you’ll be using a floating jig head or a night crawler harness with a bobber. You want your bait to float, but not too much, as walleye are mostly interested in targeting lures and baits that are very close to the bottom of the lake.

Lindy Rig Drift Fishing

Successful drift fishing for walleye is commonly done with a Lindy rig. It lends itself perfectly to this style of fishing and can easily keep your live or artificial bait in the perfect strike zone. As with the previously mentioned trolling method, always maintain full contact between your sinker and the bottom of the lake. Even if there is debris or another underwater structure to watch out for, the Lindy rigging will help by resisting snags from your hooks on water grasses, twigs, and stones.

Fishing a Lindy Rig from Shore

You don’t have to be out on a boat to land your next trophy walleye. In fact, fishing from a dock or the shoreline of a lake or river is perfectly effective as well. Lindy rigs are perfectly fine to be cast out at a distance without messing up the rigging in any way. 

Final Thoughts on the Lindy Rig for Walleye Fishing

Walleye are an excellent fish for both beginners and experienced anglers to target, and the best way to get surefire strikes from that big trophy fish is with the Lindy rig. 

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Jeff Knapp is an expert fisherman, guide and outdoor writer whose work is widely published across a range of sites including Tackle Village. Jeff is based in Pennsylvania and loves exploring the waterways of that state in pursuit of smallmouth bass, largemouth, panfish and trout.
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