pair of hands working on fishing line

Lindy Rig: A Beginner’s Guide (Catch More Walleye)

Lance Wilkins
Lance Wilkins
Editor @ CallOutdoors. Outdoor gear-head and adventure addict. I fish, camp and enjoy to writing about my adventures.

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The lindy rig is a famous rigging setup that was developed in the 1960s and is one of the most popular rigs used for walleye fishing.

The genius of this rig is that it gets your bait where it needs to be, down to the bottom, where walleyes and other bottom dwellers lie.

The lindy rig is an incredibly important setup for all anglers to know. I never knew about it until my late teenage years and would fish with just a standard bottom fishing setup, but as soon as I switched to lindy rigs, I caught more walleyes than ever.

Join me as I run through everything you need to know about the lindy rig from how to make it, create some variations and even how to fish it.

What Is A Lindy Rig?

A basic lindy rig is a bottom fishing rig that has the weight above the hook allowing your offering to sit free, away from the rig’s components so as not to alarm any fish.

The lindy rig is traditionally used for walleye fishing but can also be used to catch other species that can spend time in the deep like lake trout.

Here’s someone who knows the value of a good lindy rig when fishing for walleye

Lindy rig for walleye fishing

Lindy Rig History

The Lindy rig was first created by a man called Ron Lindner way back in 1968. It was a revolutionary way to rig for walleye and quickly became one of the most popular bottom rigs amongst anglers.

Today, millions of pre-made lindy rigs have been sold and since most anglers make their own rigs, you can only imagine how popular they really are.

Since the rig’s conception in 1968 countless variations of the lindy rig have been created and now the rigs cover everything from live bait fishing to trolling and more.

Below we’ll run through how to make a normal lindy rig and some of the best variations too.

How Do You Set Up A Lindy Rig?

Setting up a lindy rig is quite easy if you are used to making bottom fishing rigs.

The basic layout of lindy rigs involves having a sliding sinker or weight on your main line.

The type of sinker you will use depends on the variation of the rig you’re making but for the traditional rig, you would use a lindy walking sinker.

NOTE

The weight of the sinker will vary between 1/8 oz to 1 oz depending on how deep the lakes and rivers you frequent are, as the idea with lindy rig fishing is to have your bait near the bottom.

On the end of your main line, you’ll have a snap swivel and a bead, this stops the sliding sinker from sliding down to your leader and bait.

Attached to the snap swivel will be a barrel swivel with your leader tied on. A leader length of 3 to 5 feet is about right and at the end you would attach a snelled hook to which you hook your dead or live bait.

Lindy Rig Variants

There are a hundred or so variants to the Ron Lindner lindy rig and it would require a book to cover them all, so we’ll only focus on the three most useful versions for you as each one is designed for a different lindy rig fishing situation.

There are a hundred or so variants to the Ron Lindner lindy rig …

They each involve a similar setup but with a different hook, sinker, spinners,or the addition of a float, and are still all used for live bait fishing near to the bottom.

The Floating Lindy Rig

The floating lindy rig is a great improvement to the “normal” lindy rig asit utilizes a sliding float on the leader to suspend your live bait above the bottom instead of having it on the bottom.

set of fishing floats on table
A collection of handmade fishing floats

When fished correctly, this puts your baits into the strike zone as species like walleye and trout will eat a few feet above the bottom instead of picking bait off it.

To create this type of lindy rig, you’ll need to add a sliding float to your leader and a bead. The float sits between the barrel swivel and the hook, and the bead sits between the float and the hook.

This rig not only moves your bait more into the feeding zone but also holds up above weeds and other snags too. You can also adjust your leader length and therefore choose how high off the bottom your bait will sit.

The Floating Jig Head Lindy Rig

This version of the lindy rig does the exact same thing as the floating rig we just ran through above but instead of using a float, a floating jig head is tied on the end of the leader instead of a hook.

Many anglers use this variant of the lindy rig to fish with live minnows and as the walleyes can not resist a live minnow in distress swimming around above the weeds.

Without a floating jig head, the minnow would hide in the weeds making it harder for scattered walleyes to find and possibly snagging your rig in the process.

TIP

You can also experiment with the color floating jig head to find out which one the fish prefer.

The Night Crawler Lindy Rig

This lindy rig is made for lindy rig trolling with night crawlers (large worms or leeches). Instead of having a single hook on the rig, you have two hooks to create a crawler harness for your night crawlers.

worms and soil in a box
Night crawlers work great on a lindy rig

The first hook allows you to thread your night crawlers to create a good swimming action while the second hook keeps the bait secure while you troll off the boat.

You can either build your own crawler harness using two hooks and some leader or go and buy a ready made harness from the tackle store.

When you go lindy rig trolling, your bait will sit near the bottom and the trolling action is something walleye can resist. This trolling setup is best used for walleye fishing in the summer months as this is when the walleye go crazy for night crawlers.

Lindy Rig Weights

You will have noticed that every lindy rig mentioned requires the use of a sliding sinker, but there are quite a few options to be aware of when using lindy rigging, and some are better than others.

pyramid sinker on a table
Make sure to carefully select your sinker

The original setup uses a walking sinker, aka a boot sinker, which is a long flat piece with an eye at the top so you can add it to your fishing line.

NOTE

The walking sinker or boot sinker is effective but it is not good at resisting snags in weeds and other structure quite easily while you are fishing.

The other option is to use a lindy no snagg sinker. Lindy no snagg sinkers have a unique shape and look like a fresh chili hanging upside down. They have an eye at the top of the sinker, then a curved lead tube, and finally a protruding bit of wire at the end.

The unique shape and wire at the end of the sinker is designed for resisting snags as it keeps the main body of the weight off the bottom and away from possible rocks.

How To Make A Lindy Rig

I will now take you through how to rig the lindy and cover the variations too as we. Before you begin following the tying steps to rig the lindy, let’s first make sure you have everything you need to make the lindy.

Things You’ll Need

  • Fishing Rod
  • Reel
  • Main fishing line on the reel (10-12lbs)
  • Leader fishing line (4 – 6 lb fluorocarbon line)
  • You choice of sinker (1/8 – 1 oz)
  • Snap Swivel (size 4 – 6)
  • Barrel Swivel (size 4 – 6)
  • Hook (size 2 – 6)
  • Float (for floating lindy rig)
  • Floating jig head (for jig head rig)
  • Crawler harness (for trolling rig)
  • Plastic or Glass Beads x 3
  • Scissors

How To Lindy Rig For Walleye

We’ll now go through the steps of creating this amazing walleye fishing rig. It’s quite simple to tie just make sure everything in the list above is ready to go.

Step 1 – Sinkers & Main Line

  • Take your rod and make sure the reel is firmly attached
  • Pull line off the reel and run it through all the rod guides
  • Pull about 8 feet of line out the rod tip
  • Slide your chosen sinker on the line followed by a bead
  • Tie the snap swivel onto the line
  • Use an improved clinch knot to tie it
a close up of a knot
An example of an improved clinch knot

Step 2 – Leader & Connections

  • Pull out 6 feet of leader line
  • Tie the barrel swivel at one end
  • Tie it with an improved clinch knot
  • Add your float and then a bead to the leader line (variant rigs)
  • Tie on your hook at the other end by tying a snell knot
  • Or tie on your floating jig or crawler harness (variants)
  • Tie with an improved clinch knot
  • Open the snap swivel to join the leader to the reel’s line
  • Slide on the barrel swivel from the leader line
  • Close the snap swivel
  • You are now ready to add bait and fish

How To Rig No Snag Lindy Rig

To tie a no snag lindy rig simply follow the exact same steps above just make sure that you use a Lindy No Snag Sinker.

FAQs

How To Fish A Lindy Rig

There are three main ways to use these rigs and these when walleye fishing and they include trolling, drifting, and shore fishing.

Shore fishing

When fishing from the shore it’s best to cast out your bait and leave it out there for a passing walleye to see and eat.

You can use either dead or live bait in this scenario but be sure not to keep reeling in and recasting as the bait will come off the hook easily.

REMINDER

Make sure to keep tension with the sinker and have no slack line so you can feel a bite with ease.

Drift Fishing

Drift fishing with these rigs from a boat is one of the most effective ways to catch walleye, especially on big lakes as you cover a lot of ground.

two people on a boat with fishing rods
Lindy rigs work great when on the sea

Simply begin your drift, cast your bait out into the opposite direction you are drifting towards. Let it sink to the bottom and then make sure you are in contact with the bottom the entire time.

Your bait will then slowly be pulled just above the bottom and across any fishy features until it is inhaled by a walleye.

Trolling

To troll with these rigs be sure to have the first hook and second hook secure in a crawler, minnow, or leech. Then follow the same procedure as with drift fishing but using an engine or oars to create movement. .

Make sure you move slow enough and use a heavy enough weight to ensure the sinker is on the bottom at all times. This usually requires trolling at about 1-1.5 mph and using a 1 ounce sinker.

How To Bait A Lindy Rig?

The best baits for walleye, bass, and trout include minnows, leeches, crawlers and other small fish too. When lindy rigs are fished properly with these options they are deadly but you need to bait your lindy rigs properly.

If you are using minnows or other small fish as live bait, then tail hooking is very effective. You can also hook them in front of the dorsal. When hooked like this they stay alive for ages, swim nicely, and walleye can’t resist them.

close up of bait in a persons hand
You can practically use any baits but make sure to rig it well

When using leeches or worms, slide the body of the leech or worm around the point of the hook and up to the eye. When hooked like this, leeches and worms swim beautifully and walleye love it.

If you are using two hooks for trolling, then make sure your minnow, crawler, worm, or leech is hooked in the mouth with one hook and in the side with the other hook. This holds them together and helps them swim well.

Rigging Out

Thanks very much for reading my article. I hope you enjoyed it and now have the knowledge to create and use one of the best walleye rigs out there.

Share this article around with your fishing buddies so they can learn it too and check out some of my other articles, I cover everything from Carolina rigs to fish finders. We also have an article for lures in general and an article about lures for lake trout.

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Lance Wilkins
Lance Wilkins
Editor @ CallOutdoors. Outdoor gear-head and adventure addict. I fish, camp and enjoy to writing about my adventures.
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