What to Look for in the Best Walleye Rods and 5 Budget Picks

Last updated on November 29th, 2020

best walleye rods on a budget

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Choosing a Walleye Rod

A tap, tap on the line is a sure signal you’re on a fish. For walleye, the strength of the tap has nothing to do with the size of the fish, which is why you need a rod tip sensitive enough to feel the slightest tug. Once you set the hook, the rod needs some backbone or the added bend could give old ‘glassy eye’ a chance to get away.

Personally, drift fishing like the example above is my favorite way to fish for walleye, but the same rod can be used for casting or jigging. If casting is your preferred method, then buy a slightly longer rod. You will lose less live bait when casting longer distances. If you like to troll, consider purchasing a separate rod with a stiffer tip.

The difference between a short and long walleye rod is about one foot, or 6’6” to 7’6”. Generally, if you were to compare similar rods at different lengths, you would find shorter rods easier to control, but less forgiving. Longer rods take practice to learn how to control but are more forgiving. This is especially true when casting long distances or handling a fish that makes a sudden, explosive run.

As anglers gain more experience walleye fishing, they learn that it completely relies on feel. Even in the midst of a poor weather day with wind, waves and rain, you’ll need to watch the rod tip and feel the bites as they come. Walleye rods need to be extremely sensitive, but also durable enough to handle whatever size fish takes your bait.

But a good walleye rod need not be expensive. With those thoughts in mind, here are 5 quality, yet affordable, rods you would enjoy taking out on the lake in search of the elusive walleye.

Berkley Lightning

Berkley BSLR702M Lightning Spinning Rod

The Berkley Lightning comes in a wide variety of lengths, tip weights and either in one or two-piece construction, giving you plenty of options for the way you like to fish and store your gear.

The carbon composite material remains stiff on the strike but tapers to a soft, sensitive tip for feeling the light bite. Silky smooth line guides are made from stainless steel with aluminum oxide inserts and are fitted closer to the shaft for added strength. The full-length, rubberized cork wrapped handles let you find the perfect balance and will not retain heat or cold, for a more comfortable grip.

You can find this rod fits almost any budget in either spinning or casting versions. A spinning rod will offer more finessing opportunities than you would if you used a baitcaster, but you do lose some power as a result. Every angler has their preferences when it comes to fishing rods, but this Berkley is a great rod for setting up a walleye rig.

Berkley Lightning Key Details:

  • Affordable 24-ton, multi-modulus graphite composite design adds sensitivity and durability
  • Corrosion-resistant Stainless steel guides/ aluminum oxide for lasting line smoothness and long casts
  • Dual-locking reel seat provides peace of mind in the heat of the battle
  • Rubberized handles ensure a solid grip and all-day comfort

See Berkley Lightning spinning rod on Amazon

See Berkley Lightning baitcasting rod on Amazon

Ugly Stik Elite

Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod 7' - Medium - 2pc

Shakespeare’s Ugly Stik is a time-tested walleye rod with many available options. The combination graphite/fiberglass design delivers a powerful strike and its unique clear-tip design reacts quickly to any bite. Solid, stainless steel line guides remain true to form and resist corrosion and chipping. A fully extended cork handle provides exceptional grip and comfort in any type of weather.

The Ugly Stik Elite is known for its durability whether in a spinning or baitcasting model. These rods are extremely strong and can handle almost any type of freshwater fish you’re trying to catch. For many anglers, versatility is the most important feature of a rod.

The Ugly Stik will work for walleye, bass, carp, pike and even panfish. It’s not going to be the most sensitive or lightest rod, but it’s a great all-around choice for anyone looking to have one rod to tackle all of their fishing experiences.

The Ugly Stik is a great choice for drifting. It gives you enough power to work your way through the structure at the bottom of the lake and still feel all of the bites. Don’t let the price fool you. It’s a great rod!

Ugly Stik Elite Key Details:

  • Graphite-fiberglass blank construction w/35% more graphite lets you feel the bite while giving you the strength to haul in the big one
  • Clear Tip construction further enhances  the rod’s durability and sensitivity
  • High-quality cork handles for grip and comfort on those long outings on the water
  • Smooth line flow with no worries of inserts popping out with one-piece Stainless steel Ugly Tuff guides

See Ugly Stik Elite spinning rod on Amazon

See Ugly Stik Elite baitcasting rod on Amazon

KastKing Perigee II

KastKing Perigee II Fishing Rods, Spinning Rod Twin-tip 7ft -M and MH-Fast(2Tips+1 Butt Section)

For versatility, nothing beats the KastKing Perigee II rod. It may be the best all-around walleye rod on the list. The rod comes in spinning and baitcasting configurations, as well as in one and two-piece designs.

The 2-piece rods are an excellent deal. For the price of one rod, you receive two separate tips, with several choices in rod power and action. For those who prefer a more straightforward approach, the one-piece might be a better approach.

The chance to change out the tips depending on the fishing means a lot to anglers. Half the day can be in search of the more sensitive walleye and the other half can be spent trying to catch bass on a topwater. That’s one versatile rod for the money!

Be sure to remember the different tips when you’re out for the day!

A striking, bare and beautiful, Toray carbon fiber blank sets this rod above the rest for performance and visual aesthetics. A note on Toray carbon: they offer the highest tensile strength/strain-to-failure properties on the market today. The rod’s other notable features include Fuji “Concept O” guides, high-density EVA grips and a unique Saf-T-Keeper hook holder. 

Lastly, 2-piece, dual-tip models come with a lifetime warranty on the tip ends – a very welcome feature for any walleye angler.

KastKing Perigee II Key Details:

  • KastFlex Toray 24-ton carbon matrix blank makes this rod lightweight, sensitive and durable
  • Fuji O-ring line guides resist corrosion and help cut down on the rod’s overall weight
  • KastKing PTS joints and multi-angle computerized wrapping on 2-piece rods give the solid feel of a one-piece rod
  • Quality Graphite reel seat saves on weight without sacrificing strength
  • Saf-T-Keeper hook keeper adds more value to an already great setup

See KastKing Perigee II rods on Amazon

KastKing Brutus

KastKing Brutus Fishing Rods, Spinning Rod 5ft -Light - Moderate-3pcs

Here’s yet another great value rod from KastKing, this one coming with the bonus of an eye-catching and practical rod tip. Some anglers prefer to watch the rod tip to see a bite. All Brutus series casting and spinning rods are made with a colorful chartreuse rod tip for added visibility.

For strength, these rods are constructed of 3 layers consisting of glass and carbon fibers. KastKing calls this their “Brute Tuff” rod blank, a graphite/glass blank composition somewhat reminiscent of the Ugly Stik in that it provides both versatility and durability for tackling hard-hitting fish like walleye.

A combination of stainless steel guides and Zirconium Oxide rings fight corrosion and wear, as well as allow for the use of any type of line. The full-length EVA grips let you pick the perfect hand placement for rod balance, control and comfort.

This KastKing Brutus is great for a new angler. There are several aspects of the rod that make life easier for a beginning angler. This doesn’t mean, however, that experienced anglers shouldn’t use it! It’s a great walleye rod that will handle all different sizes of fish and be sensitive enough to pick up on even the smallest bites.

If you’re casting or jigging, this is a great rod for you. It has a great feel and responds well to any action that you give it. Providing the fish with a realistic jig can be difficult, but the KastKing gives you the peace of mind that your bait looks presentable as you are fishing.

KastKing Brutus Key Details:

  • “Strike Tip” design makes it easy to detect the bite, even in conditions of low visibility
  • Stainless steel and Zirconium Oxide line guides increase longevity and line flow
  • Multiple choices of spinning/casting  in one-piece or two-piece models, as well as power, action and length configurations
  • Full-length, high-strength EVA handles enhances both comfort and  leverage for fighting/landing big fish

See KastKing Brutus rods on Amazon

Fiblink 4-Piece Travel Rod

Fiblink 4 Pieces Travel Casting Rod Graphite Baitcasting Fishing Rod Portable Fishing Rod Baitcaster (7' Medium Heavy)

There is a time when space is imperative and the Fiblink 4 piece is a great rod for the traveling walleye angler. The carbon fiber design is strong and responsive and the combination of stainless steel and ceramic guides makes for smooth and friction-free fishing.

A cork handle is ideal for any weather conditions, hot or cold, offering a comfortable, consistent grip. The rod is easy to assemble and comes with a protective, slotted carry bag.

The Fiblink travel rod is a great choice for any angler looking to always have a rod at the ready. You’ll never know when you’re going to pass a fishable body of water. This rod is easy to store and provides you the freedom of stopping by the lake for a few hours on any given day. Plus, it’s a great rod to bring when you’re traveling.

This rod has all the necessary features for great Walleye rods. Don’t let its portable features dissuade you from purchasing the rig. It’s plenty sensitive and allows you to handle any walleye you may hook. The rod comes in three spinning sizes: 6’6″, 7’0″ and 7’6″. All 3 models feature medium power and fast action tips.

Fiblink Travel Rod Key Details:

  • Sensitive, durable and lightweight carbon fiber construction on a budget
  • 7+1 stainless steel frames/guides and ceramic line inserts
  • Attractive, comfortable cork  handles and convenient hook keeper
  • Portable, durable design with a carry bag – great rod for regular use or travel

See Fiblink spinning travel rod on Amazon

See Fiblink baitcasting travel rod on Amazon


Walleye fishing is a type of freshwater fishing that is unlike any other. For bass or pike, aggressiveness is the name of the game. You’re trying to get reaction strikes from the fish and need as much power as you can. Therefore, you use medium-heavy rods.

When targeting walleye, you need patience and an extremely sensitive rod. As a result, medium or fast action rods are going to be your best walleye rods. You may have a more intense fight, but missing a bite due to lack of sensitivity is never worth it. Hopefully, you have enjoyed our guide and the 5 economical recommendations featured here. See you soon!

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About Dorado

John Pardal, aka Dorado, is the editor as well as an author for Reel Adventure Fishing. He has fished extensively up and down the U.S. Atlantic coast, throughout much of Florida and a bit of the Caribbean. John loves writing about all aspects of sportfishing and is passionate about conservation and promoting sustainable fishing.