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  • Writer's pictureDonavan Clary

Illinois river walleye, the unicorn you've been looking for

"Mastering Walleye Fishing in the Illinois River: Insights from Donavan Clary Fishing and Oklahoma Fly Fishing"


For avid anglers and fishing enthusiasts, the allure of walleye fishing in the Illinois River is nothing short of exhilarating. In this comprehensive 10-minute read, we'll dive into the world of walleye fishing in the Illinois River, guided by the expertise of Donavan Clary Fishing and the techniques practiced by Oklahoma Fly Fishing. From gear recommendations to strategic insights, get ready to uncover the secrets of successful walleye fishing in this scenic river.

1. The Illinois River's Walleye Haven:

Nestled in the heart of northeastern Oklahoma, the Illinois River boasts the perfect environment for walleye to flourish. The river's rocky bottoms, gentle currents, and varied underwater structures create an ecosystem that supports a healthy walleye population. Donavan Clary, a seasoned angler, local legend and fishing guide, emphasizes the importance of understanding the river's flow patterns and identifying key hotspots to maximize your chances of success.

2. Gear and Tackle Essentials:

Donavan Clary's fishing expertise is matched by his gear recommendations. For walleye fishing in the Illinois River, he suggests using medium-action spinning rods paired with reels that have a smooth drag system. A fluorocarbon leader is ideal, as it offers low visibility in the clear waters. Jigging spoons, crankbaits, and soft plastic jigs are among the preferred lures. Remember that walleye have keen eyesight, so choosing lures that mimic their natural prey is crucial. Fly rods with hand tied flys to match natural forage matched with sinking lines and heavy leaders 6-10wt rods.

3. Oklahoma Fly Fishing's Unique Approach:

Oklahoma Fly Fishing, known for their innovative techniques, brings a fresh perspective to walleye fishing. Fly fishing for walleye may sound unconventional, but it can be remarkably effective. Their experts recommend using sinking fly lines with streamer patterns that imitate small baitfish. This approach allows for precision casting to reach walleye in hard-to-reach spots along the river's edge.

4. Time and Technique:

Timing plays a pivotal role in walleye fishing success, you should have been here yesterday, literally... Early mornings and evenings, when the light is low, are prime times for walleye activity. Donavan Clary advises casting near rocky structures and drop-offs, while Oklahoma Fly Fishing suggests targeting walleye in eddies and undercut banks where they seek refuge from the current. Both are great ideas! Patience and persistence are key virtues in the quest for walleye.

5. Conservation and Responsible Fishing:

Responsible angling practices are paramount to maintaining the health of the Illinois River's walleye population. Both Donavan Clary Fishing and Oklahoma Fly Fishing emphasize the importance of adhering to size and bag limits, practicing catch-and-release whenever possible, and respecting the environment by cleaning up after yourself.


Walleye fishing in the Illinois River is a pursuit that combines skill, strategy, and a deep appreciation for nature. Hunting the unicorn. Literally. Donavan Clary Fishing's expertise and Oklahoma Fly Fishing's innovative approach have shed light on the diverse tactics that can lead to a successful outing. As you embark on your walleye fishing adventure, remember that it's not just about the catch—it's about forging a connection with the river, the fish, and the conservation efforts that ensure future generations can enjoy the thrill of walleye fishing in this remarkable setting.

This was shared with hopes of being entertaining. Im still learning how to be successful with walleye. When I'm ready you'll know. Thanks for reading.

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