How Well Do Walleyes Hear?

The subject of rattles and sound begs the question: “How well do walleyes hear?” The answer lies in a complex sound/vibration detection system that involves different senses.

Sound travels four times to five times faster through water than air, in a type of compression wave that, depending on the frequency, fish detect with their inner ear and/or lateral lines.

The lateral line is most important with low-frequency vibrations, like that created by the beating of a minnow?s tail or the wobble of a crankbait. The inner ear, on the other hand, picks up sounds like rattles, a jig bouncing off a rock, etc.

Rattle baits are effective because they stimulate both the lateral line and the inner ear, not just one or the other. It appears that rattles get the fish?s attention, putting it on alert that potential prey is nearby, while the swimming motion of a crankbait or bait helps trigger the actual strike.

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