How To Use The “Walk the Dog” Fishing Technique

“Walk the dog” fishing is a fun and interesting way to catch fish. It involves making your lure behave like it has a mind of its own, going back and forth erratically. The “walk the dog” style of fishing can be hard to master, but once you do achieve smooth reeling in your line, you will find that more fish will come towards your lure.

What Is “Walk The Dog” Fishing?


The term “walk the dog” comes from a similar action a lot of people do with their pets at home – using a string or something similar on a stick as an entertaining way for animals to play. In this case, you are doing the same thing with a fishing line attached to either end of your pole where one end is weighted, usually by putting some kind of sinker on the line.

There are two primary ways to achieve this effect, which is what makes it hard to master – you have to either use your thumb or finger as a spool, letting out more line whenever you want your lure to move towards one direction and pulling it in when wanting it to go back. Another way is by making use of a special “walk the dog” reel used for this purpose. It has no mechanism to stop the line reels from coming out if let out too much, unlike regular fishing reels where all you need to do is hold onto the button while reeling in. This enables hikers who are using their fingers (instead of using special equipment) as well as those who happen to be camping without enough fishing equipment to still get the “walk the dog” effect.

What Fish Do You Catch With “Walk the Dog” Fishing?

Some of the most popular fish that are targeted by “walk the dog” fishing are trout, bass, northern pike, and muskie. These types love lively action, so they will be drawn to your lure once you know how to use it well. Walk the dog lures can also come in a variety of shapes and sizes – there’s one for every type of fish out there, but be sure you choose based on what type of species you want to go after.

How to “Walk The Dog” and Be Successful?


While learning how to walk the dog is difficult at first because it requires patience, it does pay off when you catch more fish with your line not getting tangled up as much. There are different ways to learn how to do it properly, but what seems to work for most people is practicing with their finger on the line taught on the ground first. Once you get better at reeling it in smoothly and swiftly, you can bring your finger up so that only about 3-4 inches of the line are reeled in before allowing another bit of line out.

This will cause it to go back and forth like a “walking” motion, which is why this fishing technique is also called manicuring the lawn – because it’s like trimming your grass short and neat instead of long grass all over the place. Eventually, you will be able to make your lure zigzag more erratically as well as letting out more line each time you reel it in, making your line behave like a snake trying to escape before getting caught again.

The “walk the dog” fishing technique is a unique way to catch fish that involves using a fishing rod, fishing line, and weight. By casting out your line and playing out some slack you can work the weight over cover such as rocks or brush where fish might be hiding out. Your bait will appear to be “wiggling” back and forth in the water which can cause fish to strike.

The walk the dog technique uses a weighted hook so it will sink quickly after it hits the water. This allows for fish to have less time to inspect your bait before eating it. The action of your bait wiggling from side to side also makes it look more natural for fish that are looking up from their spot behind cover on the bottom of a lake or stream.

Mistakes New Anglers Do When Using “Walk The Dog” Techniques

When first starting out with this technique, many anglers make the mistake of reeling in too quickly after letting their line sit for a few seconds. This “jerking” action is not what you want to do as that will give fishless time to look at your bait and instead they might just swim away from it. Instead of reeling immediately after your line stops moving, try giving it 10-20 seconds of rest before reeling again.

Another tip to keep in mind when using this fishing technique is to reel in a little bit every now and then but don’t reel all the way so you can give your bait more action and attract more fish. When you have a bite on your line be sure to keep your rod tip up so you can avoid snags on the bottom while reeling in your line.



As with any other fishing technique, make sure to use the appropriate bait for this method. The best baits for walking the dog are live minnows or small shiners/baitfish. You might use artificial imitation minnow lures but these will not work as well due to their lack of natural action and movement that makes it easier for fish to see what you’re offering them.

A good place to try using this technique is around rocky cover or out in front of weed beds. Just cast out your line near some structure and let it sit until you feel a bite, then slowly reel in and repeat several times. The more often you use this technique the more fish will learn to associate it with an easy meal.

The walk the dog fishing technique is a great way to catch fish when you have pinpointed their location and want to get them interested in your bait. Not to mention, it’s just plain fun because of how effective it can be.