Reige: Walleye fishing in the Fall

Published 9:36 pm Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Good walleye fishing depends on several things. You must be at the right place at the right time and then you have to fish well. But it starts with the right place at the right time. No matter how well you fish, you’ll catch nothing if the walleyes aren’t there.

On any body of water there are certain spots which can be quite small that offer the fish what they need in the way of security, comfort and food at a given time. Good walleye fishermen decide where to fish by considering structure, weather, water clarity, time of the day, and the progress of the season. Unfortunately, the best spots will be used by feeding walleyes for only a few moments each day, so it is critical to be there when the fish go on their feeding binges.

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The best fishing takes place when several conditions prevail. First, the fish must be concentrated. Second, they must be active. Third, there should not be such an abundance of food that your offering is lost among it.

Fall, with its lower light and cooler water, brings the fish back to the shallow shorelines. Fall walleyes prefer shorelines with steeper dropoffs than they used in spring, but this depends on what is available in the lake. By late fall walleyes have knocked the current crop of minnows down so far that they have to feed more aggressively than was necessary in the fat time of early fall.

Try lighter line, walleyes are often very line shy especially in clear lakes. The more the diameter the more vibration and the better for walleyes to see the line. I prefer to use Berkley 6lb. XL for fall walleye fishing in cold water. Some people have trouble breaking off when they set the hook, but this can be remedied by using a rod that has a fairly soft tip to absorb some of the hookset shock.

Fish shallower than usual especially in the fall season for walleyes. Often walleyes in turbid waters are close to shore, some as shallow as two feet. I have had some really good success pitching light jigs and spinners next to shore and working them out to the waiting walleyes.

Try trolling a vibrating type lure or one that has sound chambers in it that makes a rattle. Something like a Rattlin’ Fat Rap, it has a great deal of wobble and rattle that attracts the attention of the walleyes. Walleyes have the ability to detect vibration using their lateral line sensory system. Sometimes they will strike a fast moving vibrating lure in turbid water when all else fails.

Try fluorescent colors. They show up better in dirty water and can often mean the difference between success and failure. Regardless if you are fishing with lead head jigs, floating jigs, spinners or vibrating lures, fluorescent colors will out produce standard colors in cold water that is muddied by fall rains.

One factor that can result in poor fishing even though the lake is teeming with walleyes is a lack of fish holding structure. This structure will hold fish on barriers or give a resting place out of current. You need to be on a lake that has a variety of depressions, rocks, holes, weedbeds, stumps and logs. This is the type of structure that fish relate to.

Walleyes prefer hard bottom, preferably gravel or rubble. If you can locate gravel or rubble area in a basin that is other wise all muck or silt, chances are you’ve located the walleye hangout. If you have a depth finder rigged up for sounding at high speeds you can check out a lot of bottom conditions. Especially, with a little practice, you will be able to differentiate the weak signal produced by soft bottom types from the stronger, sharper signal produced by hard bottoms.

Good walleye fishing in the fall is no accident, planning and being on the water has a lot to do with it, the rewards are plentiful, and you might even catch the biggest wallhanger of your life! Good luck fishing… Remember to put em back… let em go.. and let em grow!