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A Horse of A Different Color
By Jason Mitchell

Late summer and early fall is an obvious period of transition. There are summer patterns that still linger and new patterns emerging. Usually on most walleye lakes, the traditional summer patterns are getting fished out. The fish get smaller and the spots dry up. This process of change doesnít happen over night however so some of the spots just linger, offering just enough fish to keep fishermen hanging around. The patterns that can emerge in September are varied. In fact, there might not be another time of the year where so many patterns can exists at the same time. There is a good chance that there will be walleye utilizing some kind of habitat in the shallowest water and the deepest water. This in a sense really spreads out the fish. Spread out fish can also make for tougher fishing. There is one pattern however that emerges each fall that I am quite fond of. The fish also give you clues themselves as to just how dialed into the pattern you really are.

Original Lindy Rig

Orignal Lindy rig

We fish a variety of tactics each year but one tactic that I really enjoy personally is Lindy Rigging. I love feeling a fish pick up the bait. I also feel confident with a Lindy Rig. Letís face it, a good piece of bait will always catch fish. We fish Lindy Rigs deep over rock piles especially late in the fall but early fall can offer great opportunities in the mid-depths of existing weed beds. The edges and open pockets of these weeds are great candidates for a Lindy Rig. People have this assumption that weeds die in the fall. We find green weeds when ice fishing so let me assure you that there is plenty of green vegetation left, especially in early fall. We have found fish over both cabbage and grass. Usually, the outside edge coincides with deeper water but the open pockets inside the weed bed are often the result of a change in bottom, perhaps gravel or even rock. The outside and inside edge can be good and the pockets are usually worth checking out as well. Polarized glasses are a must for finding the weed edges and good electronics will also give you more clues as to what you are fishing.
Lindy Little Joes No-Snagg  sinkers We have all switched to the Vexilar Edges because the dual frequency enables you to figure out what is exactly below in so many situations. The actual rigging may vary from lake to lake. My personal favorite setup is a NO-Snagg Singer combined with a short snell (three feet) and I usually like to put a small float ahead of the bait when working through weeds. The shorter snell seems to give me more control and I like to keep the weight in the cone angler of my Vexilar right below the trolling motor. The float seems to lift the bait enable the bait to slide through some of the weeds better. Again, I am targeting openings and edges so boat control is critical to keeping the presentation weedless. The biggest clue to really getting dialed into this pattern however comes from the fish themselves. Remember that September is the month of change. There are fish on the move. Coming and going, fish seem to do an awful lot of moving in the fall. When fish do put on the miles, they become paler. The fish seem to loose some of their color. Changes in season will cause fish to move, as will changes in weather. When fish are set up in a pattern however, the fish will have good color and usually be darker. Often, many of the fish we find in the fall have been on the move and we might have only intersected them between point A and point B
Lindy rigging For Walleyes When the fish that you are catching donít have the normal color, watch out because there is a good chance those fish wonít be anywhere close tomorrow. The beauty of weed fish is that they arenít nearly as nomadic as fish relating to other patterns. During a time of change, consistency is golden. Literally. If the fish you are finding in the weeds have good dark colors, chances are they have been on that location all week and will probably be on that location tomorrow.

Editors Note: The author, Jason Mitchell heads Devils Lake, North Dakotaís largest and most respected team of open water fishing guides, Mitchellís Guide Service. Mitchellís Guide Service can be reached by calling 701-662-6560 or on the web at: www.fishdevilslake.net. Jason Mitchell is sponsored by Yar-Craft Boats, Lindy Little Joe, Salmo USA, Vexilar, Valley Fun Source of East Grand Forks, Woodland Resort, Pro-Pointer Lake Maps, Berkley, Fenwick and Abu Garcia.

 

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