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September to Remember
By Mark Leadens
There are plenty of angling options when it comes to September and it’s
one of the besttimes of the year to be called a fisherman. It you’re
looking for a hot walleye bite, or hooking up with some monster smallmouth
bass, or maybe tackling a few big pike, or even dabbling with panfish,
there’s something good happening right now and it’s up to you to get your
As water temperatures start to cool down walleye activity will pick up
as they start moving and feeding more aggressively. Trolling crankbaits
is a top fall pick for finding river walleyes as it will allow you to cover
some ground and the speed might be just what they’re looking for.
Although you’ve probably heard about working current breaks don’t be afraid
to fish the main channel as
All of the aforementioned instinctively know that the fall period is
a time to take
advantage of good feeding opportunities. Its onset is signaled
by shorter days and cooler nights and is the trigger that gets the ball
rolling and creates a sense of urgency. Some of what
happens includes predators moving to the deep edge of weed lines where
they can dash in and grab minnows and baitfish that have been exposed as
some of the vegetation starts to lie down and die. Heavy weed growth
makes for a relatively save place to hide out and grow during the summer
months, but by early fall a lot of the greenery dies off leaving it’s inhabitants
in a rather precarious position. Walleyes will move in, so will northern
pike, and even crappies, to fill their bellies and fatten up before the
frozen water period.
If your target is walleyes, try working the deepest edge of the weeds
with a live bait rig and minnow like a red tail chub, or a jig and minnow.
Deeper weed lines can allow for jigging straight up and down which makes
for more sure hook sets. If you’re after pike try trolling a big
bucktail spinner over the deep edge and into the middle of the flat.
Another option is anchoring up at the deep edge and using big floats
and sucker minnows. Crappies can be caught by casting smaller jigs
tipped with small minnows to the edge of the weeds. Look for the crappie
action to come from about mid depth and up while the walleyes are close
to the bottom.
Shallower rock piles are another good place to look for perch, walleyes,
and smallmouth bass. Perch and smallies will set up camp on rocky
bars and reefs because they’re typically loaded with crayfish by early
fall, including the smaller immature variety. Perch that are there
to dine on the small crayfish attract walleyes, which just might attract
me and you. Crayfish colored crankbaits are a top pick for nailing
rock running bass and walleyes, although the size and shape may vary.
Smallies are more apt to fall for a bait like a Rattle
Trap while ol’ marble eyes may be more likely to take a #13 Rapala
or #7 Shad Rap. Working the rocks at night can make for some fast
and furious walleye action and could be your best bet for nailing a reel
hawg. Even though you can find active fish using the rocks during
the day, the night bite could be exceptional. The key is clear water
and the clearer the water the better your chances of running into an after
dark free for all. Another hot early fall bite occurs on many
of our Nation’s rivers and is an excellent time to pickup walleyes.
walleyes will often set up right in the middle of the river if the
conditions are right. The right conditions include lower water levels
and clearer water. Typically, rivers are at their lowest levels of
the season come early fall, which can spread fish throughout a rivers main
To work the current breaks you can try drifting down stream with a
jig and minnow and try to match your drift with the speed of the river
so your bait gets to the bottom. An electric trolling motor like
a foot operated bow mount MinnKota Maxxum can make the task a whole lot
easier by leaving your hands free to do other things, like set the hook
and grab the net.
While a lot of anglers have put away their rods for the season mine
are rigged and ready to go. With so many excellent opportunities
to be had it doesn’t make any sense to hang
it up now, not when it’s just starting to get real, real, good.