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Late Season Fall Walleyes
By Colin Crawford
As predator fish begin their fall feeding habits, their focus centers
on large forage. Young of the year perch, cisco, river shiners and chubs,
along with other forage, such as frogs, crawfish and even their own offspring
will be targeted. Successful trophy hunters will match the
hatch, almost scientifically, at this time of year. Imitation of the forage
base is very critical and a key to productivity during the fall feeding
binge! Feeding forays are anything but mysterious! The fish have to eat
a lot as summer activity increases. The perdition cycle is in high
gear on reefs, large points and adjacent flats, and in neck down flowage
areas. Veteran anglers can predict these movements, and position themselves
for hot late summer or early fall action on the biggest fish of the year.
Big fish become vulnerable for longer periods in the fall because they
move into areas where baitfish are staging, some remaining in the general
area through winter. To catch walleyes during fall transition and
early fall consider the tendency for walleyes to move up. An obvious relationship
exists between prey and walleye movements during this transition period.
Forage fish move shallow during turnover and early fall because cooler
water now becomes available there. And walleyes follow their food
to these areas. The sunlight penetration also makes a big difference as
to where the walleyes are located on any given hump. You wouldn't
think that sunlight penetration would go down as far as 25 or 30 feet but
in clear lakes it does. So when fishing, pay close attention to the
sun and make sure that you fish the shady side of that hump. More
active fish will be found in this area. I prefer shallow rock humps with
big, boulder-sized rocks. I also prefer them to be fairly close in
proximity to shore. They don’t necessarily have to be tied to the
shoreline, but they should be fairly
close. The rocks, if they are close enough to the surface, absorb heat
the sun like a solar panel. The warmth attracts minnows and you
know the rest. A few scattered weeds growing up between the rocks
can be a real bonus. Massive bait schools break up and walleyes head for
elements that funnel scattered, roaming forage past specific spots.
Look for long fingers or spines that protrude toward the main lake. Roaming
baitfish usually congregate along these fingers and filter down them.
Walleyes wait at the tips. Find those spots and you'll find big walleyes.
Bright warm days are preferred to cold, blustery ones. The sun is
lower in the sky this time of year, so light penetration is decreased.
However, bright days will cause the water to warm up, which will turn fish
on. Frequently, action will be better from mid-day on.
A wind coming into the rock pile can be advantageous, although I have
enjoyed some nice catches on, calm days too. Remember that
the angle of the sun’s rays is not as direct at this time of year so the
fish can be quite shallow. The direction of the wind will have a
lot to do with how the fish locate. Usually they will be working
the windy side of the rock pile. These spots vary but are based on factors
like: water temperature, availability of baitfish, oxygen, light level,
structure and schooling tendencies. Success rests with proper presentation.
Once you have located the edge and fish, the next step is to entice them
Your bait presentation will depend upon the specific edge that you
selected. If the walleyes are directly below and concentrated
on a physical edge you can backtroll a livebait rig, jig, or a bottom bouncer
rig, keeping the bait among the fish you see on the depthfinder.
Try to determine where fish are holding. Keep asking yourself the
question what is their pattern? Constant bottom contact is essential even
though it increases the potential for snags. Use a small jig head
with a wide hook gap to
|This is one of the ways my Lowrance
X-15comes in handy. If you find the fish strung out along the
edge, keep the bait moving and they will bite. If they're clumped
up in one spot, hover over them and vertically jig them. Rocks also attract
fish, try rocky shorelines. Rock piles, humps or where rocks and
weeds meet or are intermixed, work it over thoroughly with a jig or live
deliver the bait in wavy conditions. Leeches are an outstanding
rock bait because they can take the pounding. Drifting the breakline on
a windy day is a way to catch trophy walleyes. The tackle is simple
and the methods are easy to learn. First, use jigs tipped with a crawler,
leech or minnow. The size of the
jig should be just enough so you have contact with the bottom.
The important factor here is the shape of the head. The head of the
jig should be round or a stand-up type of jig. This design helps
when you are in an area that has snags, especially in timber or rocks.
When I am on a large lake, I might switch to a lighter jig, spinner or
a Lindy rig. With the cooling temperatures and the rough and tumble weather
of fall don't put that boat away just yet, get out and fish the edges for
some fall transitional walleyes. You might be surprised at the wallhanger
you hook into. If you are interested in catching some late season fall
walleyes or if are interested in a guided trip, a personal media
interview, or photo shoot, please call 715-545-8347. I am located
in Phelps, Wisconsin area, close to several fishing lakes. See you
on the water this season. Remember NPAA #94. I hope to hear
from you soon. If you are
|For example, on a river like the Mississippi, I prefer to use 1/8 ounce
or 1/4 ounce Fuzzy Grub jigs.
interested in reading more about these techniques or other fishing
patterns log onto www.northwoodsfishing.net
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