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Shallow Water Walleyes in the Fall
By Mark Brumbaugh
Some of the finest walleye fishing of the year takes place during the
fall. The trick is to find the best action, and to match your presentation
to the mood of the fish.
The fall cycle of a lake allows the stratified layers to turnover and therefore
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|Fall walleye fishing can be extremely unpredictable, but most sources
will say that usually the poorest weather conditions will produce the largest
fish. Most large fish caught in the fall are females. To nourish
their developing eggs the female walleye needs to consume large quantities
of food. Now lets narrow down some areas that we can start to concentrate
on. First of all, these big females have to eat, right? They will
move shallow in a lake or river to feed and usually they need some reason
to do so. The reason is that is where the prey fish have moved.
Lakes have a tendency to layer out or "stratify." In the fall this
would mean that the depths of a lake are warmer than the shallows.
cooler water is on the shoreline. Big walleyes will swim into the shallow
waters to go on a feeding spree. If you are in the shallows when
this takes place hang onto the rod, you are about to catch some of the
largest walleyes of your life.
As they get full they may slide down to deeper parts of the lake, but
again remember they have to eat and one of the places to start looking
for big walleyes is shallow. How shallow? Sometimes it maybe
six inches of water, just enough to cover them. On Lake of the Woods late
summer and early fall patterns find big walleyes moving shallow enough
for some fisherman to actually see the walleyes. The shallow water
stays cool enough for big walleyes through
the summer. If the walleyes can find boulders or other shallow
water cover to provide shade, they may spend the summer at depths of 10
feet or less. If this is the case, most anglers fish too deep. In
the fall big fish like big baits. In fact, that is never truer than
prior to ice-up. The water is cooling down rapidly and those
fish won’t expend a great deal of energy on a snack. They want something
If the water is cooling off, the fish are slowing down. They
become sluggish and don’t want to chase all over the lake for food.
They want something easy and a lot of it. The anglers must also slow
down their presentation to match the mood of the fish.
These large fat baits pulled slowly on long-line trolling techniques or
casts into the shallows produce fish. Don’t overlook a plump nightcrawler
or a jumbo leech pulled behind a spinner. Just because the bait is
big and plump doesn’t mean that your hooks have to be gigantic. A small
hook allows a walleye to swallow the bait without feeling anything unusual.
And a small hook will not break or pull out. Most big walleyes are
hooked under snag-free conditions,
so if you take your time and do not attempt to horse the fish, light
line will do the job.
The big walleyes don’t want to be around during high sunny skies.
They would prefer the low-light conditions or even the darkest night conditions
to make their feeding run. Monster walleyes are on most large bodies of
water in the Upper
|Many times I will scale down my line form 6lb test Trilene
XL to a 4lb. test XT, just to get a better feel and allow the big walleye
as little resistance as possible. Think about what time of day you would
like to be on the water. Most of us would like to be there when the
weather is nice, sunny and bright.
Midwest. As the fall winds start to blow and you feel that you
would rather be back at home sitting by the fire that is the time when
monster walleyes are on the prowl. Try these simple techniques and
you will see the monsters that swim in your lake or river.
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