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By Gary Roach
If you can stand to hang up the shotgun for a day or two October is a great
month for large walleyes. The water in the shallower regions of lakes are
starting to cool and the minnows are moving in with the walleyes hot on
their tails. Those rocky shorelines we started to ignore in the hot summer
months can become productive again. Rubble areas tip us off to good locations
and anywhere you can find a shallow rock pile will be good.
But, don't be afraid to go deep in October if the weather pushes the
fish down into the depths. Cold fronts in the fall can send hungry walleyes
from ten to forty feet in a hurry. These deep fish can be caught but it's
tough. Boat control is a factor because you want to hang right over these
down-deep walleyes and dangle a minnow in front of their nose until they
finally get the urge to eat.
bottom bouncer with a 36 inch snell is a good option for deep
walleyes if they're spread out. Don't use a spinner or floater. I typically
just tie on a number six red
hook and stick the minnow right
through the lips. When you feel the bite on this rig set the hook immediately.
Say your prayers before you hit the water for a shallow, fall feeding frenzy.
This is when those walleyes move up onto a rock pile, rocky point, or rubble
shoreline and start sucking up minnows as they try to stockpile some fat
for the cold winter months.
Trolling crankbaits can find the spots where the fish are. Use a Mr.
Walleye trolling board to get
the lures up in six to ten feet of water where the fish are. The number
Shad Rap and the number seven floating Rapala are both good lure
choices because neither dives too deep. Run the boat slowly. The water
cools and the fish slow down so you don't want to make them have to chase
Once you connect with a fish either throw out a marker or punch in
an icon on your GPS. Where there's one you always hope for two (or
more). You can make a few more passes with the crankbaits or cast a jig
and minnow. I like casting to walleyes. When you hit them shallow they
are always in a fighting mood. My favorite jig for this is the good old
Fireball. Just run the jig's hook right through the mouth of the minnow
and out behind the
head. The minnow stays on well when you hook it this way and they
stay alive longer. There's something about a live minnow, even if you are
providing the action, that walleye prefer over a dead one.
I know it's tough when the ducks are flying, the geese are honking,
and the grouse are zigging and zagging, but the walleyes are there for
the taking. Shoot some birds in the morning and catch a few fish in the
afternoon. There's nothing like a supper of "surf and turf" in the fall
to make us appreciate where we live.
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