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A Few Tools for Fall Walleye
By Sam Anderson

 When the leaves start to turn and the cold north wind starts to blow, you know it is time to pack up a few tools for fall walleyes.  The best tools that any angler can use are location, presentation, organization, and versatility.
 When I am on the water in autumn I tend to look for funneled down areas, because it is a great place to look for walleyes as they pass through in search of food.  Necked down areas, saddles between islands and land, narrows, and even break lines are great places to begin looking for active walleyes in the fall.  Breaklines are areas where the floor of the lake or river drop-off from shallow water to deeper water.  The breakline is a transitional area.  Walleyes have a tendency to move up into the shallows on cloudy, windy days or in the evening and then slide back into the depths to rest. 

Lindy Little Joe Hatchet Harness Spinners New Lindy Stealth rig To catch walleyes in a funnel area there are many presentations an angler should consider.  Lindy Little Joe spinners with a crawler harness, or a Lindy rig are two great ways to start to look for walleyes.  Minnows are at an all time high in the fall of the year and the offering that you provide for them should be something different.  Stick to crawlers and leeches or artificial baits that resemble big minnows. The bigger the minnow bait the more the walleyes will be interested in it. 
This time of year walleyes want to fatten up for the upcoming winter months and they look for the largest food source they can swallow.  Minnow baits like Storm Lightin’ Shad have a large body and give off a lot of wobble that transmits to the walleye that this food source is large and lazy.  Try also to get these minnow baits in colors that represent the food source the walleyes are feeding on.  Shad colored baits, new Shad Rap Walleye color and crawdad color baits have been dynamite for me this year. 
Presentation is critical as a tool for fall walleyes and one of the best methods is backtrolling.  Backtrolling is a method of slowly maneuvering a boat with the outboard in reverse to achieve precise line and bait placement along a specific depth contour.  This technique was designed to work with jig-and-live bait combinations, jigging spoons and bladebaits to catch walleyes.  Add to this a slower presentation, by using a Drift Control sea anchor. Drift Control sea anchors aide boat control in two ways.  First of all, they slow your drift in strong winds.  Secondly, you can use them to fine-tune subtle boat maneuvers in rough seas or heavy current.  Backtrolling is still one of my favorite methods to catch deep water cold front walleyes in the fall.
 One important tool overlooked by many anglers is organization. Starting with my rods, I use the Rod Control Rod Sock.  It is one component to a rod containment system. Made from rip stop nylon, these rod socks help to protect, better organize, and keep different styles of rods from getting tangled with each other. The Velcro straps on the base of the rod sock ensures the sock will stay on your rod, even during long runs across the water. They are available for two piece rods and all the way up to 8.5 feet in length.
Each of my rods is sheathed into a nylon sock that fits snugly around my pole when placed in a rod locker.  I don't care what type of rod locker you have when you put a number of poles into it, they get tangled up.  Therefore, all my poles have, the Rod Control Rod Sock around them to keep them free from tangle and ready to use when I want them. 
 My Drift Master Tournament Series drift sock, when not in use in the boat, will be put into it's own bag so the ropes will not get tangled in the equipment in my boat.  Also, if I am using one of these while fishing with friends I go through a little training exercise with all of them to see if they can pull in the drift sock when a fish is hooked.  That makes everyone in the boat experienced on what to do if a fish is hooked.   It also helps us to get the boat organized for everyone performs some specific job.
 I also rig my boat for rough seas, just in case.  All my equipment is bolted down and I check all of this before the boat enters the water.  I strap down my kicker motor so it won't rock back and forth or bust off the transom, believe me I have seen a few that have.  My depthfinders are secure and I have even screwed down The Judge Ruler.  This keeps it in place but also keeps it handy to measure the recently caught walleye.
 I have my Lindy Marker Buoy holder mounted next to where I am running my kicker motor so I can easily keep my eyes on the depthfinder and reach for the marker buoy to toss overboard. Again, the importance of being organized is a very important tool.
Adding versatility to your fishing style is critical especially in the fall.  Many anglers will stick to one type of method.  Some anglers believe that more walleyes are caught on jigs or spinners.  While other anglers will swear by the tried and true methods of trolling crankbaits over endless structure.  After watching, listening, and reading other anglers I decided that I should change my approach.  There are a lot of little things in fishing that make a big difference.  You might say to yourself after a day on the water: Why didn’t I try spinners today?  Why didn’t I move shallower or deeper?  Versatility is such a key.  Not only knowing how to use a rig, how to use a jig, or how to use a crankbait, but also knowing all the things that makeup those families of lures.  You have to know how to trigger the fish.  You can't boat fish if you aren't willing to try new or different approaches to get them to bite.
So when you get ready to gather your tools for fall walleye fishing try these techniques.  If you are interested in looking at other fall fishing approaches drop me a line on the web at www.samanderson.com.

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