Walleye fishing in the cooler weather of autumn is probably second best only to early spring, although there are anglers who would argue this point. Early season walleye fishing is great to say the least, but try a late evening in the fall when you shiver with cold and excitement as the line goes tight and the fish takes off for deeper water. Fall fishing is hard to beat for great action and BIG FISH. As the water cools and the wave action turns the water over, the oxygen levels go up and the walleye will be stimulated and become more active.
Walleye seem to like the break between shallow and deep water at this time of year. Try trolling along these areas and don’t be afraid to try different depths. Look for contours near the shore in daylight hours and note their locations. At dusk you can troll along these contours and work them from shallow to deep. But the actual edge of the contours can often be the most productive. Try a zigzag pattern of trolling or casting to cover more water.
Wally Minnow, Smithwick Rogue, Rapalas, countdowns, long wally jigs, Wally Divers, shad raps and spinners with colored blades are among the top choice lures to have in your arsenal.. Remember that late fall will mean a slower troll or presentation if casting. Keep the bait near bottom and retrieve very slowly, letting the bait strike the bottom as you reel it in.
Try using shad raps, trolled close to bottom, #7 or #9 with a drop weight on a three-way swivel to keep the bait at or close to bottom, or with a bottom-walking sinker. Bottom walkers are best in murky water or in low light conditions. As they are dragged across the bottom they will create a trail of riled water and the bait you have attached will resemble a feeding baitfish. This action is what will attract the walleye.
Spinner blades attached to a 1/8 or ¼ oz. jig head with scent impregnated power baits such as power leeches or power worms are another sure fire way to attract the walleye to your line. The same rig can be used successfully with live minnows. Keep the retrieves relatively slow, as the walleye will be feeding steadily, but not very aggressively.
If you are using a live minnow on its own with a weight, keep the hook within eight inches of the weight. This will give the walleye a better chance to take the minnow. Some anglers prefer to use two lines where allowed, one with a large minnow to attract the fish, and the second with a smaller minnow to actually hook the fish. The vibrations of the larger minnow will bring the walleye in from a greater distance as the walleye are initially attracted by sound and then by sight. If you are fishing at night, you will want to fish shallower, as the walleye will feed closer to the surface.
Walleye will usually start to feed just at dusk in clear water and this will last until full dark, at this point the action will stop. The eyes on a walleye take up to an hour or more to become accustomed to the dark. This usually happens at the last light of day or full dark, as we know it. At this point they will be able to see again and will start night feeding. Many anglers stop fishing after the initial evening feeding action slows or stops and by doing so miss out on a lot of good fishing.
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