Nov 10, 2017

On the Hunt for Fall Walleyes

Cool nights, leaves turning colors, and days getting shorter can only mean that it is time to go on a hunt…for walleye! While many people are hitting the woods looking for a 10-point buck, those who stick to the water are often chasing an amazing bite!

Spectacular fall fishing can be found on the Great Lakes and on natural inland lakes. Start by fishing close to the areas where you found fish during the summer. Chances are, if you found walleye in the warmer months on weedlines, tapered flats, rocks or off shore humps, they are now nearby on a reef or steep drop-off. These drop-offs can be up to 50 feet deep on the Great Lakes. On natural lakes, they are typically 20-40 feet deep and on a windy day it is not unusual for the walleye to come on top to feed. 

When you first arrive at your spot, drive around and look for fish. Each time you find one, drop a waypoint on your Lowrance HDS so you can come back and target each individual fish.

During this time of year, the minnow forage is starting to mature. One of the best tactics to use in the fall is "shivering" with Moonshine Shiver Minnows. The Shiver Minnow offers a wounded minnow-type action that will entice fish to bite. Not only can these lures be used on the Great Lakes, but they can also be used on small lakes in the Northwoods. 

You will want to cast out to a break and work it back to the boat by lifting and reeling the bait. Then let it drop back down to bottom. Don’t be afraid to vertical jig when you get it back to the boat 10-15 times to give the fish a final chance to bite.

On natural lakes, there is a fall turnover and fish will go below the thermocline. This is the time to bring out big minnows, like chubs. Of course fat heads can also be used. When rigging, use a slip sinker and a size 1/0 live bait gap hook. You will want to stick the chub through the upper lip. Most walleye can't stand it when you slowly work this setup in front of them!

In addition to live bait, artificial tails also work great and allow you to hook into the fish right away. The “go-to” artificial bait is the 3.5" Berkley Ripple Shad on a 3/8 oz. jig for fishing 30 feet deep or more. Sit on the tip of a point, cast, turn the crank of the reel 2 to 3 times, and then repeat to bring the lure back to the boat.

Jigging spoons can also put a lot of fall walleye in the boat, but not all jigging spoons are the same. Depending on the size of the fish you are chasing, how deep the water is, and what type of bait the walleye are eating, you will have to adjust the size of your spoon. As far as color goes, on clear lakes or sunny days, silver is a good choice. If you are fishing on a cloudy day or in dingy water, gold is the preferred color.

These baits are best paired with a 7' medium to medium-heavy spinning rod, which will allow you to give the bait a good snap. For line, you can use anywhere between 8 to 15 lb. test, depending on how fast you want the bait to drop. The heavier the test of the line, the slower the bait will drop.