As winter approaches, some of us are still chasing fall walleyes. By now, most people have put their boats in storage for the year and have switched gears to hunting. If your only focus is hunting, then you will be missing out on some of the best fall fishing. Now’s the time walleyes start schooling up and put their feed bag on. Walleyes can be difficult to find this time of year because they gather together. This time of year, bigger bait is better, I am talking about four to six-inch black-tail chubs, suckers and my favorite the Red tail chubs. Theses minnows are best to use for fall walleye fishing because they often will struggle to get away from their prey.
Several techniques will work to catch walleyes in the fall. One technique is to use live-bait rigs, which consists of a sinker, barrel swivel, leader and a hook and this can work very well. A second technique that can be used, is the jig and minnow, which is another option that is very deadly and can make for a successful day on the water. Additionally, jigging raps are also great lures to use in the fall, however, the technique you choose really depends on your comfort level and confidence. Sometimes we need to step out of our comfort zone and try new techniques in order to bag the big ones.
How do you find walleyes in the fall? It is important to purchase a quality map, such as, reel bottom fishing maps which are the gold standard of fishing maps. The reason they are the gold standard map is because they have a high level of detail and GPS coordinates that can be very helpful. When using the reel bottom maps, begin looking for structures, points, humps, rock piles, gravel bars and weed edges. Additionally, using quality electronics will help you locate baitfish and the walleyes. When you catch a walleye, focus on that depth range because this time of year, walleyes don’t school by size, so you can find 10-pound fish along with smaller fish.
Typically, a week before and after the full moon in November, the biggest walleyes can be found in extremely shallow water. We are talking as little as one foot in depth is where they may cohabitate. When trolling, generally I am always making turns until I locate the right depth. Remember, as the water cools down the walleyes metabolism slows down so it is important to slow your bait presentation down to be successful. Finally, fall is the time of the year you can catch some trophy walleyes because they know it’s time to fatten up for the winter.
Good luck fishing and always practice CPR catch and release.