With the days getting shorter and the colder temperatures becoming unavoidable, the one thing that is for sure is the good fishing in the area. This week we did some walleyes and panfish with very good results.
First the crappies and bluegills, all I can say is "wow"! The panfish bite has been great and they have started to really school up in the basin's. The schools are now bigger and easier to stay on them. I'm still looking for those high raisers in the water column which means those are the bigger one's. Today, started with a Clam Outdoors Tungsten Drop XL Jig with a plastic tail and by the mood of the fish they were aggressive,so it was time to switch it up. When I see the mood like this I'll start working with bigger presentations and the Salmo Chubby Darter or the Rapala Ultra Light Rippin Rap #3 was the ticket. Fishing the same way, vertical jigging over the school and you'll definitely catch quality fish. Several 12-13" crappies that out right hammered the Dater and Rippin Rap. And talk about fun too! The swimming action of both presentations can be deadly on the fall. When using these presentations, just jig 2-4 feet up and than let them fall and that's when you'll get your bite.
Even though these presentations are used during the ice season, don't think that you can't use them for open water. I talked about this during the summer months when you can use these presentations and fall fishing is another perfect time to use them. If your vertical jigging them like when your on the ice, vertical jig them the same way for open water especially when the fish are aggressive like today.
Water temperatures are now 55 degrees and the panfish are suspended over 35-40FOW and the some schools today were very big. Again, I get pretty selective when fishing the schools and I'll look for those higher fish in the water column because I want to release them. Now, if I were to keep fish then I'll just fish them as they are in the school.
Second, the walleye bite is very good to excellent also. I had an opportunity to fish walleyes with a good friend and we caught walleyes trolling and bottom bouncing with a worm harness. The walleyes are in 19-24FOW on the outside edges of the deep weed lines. Trolling speeds were 1.2-1.8 mph and trolling stretches of 2-3 football fields. We picked up several walleyes during the afternoon and then as the sun started to fall, we switched to bottom bouncing as the walleyes started to school up. Speeds for bottom bouncing was 1.0-1.2mph and that was something I haven't done so it was something new for me. This is a technique that is very simple and I like simple. I know most walleye anglers use this form of fishing style and I can see why. It simply catches walleyes and this is something I could see myself doing in the future.
Now that water temperatures are dropping, the homework starts. Where your finding the fish today, they will normally stay in those areas right up to ice up. So, mark these area down and be sure to re-visit these areas for first ice and from year to year. Remember to practice selective harvest and always bring a youngster on your next outdoor adventure.
Until next time, be safe and we will see you in the outdoors!