You’ve probably heard that fall walleye fishing is some of the best walleye fishing of the year. But why? We’ll answer that question and break down how you can make the most of the season’s opportunities.
Most everyone in the walleye world knows that fall is the walleyes’ season to bulk up. This is their time to put on the feedbag and build fat reserves for the upcoming winter and to grow their eggs before spring. The finicky walleyes of summer are gone. But what does that mean to your fall walleye fishing plans? Just because walleye are on the feed doesn’t mean they will jump in the boat. You still have to find them, target them and execute a plan.
First, let’s define the season. Fall walleye fishing does not wait for the calendar to say Sept. 20, nor does fall walleye fishing start when the leaves on the trees start to turn. It starts quite a bit sooner in the northern half of the continent.
Learn when to use spinners and related rigs to counter walleye movement and catch more fish.
Walleyes are famous for their nomadic roaming tendencies. Walleye movement is depicted with phrases like, “Here Today—Gone Tomorrow,” or, my favorite, “They don’t have a mailbox.”
Whether you chase walleyes in the Great Lakes, in smaller natural lakes, or in reservoirs, decades of old angling wisdom addresses the roaming ways of walleyes with presentations designed specifically for covering water. One of the time-honored traditions for intercepting walleyes on the move is to cover water with live bait harnesses, using spinners and action floaters.
Locating high potential walleye areas and choosing the most effective bait presentations will increase your opportunity to enjoy great early season walleye action.
Spring walleye fishing can produce of the best walleye action of the year in the upper northern US and southern portions of Canada. Water temperatures are rising, and the fish are starting to move shallow for their yearly spawning cycle. This cycle can start weeks prior to the actual spawn and can stretch a week or two after walleye have spawned out. Spring walleye fishing can produce tremendous action, but timing the bite is important and a few key factors can help you determining when to hit the water and when to wait.
Once female walleye spawn out, they transition between the spawning locations and summer hunting grounds. This tends to be the most difficult period for many walleye anglers. Knowing how to recognize the “fish highways” during the transition will give you the upper hand on the walleye.
Bandit Lures’ newest walleye lure opens a once-secret strategy to every angler and provides a highly valuable walleye trolling lure, especially during the pre-spawn period.
A lure designed for trolling, but also engineered to suspend in the water column? With trolling being a generally steady approach, it might seem like those concepts contradict one another.
In truth, a suspending lure is critical to innovative strategies used secretly for many years by select walleye anglers in the Great Lakes Region and Zander anglers in Europe. Until now, these anglers had to custom weight their favorite Bandits to suspend, which is a touchy process when lures must remain properly balanced and true running to be effective, and it is not something most anglers would want to take on.
That’s why in-the-know anglers have been begging Bandit for suspending version of their favorite trolling lure and what led to the development of the Bandit Suspending Minnow. Let’s take a closer look.
This often-overlooked strategy for trolling or casting crankbaits convinces tentative walleyes to bite and makes aggressive fish even more aggressive.
I’m not referring to the green-bottled beer (sorry Pennsylvanians), but to physically rolling submerged gravel and cobble with crankbaits. Dredging is another term applied to this high-action approach. How do you roll rocks with a crankbait? Velocity, plus depth!
Typically, a power trolling technique, rolling rocks is also a method used by savvy shore anglers and river waders. The “rolling rocks” terminology is quite literal. The goal is to pull the crank with enough velocity that it hits the rocky bottom so hard that the diving lip flips small rocks up and out of the way, plowing a mini furrow in the gravel bottom. Whether you are fishing a pea-gravel bottom or something bigger—marbles, cobble, baseballs, or even melons—instead of the norm of ticking those rocks, this technique begs you to SLAM into the rocks. It’s true that the bigger stuff doesn’t get rolled by the lure, but that’s not for lack of trying!
Fish Ed TV host Jon Thelen offers insights on the factors that influence walleye behavior early in the ice season and how to use that knowledge to find fishing success.
“For the most part, they’re in the same places we left them in the fall when we were in boats,” Jon Thelen said about early ice walleyes. “They tend to be tighter to the shoreline, using main lake points, the first breaks out, and any weeds that are hanging on.”
Two primary factors influence the walleyes’ locations during the first part of the ice season, according to Thelen, who has made a lifelong study of fishing in the North Country and who makes his living teaching others how to catch more fish through Fish Ed TV. First, they follow food sources. As importantly, they are influenced by human activity – specially, fishing pressure – atop the ice.
Early ice offers some of the best opportunities of winter, and it’s a time that many anglers anticipate from the time the safe ice goes away at the end of the previous winter. Ice season will be here soon, so we asked Thelen for insights about how to find and catch the most walleyes during the first part of the ice season.
Sometimes it’s tough to top trust live bait presentations for putting walleyes in the boat or on the bank.
As both hardbaits and soft plastics have gotten better and better you might conclude that live bait is an archaic throw-back to an earlier era; something you don’t really need in a modern walleye arsenal. Not so fast. There are still times and places to bring out the bait bucket – or more likely nowadays – the bait carton or Bait Tamer. And as proof, the renowned Ranger boats tournament walleye models come factory equipped with a Lindy Bait Tamer for the livewell. That’s not an accident!
And this article isn’t talking about aggressive bait approaches like big baited spinner rigs or the various spinning “death” hooks to make bait appear more active. No, this article encourages you to create your own modern incarnation of subtle bait presentations—ways to take a slip bobber or plain-hook bait rig into the modern walleye scene.
Learn the details of a professional walleye anger’s set-up and technique to improve your walleye trolling success.
While interviewing walleye tournament pro Sammy Cappelli, I recalled early childhood memories of accompanying my father on walleye trolling outings. Dad’s 5 1/2-foot solid steel rod sported a knuckle-buster casting reel spooled with black Dacron line, to which a Flatfish was attached, along with two dog-ear clamp-on sinkers squeezed tight to the line.
My gosh, how walleye trolling has changed since the 1950s! The only thing in common between then and now was dad and Cappelli both cut their walleye-fishing teeth on Pymatuning Lake on the Pennsylvania/Ohio border!
We’ll explore the most important factors to consider for stocking your walleye box and picking the lures to pull any given day.
“When the weather is sunny, use silver lures, and when the weather is cloudy, use gold lures. If that doesn’t work, do the opposite.” Old Angling Myth
Ah, to have such a simple choice: Silver or gold? The characters who coined the myth clearly didn’t have the wide gamut of options we have nowadays. In addition to color, add in shapes, sounds, sizes, actions, running depths and more, and the number of possible meals on the menu is almost mind-boggling. Still, we all have our ways to decide what to snap on the end of our lines.