The beautiful mild weather has made this fall one of the nicest I can remember here in Alexandria. With consistent highs in the 50’s and 60’s, I’ve noticed a record number of anglers still out on the water enjoying the fishing. Instead of just a couple adult diehard anglers in a few boats, I’ve been seeing numerous boats with whole families out together. It’s great to see everyone enjoying this gorgeous weather. I even got my two year old son out for a few walleye, which he can’t seem to get enough of.
The fishing overall has been excellent. We’ve been experiencing one of the best smallmouth and crappie bites I have ever seen, for both size and numbers. I think we were close to 1000 smallmouth this year, and I lost count on the number of trophy smallmouth we caught. It was truly amazing. They start biting well in early September and with the mild temps they really didn’t slow down much. We fished shallow rock and steep sand breaks with minnow and frog baits. With the water temps still hovering around 50 degrees, I think you could still do quite well in 6-10 feet of water.
The crappie are also still biting like crazy! I’ve fished 4 different lakes for crappie in the past two weeks and I was able to catch big ones on all of them. The number of crappie in the 11-12” range and bigger right now in Alexandria is staggering. About 7-8 years ago we had the perfect crappie spawning conditions and many lakes just exploded with small crappie. Fast forward to today and our lakes have an incredible number of quality crappie. The best technique is a jig and a minnow fished right above the fish. They love to feed up, so it’s hard to resist a bait dangling just out of reach. I like to drive around until I read a nice school of crappie and then fish them until they move. Then, I start up the motor to find another school and repeat. A low quality graph is all you really need to fish this way.
Now for the downside to this beautiful mild weather, the water seems to just be too warm to get a quality walleye bite going. If history has taught me anything, it’s when we experience a big cold snap in early to mid-October it really gets the walleye eating, and this year that really never happened. Sure, we had excellent days of walleye fishing, but never a consistent fall bite that most anglers are used to. It’s hard to say at this point if we will get a strong walleye bite before ice up or not? One thing is for sure, I’ll be out there trying!
If I do get into the walleye here late season I’ll let you know on either my audio report or a quick written report. I’ll also update you on the ice conditions frequently as we get into the ice fishing season. Good luck!