We are nearing the end of another open water season, and what a season it’s been! Regardless of the fish you were after this year, the fishing overall was simply remarkable. We started off the year with some great early season crappie. Then, from walleye opener to early July we experienced some of the best walleye fishing I’ve seen for this time of year. Once the hot weather hit in July we switched over to some great northern pike, bass and panfish action. Finally, my favorite time of year, fall. Not only is it one of the most beautiful times to be on the water, it’s also the start of the best smallmouth and walleye fishing of the year. September through November is arguably the best time of the year to consistently catch fish, not to mention more trophy caliber fish are caught during this time period than any other time of the year.
As you read in my last report, the smallmouth bass fishing this year was extremely good, and I expected the walleye fishing in October and November to be the same. Well I wasn’t disappointed; we started off catching great numbers of eater sized walleye (14″-20″) in the shallower lakes around the area. These lakes cool down the quickest so the fish get into their fall patterns first. Then, once we had a stretch of cold weather, usually mid-October, I started fishing some of the deeper lakes in the area.
There are many ways to fish walleye in the fall, but I primarily stick to just a couple of my favorite methods. The first is trolling crank baits after dark in shallow water. I look for rocky stretches of shoreline with patches of vegetation. I like to troll #5 and #7 Lindy Shadlings in 3-10 feet of water. I troll at about 2.5-.8mph depending on the water temps. The colder the water the slower I will troll.
The second method is jigging 1/4-5/8oz jig heads tipped with fatheads or shiners. It’s critical when using this technique that you fish tight to the bottom (0-6″ off bottom). I look for the deepest areas on the lake and fish the nearest point or steep break. These are the areas that hold the majority of the fish in the fall. I usually start on the side of the break and move shallower until I locate active fish. Once you locate fish you should be able to target that same depth for the rest of the day. In the last three weeks (late fall) we’ve had numerous trophy sized walleye (28″-30″), along with a pile of fish in the mid to upper 20’s as well.
The extended forecast is showing some very cold weather coming. As good as this year’s open water fishing has been, all good things must come to an end. On the bright side, it won’t be long and we’ll be able to walk on water!
(For weekly updates on fishing conditions in the Alexandria lakes area please click the link at the top of the page to listen or go to www.lindyfishingtackle.com)