So what is this fall Walleye fishing thing? You’ll note that most of the Master Anglers this past two weeks have been Pike Trophies…and with good reason. Both anglers and pike are looking for walleye in their old haunts, and finding a bit of difficulty. So I checked in with a few fish biologists for more help in locating the elusive fall walleye and here’s some tips from Fisheries Research Biologist John Pitlow Jr.
Remember the basics: Carefully examine its eyes. Not only are these features the origin of its common name and a prominent part of their appearance, but their unique physiology permits this fish to adapt into an ecological niche that is occupied by few other species. Walleye are perfectly adapted for capturing prey in very low light, or even in total darkness. At the same time in most clear waters that they occupy, they forage most effectively at dawn and dusk when the prey fishes have limited vision but remain active. For this reason, walleye are termed low light condition feeders, and fishing success is traditionally best
during these periods.
Autumn in the life of a walleye is a time of continual change. The water temperature is declining; natural structure such as aquatic vegetation that has provided protective cover all summer, is dying; lakes and reservoirs with thermal stratification in summer are turning over; and forage, that was abundant just a short time before, is now scarce or too large to swallow. Fishing techniques in this period include back trolling with a slip-sinker rig baited with a minnow or casting a leadhead dressed with a minnow. Leadheads tipped with minnows or count-down minnow plug type lures are very productive. Long-lining in low light periods, close to a rocky shoreline, or shallow reef with rocky structure with a floating-diving plug can also score in the fall. Sometimes drift fishing over deep pool areas with a twister-tail or minnow-dressed leadhead is also a good method. Presentation should be slower in fall, and make sure the bait or lure is fished just off the bottom. One walleye fishing expert summed up the three best walleye presentations in fall as slow – slower – slowest
Just ask Jim Rule of Morton, IL…who netted and released this 26.5 inch 7 pound Walleye at Zig Zag Lake on a Power Worm…on August 28th. Congrat’s Jim!