Fall walleye fishing tactics vary depending on your body of water. In general, using a six and a half foot medium-heavy rod/reel combo with either spinners or baitcasters usually works well.
Trolling cabbage weed beds, current areas and rocky saddles between islands is often the key to finding fish in shallow lakes. A jig adorned with white rubber minnow or shad is usually chosen as bait.
One of the easiest and most successful methods for targeting fall walleyes is with a simple jig and minnow setup, as walleyes seem to respond eagerly. Jigging can also be helpful when fish gather together near shore or during their fall migrations to shallower water; just make sure your action varies to mimic wounded prey that triggers strikes from wary walleyes.
Jigging requires using a stiff rod and low stretch superline, plus some invisible fluorocarbon leader material to keep the lure free of snags, tied off using an improved clinch or uni-knot knot that holds tight but is invisible to walleyes; this will keep your line and bait from becoming tangled up together.
Once you find an ideal spot for jigging, position your boat between 4-15 feet of water ideally near structure. Also consider using mono or fluorocarbon string between your jig and hook in order to avoid interference from weeds – three feet of 10# fluorocarbon should work great!
Carrying various jig head sizes will help match conditions properly. A buck shot rattle is often effective for fishing nearer the bottom or when current conditions are strong; for deeper water situations or when fish are feeding higher up in the water column, twister tail may prove more productive.
For situations in which currents are weak and walleyes are feeding deeper waters, a 1/4oz jig may be the optimal choice to maintain contact with the bottom while providing more flash and vibration from your lure. This size will enable you to maintain bottom contact while providing some flash with each bite.
The Detroit River is without question the premier walleye jigging river in Michigan and the Great Lakes region. Every fall, thousands of walleyes eager to bulk up on protein invade the river in search of sustenance; making for an extremely exciting time on the water!
Walleyes in the fall tend to feed heavily in preparation for winter and spawning. Large female walleyes in particular need a steady diet of calories in order to produce egg-laying eggs; thus making them susceptible to easy pickings such as minnows dangling before their nose.
Walleyes can also be caught using live bait, with rivers and smaller lakes serving as prime locations to catch these wintering spots. As walleyes begin to move away from lakes to river systems in search of winter shelter, their habits change accordingly.
An effective approach for this scenario is trolling spinner or crankbaits on a slip sinker rigged with heavy weights to make getting them down easier, and keeping a consistent depth throughout your presentation.
As with most fishing tackle, rigging your slip sinker requires attaching three feet of 10# fluorocarbon line to each weight before adding your hook. Fluorocarbon will help hide your lure by reducing visibility; plus it provides better sensitivity than mono to detect even minute movements of baitfish.
Another strategy involves trolling with a crankbait at a slower speed, targeting areas like weed beds, rock edges, humps and sand flats. If you are targeting one specific spot, ensure it has been fully covered before moving onto another one.
Bro has found the ideal lure in this situation is a spinner bait with glow-in-the-dark colors; specifically, Super-Glo Redfish or Perch 1/4-ounce sizes work best, with brighter hues working better in clear waters than more natural hues; earthier hues work best when fishing stained water conditions.
Trolling can also be accomplished by simply dragging a spoon or jig behind your boat and altering its speed and direction for maximum effect. By changing these variables, you can create an “hoppity hoppity darting action that mimics wounded prey’s movement – fluorocarbon lines can further increase this sensitivity.
Walleye migrate into shallower waters as fall turns to winter to feed on abundant baitfish before their spring spawning run begins. One way of finding these hungry fish is trolling shallow-running crankbaits on moonlit nights for maximum efficiency.
Gizzard shad migrate into lakes from nearby rivers during fall, providing anglers with an ideal opportunity to troll large crankbaits like Rattlin’ Fat Rap or Rapala Risto Rap along deep weed beds or rock or gravel shoals to catch protein-packed forage fish like walleye that eagerly consume it as food source.
Walleye are predominantly sight feeders, yet they also use their sense of smell to locate preferred preyfish. Walleye are adept at sensing when prey fish are nearby by monitoring its movement, color and scent stream.
Anglers using trolling in lakes often employ different lure colors to appeal to walleye’s changing moods. On bright, sunny days, lighter lure colors such as yellows and greens tend to work more effectively than darker patterns; at nighttime however, bright silvery patterns often prove most successful.
Color aside, lure size is also of key importance when fishing for trout. A slim profile often works better as it enables quicker presentations than larger lures.
Multiple hooks increase an angler’s odds for success. By adding another hook to their bait, anglers can fish it both straight and swivel retrieves for greater results; both techniques produce great results; however, experienced anglers will quickly develop preferences depending on conditions on particular days or nights.
Saginaw River and other Great Lakes and connecting waters remain excellent walleye destinations during fall fishing in Michigan. Both crankbait trolling and river jigging experience peak activity between October and November, giving anglers ample opportunity to fill their freezer before the ice shuts down open water fishing for another season.
Anchoring & Casting
Walleyes typically stage in deep pools near current breaking structures or island humps during cooler fall days in rivers, where current breaks off of them, with shallow flats on either side offering plenty of action for river anglers. Locating these spots may prove challenging but when found can provide ample action if bait or lure presentation is done naturally so a big female walleye will race from behind an obstruction and grab it before retreating back into deeper water to digest their meal and await another opportunity.
Start off by looking for obstacles such as rocks, rip rap or dock pilings that extend from shoreline into deeper water and create walls of warmer water that walleyes prefer at this time of year.
Once found, anchoring and casting a jig or plastic bait are often your best bet for finding trophy walleyes. Experiment with different speeds, directions and heights until one produces results – jigging allows you to explore shallow flats where these walleyes typically reside.
Some anglers use trolling at a slow pace in order to cover more water and find walleyes scattered throughout a lake. Fishing with a spinner rig tipped with rubber shads or leaches is often an effective method of catching fall walleyes.
Other techniques include using live bait or attaching frozen minnow to a bottom bouncer of either one or two ounces for best results. Light jigs tipped with rubber minnows can also prove effective on certain waters.
No matter which technique you employ, your equipment must be in top condition. Make sure your rod and reel are tuned, the line in great shape and lure hooks sharpened; and use an eight pound test fluorocarbon leader when trolling; this will increase sensitivity while improving hooksets; also consider an inline swivel or snap swivel to avoid line twist.