Top 5 Fall Walleye Fishing Tactics

Autumn is a wonderful time of year with mild temperatures, beautiful scenery and big fish searching for an easy meal before freeze up.  It's the later fact of fall that gets me excited to drop a line in the water.

This past fall was the first time I actually had the chance to dedicate time for some fall fishing.  I had the last week of September and the first week of October off, so we packed up and headed off to Canada.  This had been an unusually warm Fall and I was concerned that I might hit the fall turnover.  This is a period when the water temperature throughout the lake hits around 4 degrees Celsius and it mixes top to bottom.   This occurs because water is most dense at 4 degrees Celsius.  The water during turnover becomes murky and the fish are usually turned off the chew for a few days on either side.  Lucky enough though I didn't have to deal with fall turnover at any of the lakes we visited.

We went after some big pike at other lakes, but we stuck to our home base for a few days and went walleye fishing.  Even though this is a small lake and not really known to hold huge walleye we had fun fishing with great numbers and steady action.

Previously I have come up empty handed when trying for walleye in the fall, so what was the problem? Well here are a few tips I learned this fall that may help you catch more fish.


#1 Spread Thin: In the Fall fish tend to be more spread out since the whole water column is now at a suitable temperature with high oxygen concentration.  Keeping this in mind using a strategy that covers a lot of water will help put you on more fish.  For example; I spent some time drifting with a bottom bouncer and spinner / floater set up that worked really well finding walleye along a drop off in water from 20-30 feet deep.  I find drifting or slow trolling a bottom bouncer in the fall is more effective than a crank bait.  Walleye tend to take the slower moving presentations better with colder water temperatures.

#2 Key Summer Structure: Often the key summer locations like mid lake humps and rocky main lake points will still hold fish in the fall.  These well known spots that are often covered by the weekend warriors are largely forgotten as fall approaches.  The truth is these locations may even become more productive into the fall as fish stack up to feed in these areas.  During the fall weed growth dies off and bait fish are left only to the rocky areas to take cover.  These bait fish are what those larger walleye will be searching out during the fall binge.
#3 Subtle Presentation: When the big flashy summer baits are not working you have to downsize and slow it down.  Remember these fish are exposed to falling temperatures and are sluggish at times with the fluctuating weather patterns of fall.  So go for a slow subtle presentation.  You might consider using a slip float that will hold your presentation in place just like dead sticking on the ice.  This is a highly effective method for fall walleye.

#4 The Minnow:  A top fall fish magnet is the jig and minnow.  It is simple, has been around for a long time and still produces catches of large numbers of fish.  When you find them drop this presentation down and you might be into some non stop action.  Don't forget that simple works!

#5 Big Bait = Big Fish:  In the fall this is especially true for walleye.  If you want to catch a big one and you're fishing a lake where they roam then GO BIG!  A great fall presentation is working large swimbaits 5-6 inches in length slowly through the water column.  Give it a few cranks and let it fall, crank it a few and repeat.  This slow retrieve with that tantalizing tail flicker will have some huge walleye going crazy this fall.  Give it a try with a Big Hammer swim bait.  These soft baits can't be beat for fall fishing!

Hope these few tips will help you put more walleye in the boat this next fall.  Go give it a try.

Till next time, Tight Lines!

The Fishing Doctor


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