W A L L E Y E   H U N T E R
Fishing Articles by Samuel Forbes
Fall 'Eyes Abound
By Samuel Forbes
As summer has past us and we journey into fall, many outdoorsmen are hanging up their rods and reaching for their rifles. If you are one of these people, you may want to reconsider signing off for the year. These chilly months often give up some of the best walleye fishing of the year and the scenery is spectacular as well. Another attribute is that while many sportsman are out chasing grouse and whitetail, you'll often have the hot spots all to yourself.
Although an avid hunter, I am a walleye fisherman at heart and learned long ago that the autumn months were prime time for fast and furious action right up until ice over. Why is this time of year so productive you may ask? To fully understand, one must think like a fish. You have only one thing to do day in and day out, eat! Throughout the summer, easy meals of baitfish and insects were readily available. Now, as the water gets colder and weeds die off, these easy targets become scarce and finding your next meal becomes more difficult. Suddenly, that strange looking, brightly colored minnow that you ignored all summer now seems surprisingly attractive!
When fishing this time of year, the first thing to consider is the speed of your presentation. Whether you are jigging, live bait rigging, or trolling crank baits, there is one speed that seems to work best and that is SLOW. It follows the pattern of everything below the water and looks more natural. It also gives your quarry a chance to get a good look and make their strike. Hair jigs like marabou work well because even while stationary the fine hairs move and give off a life like action. Crankbaits with a wider, "slow rolling" motion will out produce a tighter, faster wobble.
As the water generally gets clearer as it gets colder, natural colored baits are usually a good bet. Standard baitfish patterns like perch, shad, and shiner are a good place to start. I prefer using a low visibility line like the clear Berkley Trilene and also keeping the bait as far away from the boat as possible to minimize spooking.
The size of your bait is also important. Larger is better when it comes to fall fishing and it never ceases to amaze me how many times this rings true. The reason for this is simple. As a fishes metabolism slows down they don't have the energy to dart around dining on many small morsels throughout the day. They seem to prefer fewer meals of substantially larger size to conserve energy. Countless times I have been in the boat with a friend and seen the guy with the larger lure catch far more fish. Last fall in fact, I was out with a buddy and we were both using floating Rapalas. After my friend had boated his 4th walleye and me being fishless, I asked him what he was doing differently. It turns out, we were both using the silver color pattern but his was a size 11 and mine was a 7! I quickly switched to the bigger lure and started catching fish. It may sound hard to believe but sooner or later you'll experience it for yourself.
Hopefully I have perked your interest enough to try your hand at some fall walleyes. I would never suggest giving up your shotguns and hounds or anything ridiculous like that. Heck, I love a good rabbit chase just as much as the next guy. But the next time you have some freetime, maybe after a morning of successful squirrel hunting, grab your tackle and head to your favorite fishing hole. I think you'll be surprised when you see just how willing those fish are.
See you on the water!!
Copyright © 1998-2000 Walleye Hunter Productions
All Rights Reserved
Since August 1, 1998