Fall Walleye in the Weeds

Get out that boat and get some early walleye

Submerged weeds develop as the water warms in the summer. Weedy flats hold baitfish that attract walleyes at night. In fall, weeds decline and small fish are flushed from cover. Walleyes feed aggressively throughout this period. Walleyes can feed in dim light. They have a feeding advantage over most prey species after dark. When fishing these humps I rely on my depthfinder to tell me if anyone is home on these humps. I usually like to look for a good shelf that comes out from an island that has boulders on it. This is the structure that many walleye key in on to rest and ambush their prey as they slide back and forth from the hump to deep water. These are transition areas where the fish come to feed.

These humps provide a structure for baitfish that have moved out into deep water as schools, and are looking for a place to rest. Naturally, what attracts the baitfish also attracts the walleye. The other thing that my BottomLine depthfinder unit allows me to see is how active these fish are. Many times I can go over the hump and I will see that the walleyes are moving up to the top portion of the hump, this signifies that they are in a positive mood and within minutes I should be landing a nice plump walleye in my boat.

Big fish become vulnerable for longer periods in the fall because they move into areas where baitfish are staging, some remaining in the general area through the winter. To catch walleyes during fall transition and early fall consider the tendency for walleyes to move up.

During daylight, if you can't fish during perfect conditions, it is usually better to concentrate on deep fish, rather than shallow fish. You should look for fish holding areas where wind crashes against a barrier or where the wind churns up the water rather than fishing where it is calm. Concentrate on dark water lakes that have a high percentage of fish caught during the day. Sometimes in dark mucky waters, high bright sun filled days trigger a feeding frenzy because the sunlight gets all the tiny critters moving and in the cycle of fishing at the end of the food chain will be the bigger fish.

Constant bottom contact is essential even though it increases the potential for snags. Use a small jig head with a wide hook gap to deliver the bait in wavy conditions. Leeches are an outstanding rock bait because they can take the pounding.

Holding on top of a hump on a windy day is a way to catch trophy walleyes. The tackle is simple and the methods are easy to learn. First, use jigs tipped with a crawler, leech or minnow. The size of the jig should be just enough so you have contact with the bottom.

Whenever you must fish in adverse conditions, being either bright sunny days or changing weather conditions, there should be a two step approach. One way is to slow down your presentation. Go slow, use the bowmount trolling motor and make your presentation very slow. Maybe even put on a single hook with split shot rather than a walking sinker and vibrating blades. Or the second approach is to go fast. Use fast trolling speeds with artificial lures and speed troll breaklines to get the fish active enough to bite.

One word of caution regarding this weed action, the weeds can be very hard on your line especially at the knot. Retie often and use a quality abrasion resistant line such as Stren Easy Cast. This line has the abrasion characteristics and the ease of casting combined. Once you spool up this line you will not want any other.

Walleyes in the weeds are the best bet for late summer fishing. Get out early and stay late because the walleyes will be there all day long. Hope to see you on the water next to your favorite weedbed soon.

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