Fall Walleye Tips

By Mike Frisch - September 13, 2016
The fall months have reputations for being some of the best months of the entire year for fishing as most fish species, walleyes included, are actively feeding during this time. However, simply hitting the water and wetting a line does not guarantee success. In fact, because fall walleyes can be shallow to very deep and everywhere in between, and because they can be caught lots of ways, this can be one of the most challenging of times as well. Here are some suggestions for increasing your odds for walleye fishing success this fall.
The author and a young guide client with a walleye caught last fall while fishing "fast"!

Check various fishing depths

Two falls ago, guide clients and I caught walleyes from 4-feet of water one day. The next day, we found active fish in 42-feet of water on another lake. Typically, I like to target fall walleyes in shallow, weedy lakes by searching for still living, green weeds which often occur in water depths ranging from 3- to 10-feet. Deeper lakes, on the other hand, often mean walleyes holding on sharp drop-offs where main lake structure tumbles into the depths.

These are only general rules, however, and for that reason I like to keep an open mind when hitting the water. And, if the fish don't appear to be following "the rules," then I stay on the move looking for fish using my electronics to aid my search.

Incidentally, the past three years, I have been using Raymarine multi-function display units and have been relying on their state-of-the art CHIRP technologies to help me locate walleyes. I have been very impressed with how well they help reveal walleyes and other fish, regardless the depth or cover they are holding in.

Fish "fast"

When fall walleye fishing comes to mind most anglers, this one included, typically think of jig and minnow combinations and, for good reason as jigs and minnows account for good catches. The past couple falls, however, I have been staying with my summer "power" fishing methods longer with good success. Spinner rigs tipped with night crawlers and fished at 1.0- to 1.5-mph have, in fact, put lots of fish in my boat even into October. This method has been productive on the edges of weeds, or what's left of them, in small, shallow lakes. Deeper, clearer waters have been best attacked by also using a bottom bouncer and fishing fast, but by trading the spinner for a plain snell tipped with a night crawler.

These faster fishing methods attract and trigger fish every bit as a good as a jig and minnow on most day. Plus, they have the added advantage of allowing me to fish faster meaning I can put my bait in front of more fish during a fishing day.

Sleep in!

Summer's heat often means a walleye bite that peaks early in the morning and again during late evening. During the fall, however, especially as fall progresses and the water cools, the bite often peaks during mid-day as the water warms to its daily peak and the fish get most active. For that reason, lots of the best fishing action occurs during afternoons.

Fall often means some of the year's best walleye fishing. If your goal is to get in on some of that good action this fall, consider using some of the tips just presented. Good luck with your fall fishing and, as always, remember to include a youngster in your next outdoors adventure!

Author Mike Frisch
Mike Frisch
Mike Frisch is a fishing guide, tournament angler, and outdoor writer who also presents School of Fish, a 3-hour kids fishing class.. Mike lives in western Minnesota and is a multi-species guide on Ottertail, Minnewaska, Miltona, Alex Chain and Ida, as well as several smaller bodies of water in western Minnesota. He is also an avid bowhunter.