Harvest Moon Walleye

By John Andrew - October 1, 2011
As the water turns over (going on now) which is well under way in Vilas, Oneida and Iron County in northern WI. in the shallower lakes, the deep clear lakes will be turning quickly, Walleye are already on the bite, big time.

Are we like the great lakes, no, of course not, but we do have thousands of Walleye eagerly biting, right now, for anyone who wants to learn how to catch them and it's easy, this time of year.

As the thermocline continues to drop down lower and lower in your favorite lake, (if your lake is deep enough for a thermo cline) the daytime activity of the Walleye gets stronger and stronger. The tasty table fare of these fish draws a large attraction for anglers, who are in the know.

Ok, we can still catch them in the weeds, although, the main lake basin Walleye are where we are looking for our mid day catch and all my clients want to be home for dinner by 5 PM. We begin looking around the ledges, drop offs, sides of deep humps, deep flats and deep contours of any lake, again, we can still catch them near weeds, although deep is a more consistent bite for my clients. Prowling along these areas with our Lawrence H.D.S. locater, (or any other up dated locater) we can spot the individual fish or the humps of fish located on the bottom, sometimes they are piles of fish, they look like rocks on the bottom. Now, this is in deep water, where most rock ledges, rock piles, points and bars stop. Our fish are deeper than that. We are looking along main lake basin drop offs, this is where our fish are active and biting, now, right now, this time of year. As the fall progresses, the central and southern lakes of Wisconsin will also do the same. This happens every year. If you can brave the weather, if you can locate the fish and if you are good at boat control, you will catch them, with these described techniques.

We like to use a lead head jig tipped with a Red Tail Chub, I like to use what are called, (exacto's) these are the perfect size Red Tail Cubs that fit on the jig the way I hook them. About 1 ½ inches long, sound small, well, we do very well with this size, again, this is because of the way I hook the minnow. Does size matter, well it does if you are after numbers and 95 % of my clients want to catch Walleye, not just 5 or 6 fish in a whole day. Having the slow approach is the critical concept to deep fishing, slow means slow, it's that simple, no fast drifting, no guessing, if you are in contact with the bottom you will get the strikes. Keeping in contact with the bottom is the essential technique for deep fishing, no, you do not want to drag the bottom with a jig, simply lift and drop, slowly, but you must maintain bottom contact, this is working now, do it.

You can use a lindy rig, or a floating jig, we like to use a lead head jig. Depending how deep you are fishing will determine how big a jig you should use. No ½ oz. jigs, will it work? yes, but a 3/8 oz. jig will allow the fish to hold on longer allowing you time to set the hook. Then there is the ¼ oz. jig, with a stinger hook in deep water, remember, deep is relative to the water you are fishing. We sometimes use a 1/8 oz. jig with a stinger hook in 40 feet deep water on the bottom on a calm sunny October or November day, with 6 lb. test Berkley Fire Line. This very thin diameter line allows for you to feel even a 1/8 oz. jig in 40 ft. deep of water, while on the bottom and is required when the bite is slow. A stinger hook increases our catch (when in glass calm conditions by 30%). Remember, this is in calm water lake fishing, not river fishing. When fishing deep, in breezy conditions we are using a heavier jig, but still maintaining bottom contact at all times, as the fish are strongly relating to the bottom, after lake turn over. We use our trolling motors to slow us down and gently to drift with the breeze, which allows us to present our baits more accurately. I like to fish certain lakes with certain wind direction, why, because certain main lake basins are better fished due to the lake basin shape.

Once located, you can troll for them, as long as your presentation is tight to the bottom, or close to it. Up here in the described counties, trolling is allowed only in a few impoundments, such as the Willow Reservoir, located in north western ONEIDA COUNTY WISCONSIN, this impoundment is loaded with Walleye, spring, summer, fall and winter, record numbers of Walleye keep coming out of this water. Natural reproduction is very good here and several year classes are being caught. As well as BIG MUSKELLUNGE LAKE in VILAS COUNTY WISCONSIN, now, there is no trolling here on this lake, but year round catches of Walleye are common with fish from 15 to 22inches being normal. These are prime examples of fantastic main lake basin Walleye that are available to you right now.

There are several other lakes that the main lake basin technique works and these lakes can be from 25 to 100 ft. deep, that's right, you read it correctly, as deep as over 100 ft.

If your lake, has a good population of Walleye and does not have any trout in that body of water, (this does make a difference) you will catch Walleye after turn over very deep, during the middle of the day. This sometimes will happen from mid September thru the month of May, depending on your geographical location. Now, there are also several other factors involved with this technique, but we are going to move on with our location and methods.

We are producing Walleye now in the creek channels and deep water of the Turtle Flambeau Flowage, The Willow Reservoir, The Rainbow Flowage, Fence Lake, Boulder Lake, Presque-isle Lake, Crawling Stone Lake, Lake Tomahawk, Lake Nokomis in Heafford Junction Wisconsin and several others. Remember, this is happening now, in Vilas, Oneida and Iron County Wisconsin and soon will be happening in your area, enjoy. As all of my advertising and web site clearly quote, NO FISH, NO PAY, I belong too and advertise in, the Minocqua Chamber of Commerce, Rhinelander Chamber of Commerce, Manitowish Waters Chamber of Commerce and The Mercer Chamber Of Commerce.

I am attending the Wausau WI. Sport Show in October of this year and again, in February of 2012, the Eau Clair WI. Sport Show of 2012 and the Rockford Sport Show of 2012 with seminars, please come along.

Stay positive, think clearly, do not listen to negative talk and do not listen to negative people.

Author John Andrew
John Andrew
Captain John Andrew is the owner and operator of The Angler's Choice Guide Service. John began fishing on Wisconsin's Big St. Germain Lake in 1964 at this grandfather's lakefront cabin. As John's passion for fishing grew he apprenticed under legendary Wisconsin Northwoods guide Jules Novak before he began his own guiding career. John holds two World Records in the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall Of Fame as well as two Outstanding Angling Achievement awards. Click here for more information on John Andrew and The Angler's Choice Guide Service.