As we approach the late summer, changes are in the works on our central Minnesota lakes. We have been dealing with water temperatures in the high 70s for several months, and now with the temperatures dropping into September, fishing will pick up as the fall turnover begins.
The fall turnover means the water temperatures are cooling and the warm, surface water will now sink. The entire lake will have the same temperature from shallow to deep. This can take possibly two weeks to happen, and when it does, get ready for some serious action!
Gamefish tend to really put on the feedbag when the turnover hits, and the best fishing of the open water season happens as well.
This is why the best fishing of the season is almost always late September and all of October. The cooling nights in the 30s and 40s is what brings the water temperatures down, and after several nights with the cool temperatures, the changes begin.
My favorite technique for catching turnover crappies and walleyes is trolling crankbaits, aggressively. In the fall, gamefish are used to feeding on large minnows as they now have achieved a larger size after a season of growth. The tiny minnows of the spring are now full-sized and very near three inches in length. I use crankbaits that run shallow and are about 3 to 5 inches in length, matching the size of a year old minnow.
Fall turnover fish are shallow fish, and I stick to depths of 8 to 12 feet depending on the lake and water clarity.
For this guide and writer, the fall bite is my favorite time of the open
water season because the fish are aggressive and many anglers have left the lakes, leaving plenty of room to take advantage of the best angling of the season.