Well, the full moon has come and gone, and we are heading into the new moon this weekend. This is the first time in six years anglers can target walleye in the fall. Chilly conditions prevailed earlier in the month, but many walleye anglers did not care and braved the elements. Lately the weather has been above average with a glimpse of summer still here and there. It is good to see the boat lights out there after dark as the trollers ply the waters for a fall giant. Note there is still the 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. night ban in effect, but with the sun setting earlier and earlier, there is plenty of time to get a couple hours of night fishing in before 10 p.m.
There are many tactics that shine for fall walleye. One of the most popular would be a jig and a minnow or a lindy rig and minnow. Big minnows like chubs and smaller suckers get the nod. Fish should be making a transition back to shallower rocks as the water cools, chasing perch. Fishing the deep rock edges during the day and moving shallower after dark is good game plan.
Trolling after dark is a very popular way to catch a lot of fish as well. Rapalas and other crankbaits work great. Shad bodied baits work well on a short line as they dive deeper than their minnow shape bodied cousins. Minnow-style baits should be long lined to achieve the right depth and often a split shot or two a few feet in front of the bait works well when fishing deeper.
Boat speed should be proportionate to the water temps. The colder the water, the slower you want to troll. Right now, the water is still in the mid-50s, so 1.8-2.0 mph is good, but as it gets colder, speeds in the 1.2- 1.5 range work better. You can always let the fish decide as well. If they are really biting, speed up and see how fast they will still bite. If you are struggling, generally slowing down is best to try to dial in the right speed.
Loose lines and tight lips, Wally