By Warren Fisher | October 13, 2022
As temperatures start to plummet across the northern region, the first thing that comes to mind to many anglers is hungry fall walleyes.
Fall is arguably the best time to target these toothy critters not only for the quantity of fish, but also for the number of trophy-sized fish that seem to emerge from the depths.
In this article we’ll talk about basic gear, key locations, and timing everything right; in hopes to give you the inside scoop on this feeding frenzy!
#1 Basic Gear
First and foremost, fall is a great time to target walleyes because of the inexpensive and simple gear needed to get great results.
My go-to setup is a medium extra fast action rod paired with a Piscifun Carbon X II 3000. In my opinion, this reel is perfect for targeting aggressive walleyes because of the quick yet smooth retrieve when snapping various glide baits through the water. If glide baits like Shiver Minnows and Jigging Raps don’t seem to cut it, many anglers have great success popping hair jigs across structure, slow rolling crank baits over shallow rocks, or even dragging a jig and a minnow through congregated fish. Contrary to finicky summer patterns, fall is a great time to get familiar with a variety of presentations and get great results.
#2 Key Locations
As we transition into the colder months, a dissipating thermocline moves fish from basin-like summertime structure to steep breaks and jagged drop offs adjacent to deep water. These vertically mobile fish tend to be easier to pinpoint as they relate heavily to steep structure. As a general guideline when going out to target walleyes in the fall, I study prior wind forecasts and target windblown breaks, rock points and even weed edges that dump off into deep water. Windblown structure might be uncomfortable to fish because of wind and waves but can pay dividends as these fish wait to ambush bait fish cruising by.
You’re probably thinking, this is great information, but how can I implement it into a game plan that I can execute?
Depending on the body of water you’re fishing, there is usually a morning and evening bite window. Here on upper Green Bay, the bite windows are short and chaotic due to the gin clear water. As I roll onto a piece of structure, I often deploy the trolling rods and drive around.
I am diligently looking at my live imaging and side scan for active pods of fish relating to a piece of structure. Getting bit while trolling and looking for fish can give you key hints on hot colors, the start of a bite window, and even a speed in which the fish are interested in.
Once a pod of fish has been located, it's time to get the Piscifun Carbon X in hand and go to work using glide baits, hair jigs, and crank baits as stated above. If the live-well is lacking and the sun is diminishing, the best is probably yet to come! The night bite on clearer bodies of water can be astounding, as the fish slide up shallow feeding on shiners and other bait fish under the moon-lit skies.
All things considered, fall can be one of the hottest times to target walleyes. Using a variation of baits as mentioned above on an active piece of steep structure can be an effective way to put a bunch of walleyes in the boat this fall.
Get out and enjoy the crisp fall sunrises and sunsets, you won’t be disappointed!