Desperately Seeking Walleye In Autumn
By Iain S Loveman
The first day of autumn typically falls on September 22 or 23, but to walleye fishermen, Labor Day marks the start of fall.
This is due to the fact that fish are vacating their summer hangouts and moving on.
When trolling structure or fishing shallow weed lines produce fewer walleye, you think where did they all go?
This is known as the start of the fall transition period and it can begin as early as mid-August.
So now in order to find the walleye you so desperately seek, you will have to do a little detective work.
|Dying weeds are your first clue that the transition has come. Weeds begin dying from colder overnight temperatures and what most people don’t understand is baitfish will only stay in the weeds as long as they are very green.
When the weeds start dying, walleye leave the shallow-water weed areas.
The good news is, not all lakes are affected at once. Shallow, dark water lakes experience the transition first and deep, clear water lakes are not affected until later in the fall.
The transition can be frustrating if you don’t know where to locate walleye. The thing to remember is, fish migrate to predictable areas and gather in big schools according to size. Locate the big ones and it’s like you found gold.
Your second clue that the transition has come is fish are not spread all over the lake anymore. Walleye tend to be in key spots in the deepest part of the lake.
Now you might be asking yourself, what are the key spots?
The best place to locate walleye is sandy areas. These include sand flats, sand points and sand humps. Typically in September you will find walleye in spots 15 feet deep and less. Later in the fall they travel to deeper water.
In spots 15 feet deep and less, a good quality sonar fishfinder can be your best friend. Walleye tend to hug the bottom so they may be difficult to see, but not impossible.
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Using bottom tracking and the zoom feature on your fishfinder will often pick up on walleye that hug the bottom. The rule for checking shallows is simple. Keep your boat in deeper water, cast to the top of the structure and work your way back down.