Fall Is Time for Indiana Walleye
It’s that time of year again: decision time- do you winterize your boat and store your gear as cold weather approaches?
For some, it’s time for long days in the timber awaiting the buck of a lifetime. But, maybe you one of those who haven’t made the transition to hunting yet, or perhaps you’ve been fortunate to have bagged your buck for the season. In that case, I say No; keep fishing, especially for those Indiana walleye.
As the Corps of Engineers begin winter draw down of our impoundments the water temps are falling. The lakes have stabilized from the recent fall turnover and walleye have put on the feed bags. It becomes a magical time of year, concentrating fish in large schools of hungry predators. Anglers can find fish almost anywhere, and can use about any tactic they prefer and still catch nice limits of fish. The best part of this time of year, pleasure boaters are gone and a lot of the angling pressure with is absent as well.
With winter draw down of the reservoirs, there is now a lot more current in the lake. As water levels drop and current increases, walleye will pull out to edges of points and steep breaks. Most times they are found from 20 to 40 foot of water. Use your electronics as you drive over these areas to search for fish usually below schools of bait.
Blade baits, Jig’n Raps and spoons are a go-to tactic. Drop them down just above the fish and rip and jig them. Another proven method is to use large minnows just above the fish; usually chub minnows work best. Remember walleye, like crappie, tend to attack their prey from below. A method I like to use is a 3/8 pink or chartreuse jig and minnow combination. Leave the reel bail open and lightly hold your line with the trigger finger. Once you feel that subtle tap, allow them to have a foot of line before setting the hook.
The fall sun is also lower in the sky this time of year. Light sensitive walleye can be found extremely shallow during this time of year. I have personally caught them in a foot of water mid-day. A lot of bass anglers, ripping jerk baits and cranks snag the occasional walleye along rip rap near deep water access areas.
During this time period, bait will move into the shallows to warmer waters. With either moderate staining, or a subtle wind chop to break up the sun’s direct rays, walleye will come into the same areas to warm and feed too. A jig and crawler combination will often yield large numbers of fish though most of these are the smaller class of fish in the 10- to 14-inch range. Just remember that shallow fish spook very easily from noise and shadows of boats.
So don’t be in such a hurry to allow the fishing tackle to collect dust and the boat to sit under falling leaves. Get out there and enjoy the remaining days of soft water; mark a few waypoints on that GPS unit for ice season. Enjoy our WildIndiana!