It’s hard to believe that we are already nearing the end of summer. I have been staying busy over the past month, fishing most days and it has just flown by. It’s been fun and we’ve had some great weather but it’s depressing to think that it will be coming to an end soon. I enjoy fall fishing and will be out on the water until it freezes so there is still plenty of time but I really enjoy our beautiful summers and the fishing opportunities that we have.
Some of my fishing trips over the past couple of weeks have been guide trips where we have been targeting walleyes on Lake of the Woods. It has been some of the best fishing that I have ever experienced with excellent numbers of fish and a few big ones mixed in. It’s been fun and a lot of the people who have been in my boat have said that they never thought they could catch dozens of fish in one day.
The most important thing that I have going on in my boat is my Humminbird electronics are set up to work well to show me fish. I have good power going to my units, which is the most important aspect for them to work properly. Knowing that if I drive slowly over some fish, I’m going to see them on my screens, I have patience to move around until I see a bunch of walleyes before we start fishing. When we do, three of us in the boat often have fish on within seconds of dropping our lines.
My intention here is not to sound “braggy” about my fishing spots or my knowledge, I’m just telling you how I like to approach where I’m going to fish. Do you need electronics to catch walleyes or any species of fish in our lakes, no, but they can make the job a lot easier and finding fish much more efficient. People tell me all the time that they know a good spot and they always catch fish when they go there and that’s fine but when I see the reaction that people have who watch me go through the process of finding fish before we put our lines in the water, they are impressed.
The more that you idle around and look at your electronics, the more that you get an idea for where you will find walleyes. I like to look on flats that stick out off of shorelines, points and humps. These fish are typically going to be found around some kind of structure on the bottom. The best spots have nice flats on them in 16 to 30 feet of water, where groups of fish have room to get together. The humps and points that are really steep, with sharp drop-offs are never as good. If these flats have sharp drop-offs next to them, that’s great but the fish seldom sit on those. They also like the flats as soon as you come off of a point or hump. The more that you look around, the more you can start to call your shots on where you’re going to find schools of walleyes.
I like to look shallower than most anglers in that 16-22 foot range. The fish will get deeper as we get later into the fall but there are a lot more fish in that shallower zone than many anglers realize I think. One of the reasons that they are found in shallower water than maybe they have been historically is because of the massive numbers of crayfish in the lake. There are crayfish out deeper to but the shallower that you go, the more there are. All of the fish in the lake eat them.
When it comes to catching fish, I use soft plastic minnow imitators rigged on a jig head or a drop-shot rig and sure, there are some days where they don’t bite the plastic as well as live bait but I never have any problem catching a bunch of fish. My top baits are a Z-Man Scented Jerk ShadZ, Finesse ShadZ and a Hula StickZ. A traditional jig and minnow continues to catch plenty of fish and is what I often give the guests in my boat to use.
The walleye fishing remains great throughout the fall, get out there, make sure your electronics are getting good power, from fully charged, good batteries and you should be able to find some fish and then catch a bunch of them.