This is the time of year many local fisherman get into walleye fishing above all other species. The fall of the year brings the walleyes into bigger schools and shallower water as the lakes and rivers cool with the approaching winter. Walleyes will be looking for food for the cold water season and now is their time to go hunting.

There are many ways to take advantage of this time of year in your choice of bait and technique, but I prefer to go trolling. Trolling allows the fisherman to cover a lot of water with a variety of baits as they locate the schools of walleyes. I usually start out with crankbaits, like the Rapala #11 and #13 stick baits, running on 10-pound to 12-pound fluorocarbon line with a snap weight, to get the lures to run about 12 feet to 15 feet deep with 150 feet of line out. If the water is reasonably clear I’ll also attach a couple of side planners to get the line out away from the boat.

Now here’s the tricky part and where a lot of anglers will argue with me, but I like trolling at about 4 to 5 miles per hour. I know conventional wisdom says that in cool to cold water fish slow down and therefore so should the fisherman also slow their presentation. But I have never known a walleye not to chase a meal, especially when they are hungry and feeding up for the season.

The reason I believe this method works, and I know that it does, is the fish doesn’t have time to examine the bait as it swims past and instinctively swims after and strikes the bait on impulse and hunger. We have caught numbers of walleyes in 37-38 degree water using this method over the years, and any fisherman can catch them all day long with this method.

I’ve winterized my boat for the season, but I am going out with an old friend and guide next weekend to see if we can hook up with a few muskie on some nearby lakes, wish us luck. Until next time…keep a tight line.

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