Here is what I know about fall fishing: Weather is miserable and unpredictable at times.
Rain and fall winds have plagued anglers. Breezy conditions and the drop in water temperatures caused a mixing of temperatures and oxygen. Fish species now have the whole lake water column to exist; baitfish scatter. Finding walleyes after turnover is like finding a needle in the haystack. Post-turnover water clarity increases, so on bright days, fish will go deep.
Best fishing action, happens at daybreak and at dusk, but it’s short in duration. Based on my angling experience, expect this for the remaining weeks of the open water season: Success good one day, then not the next. Consistency is out the window.
Not willing to give up, going deep for walleyes may be the only option. Do so with caution and awareness. Walleyes caught out of deep water reduces their chance of survival to around 20 percent.
On Big Sand, anglers have reported catching walleyes in 40 to 45 feet. Big Sand has a protected slot length limit on walleye that requires the release of all walleye caught between 20 to 28 inches, with only one fish over 28 inches allowed in possession. Big Sand, is just one lake in the state with a slot. Fish caught in the protective slot must be released.
The possibility of survival for walleyes caught out of deep water is not good. My best advice is, until freeze up, seek walleyes out on lakes without a protective slot or walleyes that can be caught in shallow water. Look for the remaining green, shallow weed edges and roving schools of hungry walleyes.
Savvy, late-season walleye anglers also turn to rivers and shoreline areas with flowing water. Flowing water attracts and congregates walleyes looking for bait fish that load these areas. Wading offers the best chance for success by casting a shallow-running, narrow pencil-shaped crank bait (plug) after dark. Days before and after the full moon are prime.
Provided there’s stable weather, looking into next week,Thursday, Friday and Saturday could be some of best opportunities for success.
Bass, musky and northern pike anglers are finding cooperative fish, which is typical. Success on these species has been outstanding, consistent all fall in many of our area lakes. Musky and big northern pike action only gets better towards freeze up. Crappie angling is as good as it can get. Crappies suspend over deep water basins of the lake. Electronics show crappie clearly on the screen/ all anglers need to do is get a small jig into the range they are at to catch them.
I, like thousands of state residents, welcome nonresidents and guests looking forward to spending a few hours in the deer stand. It all starts next weekend. Park Rapids is a destination and prime Minnesota whitetail deer hot spot. Like the fishing opener, it’s a time residents cordially move over and welcome visitors to our area. Streets will be busy, restaurants and motels full. Deer hunting season is upon us. It’s hard not to get caught up in the excitement, park the boat, put away the fishing rods, if just for a short time, and savor moments we call the Minnesota deer hunting opener.