Signs of good walleye fishing are in the air

With the cooling air temps and the shorter days, the walleyes are feeding heavily on the given forage in the watershed. These fish are bulking up for the long winter and the spring spawn.

Even in this cold water, these fish are very aggressive and will easily attack a flashy presentation. These fish are going to become very active in the coming weeks and there is no time like the present to plan an outing to find these active fish.

With the falling water temperatures, the walleyes are making their migrations up toward the dams and their wintering holes. Personally during this time of year I like to break out the heavy clothes and the neoprene waders and start chasing the marble eyes during the cold evening hours. Wading allows me to hit areas of the rivers that might not be accessible by boat or from shore.

These fish are holding in the deeper holes surrounding the rocky flats in the rivers.  These flats tend to congregate the baitfish and the walleye will move up out of the holes and onto these flats to school up the bait and eat at will. Look for stretches of river that have long gravel flats with slower, deeper water nearby. The water change doesn’t need to be very drastic, but enough to slow down the current a bit and allow the fish a place to hide in ambush.

On some rivers you will find that the walleye will actually tend to hold tighter to a muddy bottom that is near a flat. The bottom structure is important, but not as important as the transitions between the structures. By this I am talking about a transition between rock and mud or from a rocky flat to a slow eddy. Key in on these transitions areas.

There are several bait presentations that will allow you to probe any depth of water and get into areas that are holding fish. The key is to locate these fish-holding areas during the daylight hours and then you can find them much easier in the darkness at nighttime. Not only will you find a walleye or two, you could also tangle with a big smallmouth or even a muskie.

Just because the air temp has dropped and the water is cold doesn’t mean that you have to hang up the waders and the spinning rods. It is just the start of another opportunity. Don’t be afraid of the dark, get out in the river and find some of those ole marble eyes.

Look for my next piece in Illinois Outdoor News as I will delve further into the fall walleye bite from both shore and boat.

Good luck out there.

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