Walleye locations in the early fall

Posted on September 7, 2011

During late summer and early fall patterns, walleyes can be deep, shallow or anywhere in between. If I've tried to convey one message to other anglers the past few years about fall walleye fishing, it's that walleyes likely will behave differently from one lake to another.

People ask me about walleye depth in late summer. That's easy! The depth of these fish will be anywhere from 2 to 3 feet to 45 feet depending on the lake. OK, it's not quite that difficult, but the point I'm trying to make is that anglers get too hung up on targeting 18- to 22-foot depths.

That's where guys start and that's where they stay. We don't move shallower or any deeper, and that's a mistake. Fish during this forage-rich time of year will move from one spot to another depending on what food sources they're targeting.

So where should we start? First thing in the morning, I check weed flats – the edges or breaklines where deep water meets a shallow flat behind it. Then I'll start using my electronics to investigate down the edge of a flat or dropoff.

If you can combine that kind of structure with micro-features like rocks, or perhaps a gravel bottom, you've hit prime territory in fall. Work it thoroughly before abandoning this type of feature.

As the day progresses, you generally want to work deeper – depending on water clarity and fishing pressure. Night fishing also is very productive in the fall. Working reefs (a long rocky island), along rock points and flats, is a good bet in low light conditions.

In the fall, areas with a hard bottom, rocks and green weeds – like cabbage and coontail – are key areas to work for walleyes.