Top techniques for hammering autumn walleyes
There are a number of 'best' ways to catch fall walleyes. Crankbaits via leadcore line or longline trolling lead the pack in my opinion. You'll also find me casting crankbaits at rock piles, reefs and green weed flats.
When trolling cranks, I'll sticks with No. 5s, 7s and 9s, depending on how thick and troublesome weeds are. For casting, I'll use No. 5s, and if encountering lots of weeds, then I'll go lipless.
Always pay attention to noise, and use your electric moter if fishing shallow. If a walleye takes your crankbait, stop and jump over to a jig-and-fathead combination. Also don't be afraid to use thin plastic minnows, like Gulp, especially around deeper water.
When longlining shallow flats and rock piles at night with crankbaits, you'll usually see me working via the kicker motor. I'm running from 1 1/2 to 2 miles per hour, but don't be afraid to kick up speed.
Live-bait rigging with redtail chubs is very productive for fall walleyes, and I experiment with multiple kinds of live baits, especially leeches. A lot of people don't consider leeches in the fall, but they'll work well during an early fall pattern.
If you tie your own live bait rigs, the most important factor is to vary the snell length, from, say, 5 to 8 or 9 feet. Hook your minnow, like a redtail chub, through the tail and use a large hook. Always – and this applies to all fishing for all species – make sure that hook gap is not filled with live bait or otherwise there's nothing left for the hookset. So often, we blame the fish for shaking off when it's usually our mistake!
Though I avoid crawlers, at least until temperatures drop, you will find me employing jigs (with some sort of dressing) with fatheads.
If the fish are demanding bigger baits, you can use a jig and a redtail, then dress it up with up a fathead, so it appears as a larger food source. I've seen redtails outproduce fatheads significantly.
Whatever live bait you use, make sure it's healthy, and when live-bait rigging, use a heavy enough weight to run your line from the rod tip entering the water at 45-degree angle. This helps you detect what kind of bottom you're in.
This enables you to set the hook and feel fish efficiently.
When fishing breaklines, especially, live-bait rigs will work in the fall. Concentrate in areas where a point meets a softer area, like sand. That's a hotspot!
A bobber also can work in tandem with live bait on certain bodies of water, especially up along rocks piles or green weed areas.