Fishing tip: Downsize jigs and increase minnow size to catch more fall walleyes
Fall fishing is in full swing. Lakes are cooling and either at or beyond turnover (which mean catching fish around the challenging “fall turnover.”) Walleyes actively are seeking larger minnows and perch that have been growing throughout the warmer summer months.
Use your electronics to locate areas with pods of baitfish around parts of the lake with steep drop-offs and you’ll likely find walleyes nearby.
A jig-and-minnow is a go-to presentation for many anglers this time of year, but there are a couple things you can tackle to be a more productive jig fisherman.
Go small on the jig but big on the minnow. You want a jig that is just heavy enough to get your offering to the bottom, but not so heavy that it will completely restrict the movement of your minnow. I will use about an 1/8-ounce jig and a 3- to 4-inch minnow. This presentation gives your minnow a more natural look and also allows the fish to take the bait without the weight of the jig inhibiting them from getting it in their mouth. I mostly use rainbow minnows but also find shiners, sucker minnows, and large fatheads working well, too. When fishing deep water or during windy conditions, consider increasing your jig size to a 3/16- or 1/4-ounce.
When using small jigs and large minnows, give the fish a chance to take the bait deep enough into their mouth before you set the hook. Otherwise, you will just tear off the minnow. When I get a bite I just drop the rod tip for a second or two before setting the hook. If you are still getting bit short, give it a little more time before setting the hook. By using the lighter jig heads you can drop the tip of the rod without the weight of the jig pulling the minnow from the fish’s mouth.
Good luck fishing and stay safe!