We have yet to experience any real fall weather and judging from the long range forecast we are not going to see it any time soon. We have not yet had a freeze, or anything near one. The annual fall colors is well behind and is nowhere near a peak. Temperature are holding steady in the mid to upper 50’s and we have had plenty of moisture over the past week. Today we may see some sunshine for the first time in quite a while. The Hayward Chapter of Muskie’s Inc. holds their annual Musky Tournament this weekend and the forecast calls for nice weather. This is a change for previous years when we have had rain, snow, freezing rain and high winds.
We have seen a lot of geese heading south in the mornings. Water temps are in the mid to upper 60’s and just will not go lower. The lakes are very high, because of the heavy rain we have experienced, especially this fall. Weeds are definitely dying off now, especially in the shallows.
Walleye fishing has been fair, but the walleye anglers are waiting for the drop in water temperatures for the best fall fishing. The fish are in the holes and drops, but not staged in them as they are normally by this time of year. You will find fish in the 12 to 14 foot range on the edges of those holes and deeper weed beds. Jigs and minnows are now the best bet, but we are still getting reports of fish on half crawlers also. The fish are still coming into the weeds, or near the weeds, at night and that is still the best time for walleye fishing. The same live bait patterns are happening on the larger lakes.
Bass fishing is tapering off, as the largemouth have started moving to deeper water as those shallow weeds die off. Spinner bait have been working well lately. Slow retrieves are best. Expect to find these fish in deeper green weeds as the fall drops the water temperatures. Smallmouth are still deeper and have changed from feeding on crayfish to searching for minnow concentrations. Jigs and larger minnows can be quite effective in cooler water.
Northern Pike are their usual aggressive selves. Look for greener weed concentrations to hold these fish, but they will move later in the fall to the drops and holes. Larger sucker minnows or chubs work best.
Musky action is better, but not great as the water temperatures are so slow in dropping. We are all waiting to get through the turnover process, but that has been very slow this year. All bait types are working, with everything from surface baits to the big plastics are producing fish. This means the fish are scattered throughout the lake. It could be a few weeks away for the best musky fishing to start.
Panfish action is slowing, as we are getting fewer anglers fishing for them in the fall. The best action has been for crappies and this pattern has been going on for weeks. On many lakes they are still clinging to the weeds in 6 to 8 feet of water. Minnows, small plastic jigs or tube jigs are working for these fish. Perch fishing is also good in the fall in the deeper weeds. Minnows work best.