If you want to learn how to catch fall walleye then my best suggestion is find the hottest walleye fisherman in your area and go fishing with him/her. The picture to the left is my biggest walleye that I caught in September of 2011 and it was hooked on our first drift and about 30 seconds after my bottom bouncer and walleye spinner rig hit the bottom.
Now first off I need to apologize for the clarity of the picture because all we had were cell phones at the time. Secondly this fall walleye did not show up well in my white sweatshirt so they threw me a blanket to help see the fish better. One thing I can tell you is we didn’t fish very long because the wind came up quickly and with 5 ft rollers it was just nasty out there. River walleye fishing can be a lot of fun, but when the wind picks up you either leave or try and fight the wind. Normally we always leave but if the walleye are biting we stick around.
How to Catch Fall Walleye In Windy Conditions
To be honest with you, if you are fishing in wind it absolutely sucks. I hate fishing in wind, I hate trying to keep the boat on line in the wind and to be honest, I just HATE wind. However, every single time we have stayed out long enough in the wind we have caught fish. In fact the biggest fish we have ever caught always came during windy conditions when we were about to throw in the towels. These walleye tips below should give you some ideas on how to catch fall walleye.
Walleye, for some crazy reason know that bait fish will be blow up against a wall or the migrate towards the bank that is getting hit head on by the wind. Tip #1 is we have caught the majority of 10+ lb fish in these wind blown areas and when the bite is on, you will stick around even if your nerves are shot. What we try our best to do is stick to our trolling line regardless of speed. If we need to kick in the trolling motor then we will use heavier bottom walkers, just as long as our nightcrawler harness is on the bottom (or near the bottom). Once we have finished trolling that particular line into the wind, we will turn around and pull plugs or crankbaits downwind. My favorite is the Rapala shad rap and a close second is the hot shots. I know a lot of my friends do not have success on these lures but they do have their favorite cranks and plugs they use with success.
Do not forget when the walleye strike a crankbait they will attack it hard, soft and something in between. It is weird but the walleye I caught last year on cranks had a soft bite and earlier in the season they hit it really hard. Not sure how to explain it other than sometimes they are more aggressive and other times they are not. However one thing is for certain you will not feel how hard they hit if you are using a lot of weight to help you reach 30 ft depths. My trick is to use my bottom bouncer add about 4 ft of leader and then tie on my crank bait. We always troll this walleye setup upriver and always troll worm harnesses downstream.
Some folks use the nets to help them from drifting and if I wasn’t a wimp, I would probably start using them as well, but since I have never used one or been in a boat that used one, I have just stayed away. Some folks use buckets to help them stay under control during windy conditions but again, we have not. Usually, if we do not catch fish within 30 to 60 minutes of fishing in wind, we leave. Only when the walleye bite is on, will be stick around.
How To Catch Fall Walleye The Lazy Way
If the wind is absolutely against us or we just cannot keep the boat in our trolling lanes, then we have tried to anchor using a big time river anchor. About the only time we use this method is if we have pin pointed where the walleye are and we can anchor the boat within a casting distance to them. Our choice of bait and presentation is carolina rigs because the fish are usually at 20 ft or more. If they are shallow enough we will use crankbaits that will get us to the bottom.
If the bottom is to rocky and we are loosing our walleye rigs we will then get lazier if our boat is still holding. The absolute laziest way to catch walleye is by using a bobber with a bobber stop. I know a lot of people who see me in walleye waters using a bobber think I have lost my marbles and they also think I am trying to catch something else. One guy who stopped by asked what I was fishing for and when we told him walleye he started laughing and couldn’t stop. However, his jaw hit the bottom of his boat when we landed a 6 lb walleye right in front of his nose.
One last method I will use for windy walleye fishing conditions is drop shots. My drop shot rig is completely different from anything you have seen because I will use a tube bait as my weight and then a the drop shot presentation up the line. I am pretty sure you can guess what we catch with the tube bait, eh? At any rate, I set my presentation about 6 inches above the bottom weight because that just seems like the best height for me in these windy conditions.
I hope you have gained a few ideas on how to catch fall walleye in windy conditions and if you listen to all the old timers they will tell you to get the he** off the water. Sometimes I agree but when the bite is on, nobody wants to leave and rightfully so. If you have your own stories on how to catch fall walleye be sure to send em our way and we will add them to the page.