This week was about big wind. Every day had high winds and there were some days with sustained winds of 20-25 mph. A major front moved through mid-week, and continued cool nights brought lake surface temps down by 5-10 degrees from last week.
In mid-September, when we usually get dropping surface temps and high wind weather trends, walleye respond by moving back into transition depths. Our guides followed the weather and found good walleye in less than 20 feet of water regularly this week too. Most of the big fish still came from summertime deep water, and very few of our fish were caught with aggressive presentations – live bait and light jigs were the best producers.
We fish every day and deal with heavy winds all the time. As guides, our usual approach when we see a high wind day coming is to choose that day to focus on spots that are off the main body of the lake, spots that are sheltered from the worst of the wind and easy to drive to. We put in extra time on those areas and focus on getting some really good fish rather than driving around the lake and beating folks up to chase lots of fish – planning on being able to chase lots of fish on the calmer days. The hard part this week was that every day was a big wind day. That led to our boats spending the majority of their time this week working “big fish spots” and very little time chasing volume. As a result, our total numbers were lower than usual this week, but big fish production remained good. Daily guide sheets averaged 23 walleye over 18 inches, and for the week we boated 39 walleye over 27 inches, including 9 – 28’s and 2 – 29’s.
The big winds and weather meant we did almost no pike fishing at all this week. We caught and released just 5 northern over 37 inches, including 2 – 40’s.
My take-away: Weather trumps all. It may not be the right time of season, time of day, or the right water – doesn’t matter. Follow the weather to find fish.