Fall weather continued this week, with weather and the wind changes every few hours being the norm. As a result, the Walleyes stayed scattered between depths for the whole week – our boats caught big fish in 13 feet and in 38 feet and everything in between. The fish were also often spread out on many of the structures we were fishing, not concentrated. That meant our guides and anglers usually had to choose; pulling plastics at speed produced volume – often with good “mediums”, but the biggest fish came from putting in time using subtler presentations. A common theme at our nightly guide round table report was using speed and gulp to find the fish and get the rods bent. Then use live bait, light jigs, and patience on key spots to target size.
We had just 5 boats on the water this week, and overall numbers were good. We averaged over 30 walleye over 18 inches on our daily guide sheets and we caught and released 11 walleye over 27 inches, including 2- 28 inchers and a 29 incher.
With the weather changing to fall patterns we also experienced a surge in big pike numbers – a week or two earlier than usual this year. Our guide crew were just talking tonight about how many of our tried and true big fish areas had very few and scattered weeds this year – and few big fish as a result. Our best guess is the extremely low water led to poor weed growth, and lots of high wind days in the last few weeks sped up the loss of what did grow. Combine fewer weeds with constantly shifting weather, and that meant when boats went after big pike this week they were in constant search mode. Our guide reports showed success came from constantly shifting gears – moving back and forth multiple times each day from summer weed locations and presentations to fall rock structures and lures. Spoons and in-line spinners were our guides’ baits of choice this week for moving fast and covering lots of water in a day.
For the week we devoted just 4 guided days to ‘gator hunting’, and we boated 10 Northern over 37 inches, including a 40, 41, and a 42 incher.
There are a few things that make me feel like it’s truly fall each year – writing my first fishing report of the season is one, but guide reports about big pike and a surge like we saw this week is one of my favourite things about fall. I’m already looking forward to my next chance to go hunting for a ‘gator!