Jigging Tips For Catching Big Walleyes In The Fall

by Bill Leonard

Fall is the time of year when the conversation begins to shift from fishing to stalking that trophy buck or what field the Canada geese will be feeding in this weekend. However, let's not put the fishing rods and boat away yet. Fall is the best time of the year to catch a trophy walleye, and there are some things we can do to tip the odds in our favor.

Weather is the first factor to consider. If it's cloudy and windy, you are better off in that tree stand or out in the decoys. For trophy walleye, we are looking for those warm, sunny days.

Secondly, fall is the time of year to depend heavily on your electronics to help locate fish. Fall walleye are continually on the move, and if I can¹t find them with my PinPoint electronics, I don¹t fish that area. Two exceptions would be in the weeds and very shallow water. If I am looking at 15 feet or deeper and I don¹t mark fish, I will rarely fish that water. Don¹t be afraid to look toward deeper water. In deep lakes, that might be 40-60 feet of water; in shallower lakes it might be 20-30 feet. Also, check out the spots where fish are caught during early ice.

When using your electronics, remember that you don't have to see a lot of arcs for a school of walleye to be present. Take into consideration that a typical cone angle is 20 degrees. That means that in 30 feet of water, you are only seeing a seven to eight foot radius.

My favorite type of fishing for walleye in the late fall is jig fishing or bait fishing. Remember that these fish are more sluggish and slower reacting than they were during the summer. For that reason, I would suggest that any presentation you make in the late fall be done at a slower speed.

A big key to success is to lighten everything up when possible. Use the lightest jig possible, yet one that is heavy enough to maintain contact with the bottom. There are several types of jigs and each has its special purpose. The most common, however, is the round head jig. The round head jig with Berkley Power bait is my favorite.

However, when fishing jigs in the timber, I use the new Timb¹r Rock jig made by Lindy Little Joe. Using this jig tipped with power bait has worked especially well for me the past two years fishing the flooded timber in northeast South Dakota.

Other jigs to have on hand are the Whistler or spinner jig and the rattling jig. Both of these are especially effective when fishing dirty water. Lighter line is also a key to success when fishing light jigs. Whenever possible, use four to six pound test. I use new Berkley Sensation in 4-6 pound test or 6/2 Fireline. It is also important to use a line color that is very visible, so that you can detect the slightest movement. Remember, fish don¹t pick up the bait with their fingers, so if there is the slightest movement in the line, set the hook!

Rod selection is important. If I could only have one rod for jig fishing, it would be a medium action Series One model #sos601. They are incredibly light, super sensitive and reasonably priced.

Big minnows and big baits work best for bigger fall walleye. I prefer four to six inch creek chubs whenever possible. When fishing with creek chubs, I use a bottom bouncer or Lindy rig set up with a long shank 1-0 hook. Weather permitting, I will troll very slowly with my PinPoint trolling motor. When I go to jig fishing, I try to stay as vertical as possible, especially when fishing deep water of 20 feet or more. If the water is shallower, I try to cast to the fish, making sure the bait makes contact with the bottom before starting the retrieve.

Yes, fall is one of the best times to go after trophy walleye. Hopefully, these tips will help improve your success for a lunker Eye!

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License