Big hooks, big baits are two keys in angling the thick walleyes of autumn.
I've been getting a lot of question at seminars in recent weeks, so I'd like to answer specific questions in turn. For this column, let's talk fall walleyes.
Q: Where are the top locations for fall walleyes?
Tuma: Walleyes, indeed, are feeding extremely heavily and you can catch them
all day long if you fish the right spots. Most days they drop down deep; under
low-light, cloudy conditions, they move shallow to feed. They're always looking
Walleyes will move off deep flats, then approach
green weeds to feed as water cools. Under low-light conditions, I like casting crankbaits up into shallow flats connected to deep water.
These are prime locations.
Follow a formula for finding these spots since shallower lakes obviously are
going to cool faster.
First, work shallow small lakes, then shallow big lakes, then deep small
lakes, then deep large lakes. This is the order in which they cool down. When
these lakes start to cool, we can follow the movement of these walleyes. Start
with shallow small lakes first. Fish those lakes in succession throughout the
Q: What draws the walleyes into prime fishing zones?
Tuma: In shallower lakes, frogs and minnows are coming in, and walleyes are
feeding heavily. Combine that prey source with the right habitat, and the bite
really clicks. In some areas, look for fish in these areas
with current, maybe a bay mouth.
Q: So what's the hot presentation for fall walleyes?
T3: When fishing points or breaklines on a deeper
lake, you'll see me casting crankbaits, a jig and
minnow, and live-bait rigs. On many bodies of water, however, I'm exclusively
using red-tailed chubs or shiners.
Live-bait rigs with redtails are very productive
-- go with 4- to 6-inch or bigger redtails. I tail
hook them. And don't forget, leeches still work in fall, too.
Q: I find I often miss fall walleyes on the hook-set. Any
Tuma: Use a large enough hook for these walleyes. I was using hooks that were
too small one time and missing fish. Seems like in fall it's hard to err on the
side of a hook that's too big.
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One of the most popular ice-angling seminar speakers in the country, Minnesota-based "Tackle" Terry Tuma was catching big fish through hard water before it was "cool." From border country walleyes to farm pond panfish, Tuma explains his ice formula for catching winter fish. Terry also is an expert on open-water fishing as well.