Best Time To Fish In The Fall — ANYTIME!

When it gets to be October, no one visits weather websites more than me. Why would a guy do that you may ask? I am looking for the right weather to head to Lake Erie to fish some of the biggest walleyes on the planet. There is something about a November walleye. Big, thick, broad shoulders with a whole bunch of length, it is not uncommon to catch a 13 to 14 pound walleye in the western basin, if you can get out. Thus the weather man becomes very important.

Many folks have asked me, “What is the best time to go walleye fishing in the fall?” I have to tell them, “any time you can get out.”

But the real deal on Lake Erie happens after the lake has turned over and usually after the water temp has dropped below 40 degrees. That is late fall. We have broken skim ice with our boats getting to the main lake many times in the past. The fish are in the best condition of the yearly cycle at this time, and they are extremely hungry. Trouble is, the cold also makes them a little less active. You won’t see fish chasing baits real hard, but if you run a lure close they’re going to eat it. This means if you see fish suspending at 15 feet, you’ll need to fish them at 15 feet. Thus, it is important to be aware of where your baits are running.

Consistency between four or six different rods running the same lure takes a little know how but is easy once you understand the concept. Why would this matter? It can easily mean a two to three foot difference in where your bait is running in the column.

Here is an easy way to find out how consistent your rod/reel combo is running in the water column. First make sure you are applying these concepts to the same diameter line. I always use 10 pound line. Lay the rods down on the ground. Open the clutch lever and start walking. Go across the lawn at least 50 feet. Now go back and do the same thing with the next one. Take the line to the same stopping point. Now go back and look at the reading on your line counter. How far apart are they? If you have a tape measure you can continue to check how far off they really are.

If you have level wind reels you’ll need an extra person because you need to count the passes the level wind makes. You’ve probably heard of anglers changing line before every tournament and thought, “Why are they wasting all that good line they just loaded a month ago?” Well it didn’t have anything to do with line quality. It has everything to do with consistency of the quantity of line loaded on the reel. While many folks feel it may be a lucky lure that is catching all the fish on one side of the boat, the real reason that rod may be firing is it is running at a certain depth and the others may not be. This can be the best tip in perfecting your trolling and something important to think about each time you plan a trolling trip.

I use big body baits in the fall. Husky Jerks in the DJ#12 pattern are my choice because they pull very easy and don’t sink my boards or double my rods up just because I tweak my throttle up a tad bit. They also contain a nice little rattle. S-turns are a very important tool when trolling for big eyes. My suspicion has always been the walleye notices the speed change and it mimics a bait fish in trouble. Trolling speed is also important. I have found it is usually slower speeds that are more productive.

Another important thing to remember in the fall is it is the toughest time to be on the water. Water spraying up on the boat can make heavy ice, and launch ramps are infamous for black ice. It is best to fish with other boats and anglers should take every safety precaution available. There are some real jumbo walleyes to be had this time of year.

We have put together a nice compilation of big Lake Erie walleyes coming to the net on our video journal this month.

Check it out at It will make you hold off on the shrink wrap for an extra month or two. Hope to see you on the water.