My, oh my, we’ve had a surprise taste of winter in the last week. This has made our fall fishing very difficult. We don’t know what has been worse, the cold temperatures or the heavy wind.

It sure was a surprise to see the snow on the ground last Sunday morning. Needless to say, the water temperatures are dropping at a very fast rate and the process of turnover has happened on most, if not all, lakes. The water temps are now down in the 40s on some lakes. The whole act of fall fishing for muskie or for walleye has certainly changed. 

Water levels remain very high. Weeds are now dropping back and dying off quickly. If you are looking for green weeds, look deeper on most of our lakes. Most landings are in good shape. Be patient about using the “T” docks on Yellow Birch Lake, as they are resurfacing the parking area.

As far as fall color, it happened fast. This wind we experienced really took the leaves down, which made deer and grouse hunters happy for the improved sight lines in the woods.

Walleye fishing is good in the area, especially on the Eagle River Chain. They are feeding on minnows for the most part, but crawlers will still catch them. Look for the holes on the Chain, as the walleyes migrate to these holes for the winter. If you can’t get them in the middle of the holes, check the edges and nearby for them. The same general pattern applies on the deeper lakes, where the fish have also gone deep. Look off the edges and drop-offs over hard bottoms in water as deep as 30 feet on these lakes. Rock bars can be very productive in water deeper than 15 feet. Large fatheads or sucker minnows work best at this time.

Muskie fishing is good and now that turnover is done, we’ll have the best fishing of the year for them. This is the time for larger suckers and those slower moving baits like jerk baits and twitch baits. Slow your retrieves down and work the deep edges of the weeds and deeper for the larger fish. This is the time for the biggest fish of the year to show up.

Bass are slowing, but again that is because fewer anglers fish for them at this time. Plastics are still working for largemouths in the weeds. Smallies are deeper and still producing great action on Ned Rigs. Bass anglers will not have to face much competition out there this time of year.

Northerns are hitting with aggression both in the weeds and right off of them in slightly deeper water. We’ve even had some reports of northerns hitting suckers trailed by muskie anglers.

Panfish action has been especially good for the crappies. On the Chain, these fish move into the holes and deeper water right with the walleyes. With turnover, they have finally abandoned the weeds and shallow water. We have had few reports of bluegills now, but perch anglers do well in the fall on many lakes in the deeper half of the weeds.

It might be time to put that boat away and start checking out your ice fishing equipment.

Good luck and good fishin’.