Boy oh boy, it looks like fall is coming early this year. As we mentioned last week, we are starting to see some color in the trees. 

Water temperatures are going down quickly, so we’re seeing a lot of 60s on the lakes. As a fall angler, this writer’s biggest fear is that we’ll get a big warm front in the middle of September. This will hurt the fishing, especially the muskie fishing.

Water levels are good with all the rain we’ve gotten lately. Most landings are in great shape. Weeds on the lakes are definitely dropping down and getting brown, especially the shallow weeds. These weeds go first, then the deeper weeds.

Walleye fishing is changing with the weather. As the water temps drop on the Chain, we start to see the fish move slowly toward and into the holes. If you do not get fish in the weeds, move deeper and check the harder-bottom areas near the holes. Then they’ll be in the holes for the rest of the fall (and all winter). We also see a movement from crawlers back to minnows now. The same thing is happening on the deeper lakes, with the weeds receding but still holding fish. We do see the fish moving to the outer edge of the weeds and to the drop-offs more now. Try bigger minnows in the fall.

Bass fishing is holding up, but we’re seeing some changes there also. The smallies are changing their bait targets to minnows slowly as the crayfish die off. The smallies still prefer hard bottom, but move in search of minnows as the water gets colder. Largemouths are still in the weeds, but moving to the deeper weeds as the weeds decline. Plastics are the best baits for them now, but all bait types are still working. 

Northerns remain in the weeds and are very active right now and will be through the fall. Artificial lures, such as Daredevils and Johnson Silver Minnows, work very well in the weeds for these fish.

Muskie fishing is good and will get even better through the fall. The fall is the best time of the year for bigger fish, as these fish have gained weight and grown all year. They will put on the feed bag in the fall, as they are somewhat somnambulant during the winter and the females need it to support egg development. During September, we will see some nice action in the weeds for these feeding giants. The Eagle River Chain, with its dark water and good weeds, will be very active. Look for current on this water following rain for great fishing.

Panfish are still active, as the crappies on the Chain will mirror the walleye movement to deeper water as the fall goes on. Right now, still work the weeds, but move deeper if you don’t find them. Catfish, Eagle and Cranberry lakes have been very good. Bluegills are still holding in the weeds and hitting worms best. Perch as always are deeper in the weeds.

Get out there before it turns cold. There is much less boat traffic on the water now.

Good luck and good fishin’.