Fall appears to be here. We are seeing a steady decline in the water temperatures and some color already along shorelines. 

As anglers, the most important part of this is the decline in water temps, which triggers some feeding activity from walleyes and muskies. We are now seeing a lot of waters temps in the very low 70s or high 60s throughout the area. 

Lakes have quieted down since Labor Day, so the fishing is more pleasant. After the long and busy summer, that is welcome for fishermen.

Walleye fishing is pretty good, with both good numbers and a few very large fish being caught on the Chain. Both crawlers and minnows are working well as the fish are moving deeper. They will spend the fall and winter in those holes. On the larger lakes we also see the fish moving a little deeper. Generally they move from the weeds as the weeds die off and the minnows leave them. You can get walleye as deep as 35 feet or so in the fall.

Bass fishing is slowing down for the largemouths as they too look for green, deeper weeds to hang out in. Plastics are still working well for largemouths and we have some reports of jigs and minnows getting some largemouths (usually by walleye anglers). You will still be able to get some in cover near or on shorelines also. Definitely use plastics for these near-shore fish. Smallies are deeper now, as much as 30 or more feet deep. Jigs and leeches work well at this time and always look for harder bottom.

Northerns are as usual feeding on a daily basis on panfish and minnows. Look for some green weeds to hold decent fish, but they’ll be anywhere you can find minnows. Sucker minnows work well for them under slip bobbers. Many northerns are caught by walleye or muskie anglers.

Muskie anglers are finally in their favorite time of the year. In the fall, the fish feed actively to bulk up for the winter. The females have to support egg development and they are the biggest fish, which has them actively feeding all fall. This is the time for larger and slower-moving baits. Jerk baits work very well in the fall, along with twitch baits in the weeds. Large plastics can be quite effective in deeper water . This is the best time of the year for that trophy of a lifetime.

Panfish are still hitting well, with bluegills still in the weeds and hitting worms best. Crappies are moving deeper, but still hitting nicely on plastic and minnows. One hint at this time of year is to use larger minnows like fatheads for crappies. On the Chain, crappies are heading for the holes where they will spend the winter. Perch are in the deeper weeds.

Open water fishing is winding down for most species, but there’s still time to get out and enjoy the views and good fishing.

Good luck and good fishin’.