Today is the first day of autumn and there are splashes of color all over the place. It is beautiful out there, and will become more so in the next few weeks. The nights have been cooler and this is dropping the water temperatures into the 60s on most lakes. 

The annual rite of turnover has started on some lakes. If it warms up, we’ll see these lakes green for a while, but if we get cold weather the lakes will finish with this mess and turn clear. Weeds continue to die off on all lakes. Lake levels are near normal. 

Walleye fishing is good on the Chain, but we’re still catching mostly smaller fish. In a short time, some larger fish will be caught in deeper water on these lakes. As the bait fish moves deeper, so do the predators like walleyes and crappies. It produces some of the best fishing of the year for walleyes. Right now, the population seems to be spread out somewhat, but a good hint would be to start in about 12 feet of water and then move deeper to find them. The larger lakes have basically the same pattern, but deeper. Both crawlers and minnows seem to be working well on all lakes. On lakes like North Twin, look at some of those deeper rock bars. On these clear lakes, the walleyes will move really deep later in the fall.

Muskie fishing is good right now and will be great all fall. This is the time for larger baits and bigger fish. The larger females have to feed to support spawn development and all fish need to build up fat for the winter. It is the time for larger baits, retrieved slower as those water temps drop. From this time forward, the fish will be all over the place from deep water to in the weeds feeding. Lakes like Catfish and Eagle on the Chain are good producers in the fall, with a chance at a really big one. Some of the clear, larger lakes with a cisco population are noted trophy producers. It is also the time for sucker fishing. Remember that with the quick set rigs,  set those hooks quickly after the strike. To wait for three to four minutes, as we’ve seen some anglers do, is killing fish.

Bass fishing has been good. The largemouths are being forced deeper by the dying of the shallow weeds, but they will stay in mid-level or on shoreline cover as long as they can. Plastics are working very well and surface baits are great morning and evening producers. Crawlers work well, but you will have problems keeping them away from the bluegills. Smallmouths are deeper at this time of the year, as deep as 30 feet on many lakes. They do feed on minnows in the fall as the crayfish have died off. Leeches on jigs work very well.

Northerns are in the weeds or right off of them and feeding with their usual exuberance. Use larger minnows for them at this time. Artificial bait like Mepps spinners work as well as live bait, but try some size 4 or even 5 large spinners at this time.

Panfish action remains good, with good crappie action near and on cribs. Minnows work best. Bluegills are still in the weeds, but a little deeper as the shallow weeds turn brown. Worms or waxies are best for the gills. Fish for perch in the deeper weeds using minnows or worms.

Get out and enjoy the color and our lakes.

Good luck and good fishin’.