Rapidly changing weather has sped up the fall process and left much colder water temperatures, along with a whole lot of leaves on the ground all at once. 

We experienced an amazingly fast drop in water temperatures during the last week — as much as 12 degrees on some lakes. This came along with an unusual amount of rain during the same period. Wow. 

Most, if not all lakes, have completed the turnover process and are quite clear. This has led to very good walleye fishing, but poor muskie fishing as they haven’t yet adapted to the much colder water. We are now seeing water temps in the 40s and dropping, and we hope things will slow down a little as far as the cold weather goes. Let’s hope.

Walleye fishing has been very good on the Eagle River Chain, with some of the best fishing of the year in and near those holes on each lake. Catches of 20 or more fish have been regular in the last week, and it seems the colder weather has been good for this fishing. While a few anglers are still taking crawlers, most are using “tuffies” for their walleye trips. These large fatheads are either being jigged or dragged through the holes in the 18- to 22-foot level, or floating jigs are being utilized. This fishing has been great for both size and numbers of fish. Catfish, Eagle and Cranberry lakes are the best at this time of year, but for a quick trip try Yellow Birch. On the larger lakes, the fall fishing has been a little slower, but starting to produce. Minnows are by far the best on these lakes in the 15- to 30-foot range near the drop-offs. 

Muskie action was poor this last week, as they seem to have had the opposite reaction to the abrupt drop in water temps than the walleye had. This will happen some falls when the temps drops so much, but the action will improve this week as they adapt. The lakes are very clear after turnover, but some of the fertile lakes are quite dark and these lakes are not producing fish at all. Water temps on the mid-sized lakes are in the mid-40s, which usually produces good fishing. The Eagle River Chain has had a lot of current, which usually produces good action on the current edges and in the river sections. Sucker action was surprisingly slow also, but we have high hopes for the rest of the fall. Jerk baits, crank baits and plastics will all produce as we slow our retrieves for the cold temps.

Bass fishing has slowed as usual, as there don’t seem to be many anglers targeting these fish now. Largemouths are still hitting, but deeper in the weeds even though the weeds are dying. Spinnerbaits or stick baits are working best. Smallies are still for the most part deeper over hard bottom and feeding on minnows.

Northerns are in the deeper weeds and feeding with aggression. They’ll take any noisy or shiny baits in those weeds.

Panfish action has slowed also, with very few anglers going out in the cold. Some crappies are being caught in the holes on the Chain, and some perch in the weeds, but that is about it.

If you haven’t put your boat away, get in some of that great fall walleye fishing on the Chain.

Good luck and good fishin’.