As we near winter, the fish reports seem to be getting shorter. It’s cold out there on the water and the water temperatures are dropping. 

Meanwhile, most of the leaves are gone now and the sight lines for hunters in the woods are great. Snow is on the way and hopefully will be here by the gun deer season. We sure seem to have a lot more deer then several years ago. 

Water temperatures have been dropping fast, with most temps falling through the 40s. If you are going for that last gasp walleye or muskie fishing, it is miserable if your are not wearing full winter clothing. Water levels remain high, so most boat landings are in good shape.

Walleye fishing is good for those who will tough it out. The biggest problem now is the wind, which is high and quite variable in the fall. It’s tough to maintain spots when you find the fish. Jigs and large fatheads as always are the best bait. On the Chain, the fish are in the holes for the winter and you can locate them on your electronics pretty easily. Numbers are good, with a few larger fish mixed in as a bonus. On the bigger lakes, the fish also are deeper. Anglers are finding them off the drop-offs in water as deep as 35 feet. Larger minnows are working on these lakes and we suggest taking some sucker minnows along. For those windy days, take some quarter-ounce jigs along to keep in contact with the bottom in this deeper water.

Muskie fishing has been OK, but not great everywhere. These falling water temps should really turn these fish on, but it has been inconsistent so far this fall. It certainly has been the time for sucker fishing with some larger suckers. There has been some good action if you can find green weeds in 10 feet or so. Jerk baits have been working well near these weeds. To be truthful, we hope for better action as the temps drop further.

Bass are almost done, as very few anglers are still fishing for them. The smallies are deeper over hard-bottom areas and are feeding on minnows now. As we mentioned last week, there has been some good action on Ned Rigs on the bottom. The clearer the lake, the deeper the bass will be. Largemouths have been hardly fished in the last few weeks, but you could still get them on plastics in the green weeds.

Northerns are hitting as always, mostly in the weeds. Most seem to be caught on spinners by accident by muskie anglers. Some have even been caught on suckers intended for muskie.

Panfish anglers are still finding crappies in the Chain in the holes. These fish have moved to the holes right with the walleyes and can be found in schools in those holes. Minnows work best for them, but some of the plastics and Rapala winter rigs are working. Some perch are being caught in the weeds. To be certain, most panfishers are putting their gear away and waiting for ice fishing.

It looks like it’s time to get that ice fishing gear out to check over for the coming winter.

Good luck and good fishin’.