We are transitioning to fall even though the weather doesn’t feel like it. The unseasonably warm weather has kept water temperatures in the low- to mid-60 degree range.
Most walleyes are still in transition, with some shallow and on inside weed edges, others relating to the deeper outside weed edges, and still others relating to the deeper hard bottom to soft bottom transitions in the 25-35 foot water (depending on the lake transition depth).
Due to the shorter days and the seasonal changes that do occur, most walleyes have moved to, and are relating to shoreline breaks more than the mid-lake humps.
The best presentations for catching some walleyes now will be the jig and minnow or plastics, rigs (live bait/Lindy) and larger minnows, and reaction baits like the jig raps.
Look for the bite to continue to improve over the next several weeks. The fish will gather up and hold in areas for longer periods of time as the water temps drop to 60 degrees and below and stay there. The bite just gets better then.
Largemouth bass activity can be found on weed edges and they are still on shallow shoreline targets. Casting jigs/plastics, crank baits, or spinners will keep anglers active.
The smallmouth lakes have most smallies holding in deeper water on hard sand or gravel bottom areas. They are biting jigs and minnows or plastics, rigs and big creek chubs or redtails, and ned rigs.
The northern pike will be very active now as water temperatures cool and relate to the still healthy weed growth. Many weeds are dying off and the weed lines are changing. Crappies had remained shallow up until this last week and have started to transition to deeper water. Look for some of the bigger schools to be holding off sharp breaks to deeper basin areas and suspending over deeper water.
One thing about the weather now, as we have been behind in our September transition, we will have multiple cold fronts and multiple wind shifts when we finally come out of this warm fall period. Fish activity slows in the cold front and the “buebird day” that follows, but fish are more active with feeding during the pre-frontal conditions.
If you can pick your days and times you can improve your odds. If you can’t pick your times, but can only fish when your schedule allows it … than it is still better than not going. Anything can happen on any given outing. It only takes one fall bite to set a new personal record!
It is absolutely gorgeous on the lakes now as the fall colors are starting to show. The views from the lake to the shore is hard to beat. I think we will have at least another week of picture worthy views on the lake. I hope you can make the time to get out during this really busy time of the year.
Water levels are still low, so be careful launching and loading at some of the accesses. Remember to clean, drain, and dry after every trip.
(Laabs owns Brad Laabs Guide Service in Detroit Lakes)