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Fish behavior is changing with autumn, and so should your catch strategy

Look for walleyes to start moving to shoreline breaks. Some fish will hold in the deep 25- to 35-foot water, some will relate to the sharp breaks and be tight on the outside edges of weed lines, and some will use the weeds for cover and food.

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The water temperatures on area lakes continue to hover around 70 degrees.

That is warm for this time of the season, and has night crawlers and leeches (if you can get them) continuing to be players for at least the next couple of weeks.

The daylight hours are shortening several minutes every day, and with cooler nights, the water temps will start dropping. As the water temps start to drop, the bite will improve for all species, as they start to feed up before the cold water season. Walleyes will start gathering in larger schools than the small wolf packs for the last couple of months.

Look for walleyes to start moving to shoreline breaks. Some fish will hold in the deep 25- to 35-foot water, some will relate to the sharp breaks and be tight on the outside edges of weed lines, and some will use the weeds for cover and food.

Smallmouth bass activity has been very good the last couple of weeks, with most fish holding in 20- to 30-foot water, close to rock/gravel or on hard sand close to bottom transitions (gravel to sand, weeds to sand, hard sand to mud).

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Largemouth bass continue to be on shallow targets like docks and lifts or shoreline deadfall, as well as inside or outside weed edges, depending on sun and wind.

Northern pike have already started to put the “feed bag on” and are feeding shallow.

Musky anglers are experiencing a few more biters than just getting followed now, and the big sucker live-bait bite is just around the corner.

Crappies are already starting to move to deeper water, with some holding in the 15- to 18-foot water, and others holding suspended off sharp breaks over deeper water.

Jigs and minnows or live bait rigs and bigger minnows become a favorite for fisherman when targeting walleyes in the fall.

This also becomes the time of the season when the daytime bite and evening bite can be better, or even best, as the water warms during the day and baitfish get active.

Wind always plays a factor on how walleyes will set up structure or shore line areas. Light conditions also play a major role, and fishing the shade side of bars or shaded shoreline areas can help keep fish active when they are inactive in other areas.

Try to fish the lightest jig weight you can get by with and still maintain a good sense of control. Play with colors, since that can sometimes also make a difference, as can playing with different jig cadences.

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We still have a lot of open water season left, so I hope you get out and enjoy some time on the water yet this fall.

(Laabs owns Brad Laabs Guide Service in Detroit Lakes)

Related Topics: NORTHLAND OUTDOORSBRAD LAABS
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