This coming Wednesday, Oct. 24, will most likely be the last open water full moon of the 2018 open water season.
Both musky and walleye anglers usually find success with night fishing during the full moon period. It is also not uncommon for trophy size fish to get caught during this time, as the fish are putting the "feedbag" on right before the cold water season we call ice fishing starts.
Water temps range right now between 45 and 50 degrees and will drop slowly over the next week or two as we get a little break from the unseasonable cold weather we have had recently. Once water surface temps drop below 40 degrees, the lakes can be vulnerable to a skim over if we get a period of extreme low temperatures below freezing with low wind days and nights.
The most common approach to night fishing for both species during the full moon period, is trolling crank baits. The shallow water flats can hold both fish on waters that also have muskies, and both will concentrate in the 6-15 foot water in most cases.
The big differences in the approach to each are in the size of the baits, and the speed that the baits are trolled. Most walleye anglers will troll shad style baits in the sizes 5 and 7 and stick baits in sizes 9, 11, and 13.
Musky anglers will troll baits almost twice the size of the walleye baits. Walleye anglers will be trolling from 2-2.5 mph and musky anglers will troll the artificial baits from 3-5 mph (unless they continue with the large sucker minnow presentation).
It helps to get on the water before dark if you are going to night fish. I chase walleyes, and like to find some before dark. Many times you can follow them as they move up the break to shallower water. Then you can move up onto the flat knowing that there are fish holding and feeding.
Set up rods, rod holders, and get bait selections out before dark. It is much easier to get organized with good light conditions.
Have flashlights, lanterns, and headlights available to help land fish, get them out of the net, and remove hooks. Make sure the boat is organized and gear is not in the way to cause trips or falls in the boat.
It is very important to be dressed in good gear that is also windproof and waterproof. Water splashed on you this time of year is a wakeup call! Keeping your head, hands, and feet warm and dry will make your night fishing much more enjoyable this time of the season. Take coffee, tea or hot chocolate in a thermos to warm up ... not alcohol! Drinking, cold water, and night fishing do not go well together.
Boats, pontoons, and jet skis are all continuing to get removed for the season, and anglers and duck hunters are continuing to launch and load boats. Please make sure you clean, drain, and dry. Remove all weeds from your boat and trailer. There is never a time to let up on doing your part to reduce the spread of aquatic invasive species.
(Brad Laabs owns Brad Laabs Guide Service in Detroit Lakes)