Late Summer Walleye

photoThings are pretty quiet around Two Moon this week. Traditionally, the last couple of weeks of August see few anglers on the lake. Unlike June, which is almost fully booked a year in advance, late summer offers excellent walleye action, without the people, or the bugs.

This year, we elected to close this week and bring Eddy back in order to get some noisy work done. As is our policy here, we will not operate equipment and loud machinery when guests are in camp, so we shut down occasionally in order to complete those necessary improvements and repairs. Sure, there is a cost to us for that, but we believe that in the end, maintaining the tranquility of a remote lodge experience is worth it. Cutting down a massive tree that threatens a cabin or putting in a septic pit are not the kind of jobs that guests typically notice, but they sure appreciate not being bothered by my backhoe digging, a toilet that works, or a new dock.

It also gives me is a chance to get out on the water a little more and see what the fish are doing, and what we should be doing to catch them. Given the fact that Julie and I have caught our limit of walleye within an hour, every time we have gone out over the past week, tells me that they are feeding. Here is what I know about late summer walleye.

First, understand that the walleye are now feeding primarily on minnows. I know, we can’t use minnows on Kipawa, but we don’t need to. We just need to be where the minnows are. In June, that means in shallow bays and close to shore, because the minnows are spawning close to shore and the water temperature is suitable for walleye to be in shallow. But walleye are low-light fish, so are generally feeding in those shallow areas at dusk and dawn. Not in August. Now, the minnows are hanging deeper, over rock structure, shoals and drops. The walleye have moved deeper, where the light is diffused enough to allow for some mid-day feeding.

Second, time your fishing according to the sun, not the clock. Look for anything that will cause the light to diffuse: waves, intermittent clouds, morning fog. That is when you want to be out there. Unlike spring when the walleye need to move into the shallows to feed, fall walleye are already nearby and only need a trigger to begin to feed. So, you need to be there.

Third. Go deep. 32 feet-28 ft produced lots of daytime fish for us this week, with 24- 18 ft at dusk. To get down there, use jigs with a worm or a slip bobber with a leech set just off bottom. Since the walleye are typically stacked close to structure, I troll less and jig more this time of year.

Fourth. Go light. 1/8 oz jigs if you can, light line, half a worm.

Fifth. Be patient. If you know you are in a feeding area, but the fish just are not there, wait for them. Trying to time school’s arrival is impossible, so let them come to you. Sure, you can motor around all day looking for fish on a the graph, but if you know of a high probability feeding location for the conditions that you are fishing, wait around for them. Sooner or later, it will pay off. We just don’t know when the “later” is, that’s all.

So, for all of you who will be staying with us over these final few weeks of the fishing season, you might be able to add your wisdom to this list.