Walleye on the Move in the Fall

People always wondered why I would sit on one wingdam all day, if I was catching fish all day or what. So I will share the reason. For one thing, I can stay on a wingdam, sometimes, for long periods of time just to get to know the structure, and I mean every ledge, hole, shallow area, trees etc. This can take hours and still not get to understand what all the wingdam holds, so it can take days, weeks months of going back and discovering new things about it. Every wingdam has its own character and not many are completely alike. All I need is an occasional fish to keep me interested and it may be Bass, Sauger, Northern Pike, White Bass, even Drum.

That was one reason, the most important reason I can sit on wingdams day after day all day long is to wait for fish to move through. In the Fall Walleye do a lot of moving and about every wing dam is a potential path. Some fish will stop and feed, most will keep on moving. So pick your spot, get to know it well and be ready for a school of fish to move through. Pick a wingdam you like that is easy to fish.

There is a downside, the fish may not move through and one can get skunked. Try it again and get skunked, and again and again. this is the price one has to pay so not too many guys are willing to do this. That is one of my secrets to catching big fish, to be patient and be willing to fish all day for one hit, and maybe no hit at all, or maybe a school of big fish will show up. Being patient can have huge rewards.

I was reminded of this yesterday. I had a guy that wanted me to take him out regardless of the weather. This Fall I seem to find fish and the next day they are gone., so my game plan was to just go looking and see if I could find a school of fish. Here is how the day went.

We started out on a wingdam that was sure to be blown out as soon as the 30 mph wind picked up as predicted and it wasn’t long before the wind became too much so we moved to the next spot which is usually good for a few. I caught one nice Walleye and then we only got hits. So I wanted to move, time was wasting, I need to get on some fish. If I had waited I imagine some fish would have moved through, but that was just too boring fishing such a small spot.

So we headed up river and the spots I wanted to fish were somewhat out of the wind, but for some reason there was large rolling waves that would soon make my back back ache, so I suggested we load the boat and run up river about 30 miles and he was willing so away we go to the next pool up.

This area had wingdams out of the wind and they were part of my original game plan before I heard about the wind prediction. Thirty mile per hour winds can be hard even if the are is out of the wind, it moves the boat all over with out much for precise control. The first spot we got nothing, it was impossible to read the water with the wind. So the next wingdam was large and uniform, this should be the easiest place to fish. I caught one bass while casting toward the bank and one nice walleye on the wingdam. He had a couple hits. After not getting anything else, I was thinking that if I just wait long enough more fish will move through, but if I stay there and fish may not move through.

So we tried another spot and the wind made it too hard to read and it didn’t take long to get frustrated and want to move. Next spot was a few miles away. It was out of the wind but not as much and it was really moving the boat in all directions with those 35 mph gusts. I caught one nice Walleye, but I just didn’t have any boat control so we dropped down to the next spot wingdam. This sone looked good, it’s a favorite spot where I catch a lot of fish and where fish move through, but after not getting any hits at all I decided to go back down river. I tried another favorite spot but that was a joke, the wind just blew us off. So now I am thinking to go back to that spot where we started that was the most out of the wind and he was all for that. I didn’t expect to catch anything, it’s not a favorite spot, I never have done very well there.

It didn’t take long and I caught a couple small Walleye down deep way out in front of the wingdam. Now I had something to key on, the fish I caught there earlier were right on top which was misleading. So now I am getting some passes further and further in front of the wingdam, so I am actually fishing the flats between two wingdams. Another big fish, then another and they kept on coming one after the other all between 22-24″.

Finally it was time to quit, he promised his wife to be back early so we left. I now realize that this spot is on the migrating route for Walleye. So now it will be a favorite spot of mine. I think we should have just stayed there all along, but you just don’t know. I think Walleye were showing up in a lot of wingdams at the same time, there isn’t just one school of fish, there are hundreds and thousands. The trick is to fish the spots you like and wait them out.

About Dave Tackett

Dave Tackett is from Sterling Illinois. An avid fisherman since childhood, he has fished all over the Midwest, mainly the Mississippi River pools 8-19. His home waters are pools 13 & 14. After fishing Bass tournaments for many years, he gave it up to fish for Walleye year round. He now guides and fishes for fun. He likes to take photos of the scenic places he visits on the river and likes to keep a video camera running to get footage for his Walleye DVDs. Photography is now where he most of his time working, using professional DSLR cameras and lens. These photos include landscape around the Mississippi River and the Rock River, river birds like eagles heron, egrets etc.
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