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by Rick Olson
There are good solid walleye patterns that set up late in the open water
season and one of the best is close at hand. As close as it is, unfortunately
for many anglers, the best of the last is often overlooked. It could be
that they simply don’t know what they’re missing. If they did you might
have to share a spot
The hot late season pattern in question is a unique one that includes a bridge and at least some current. Bridges that have extended embankments can create necked down areas whereby current is concentrated and funneled through smaller, easily defined channels. Current can be a real magnet for attracting foraging walleyes as they instinctively know that a good flow can deliver scads of baitfish right to their doorstep. To get fed they simply have to wait for the next “meals without wheels” delivery which conserves energy and provides an efficient manner for putting on the layers of fat necessary to get through the upcoming hard water period.
Reservoirs that have bridges spanning creek arms and bays can really
heat up by late season as there is almost always some current flowing beneath
them. The fall draw down drops existing water levels and creates current
with or without an incoming and flowing creek or river. Natural lakes that
connect via a
Even after winds have settled down there can still be sufficient current present as water returns and stabilizes to normal levels.
Smaller bridges can make the process of finding and catching walleyes easier as there are only so many areas that can hold active fish. Look for walleyes to stack up at the base of the break where the embankment meets the bottom of the channel, although they can still be caught further up the break into shallower water.
deadly, especially if you’re after big fish. To keep a big minnow down it takes some extra weight and means jigs in the 3/8oz range or more. A live bait rig with a slip sinker and three foot snell and plain hook can be tossed out and allowed to sit while waiting for tell tale tap in the rod tip or the line starting to move off. A Coleman lantern and high vis line can make a real difference in the detection of the lightest of bites. Excellent fall minnows includes the chub family, like red tails and creek chubs. The problem is that they are often hard to find and can be expensive but are worth the money and the drive if you can get your hands on them. A good option that may be more readily available is sucker minnows which seem to get more active in the cooler water temperatures of late fall and are hit just as hard as the chubs. While there can be plenty of below the bridge action timing is critical, and you better be prepared to burn the midnight oil to get in on your share of the fun. The last half hour at dusk and the first half hour after dark can produce the hottest action of the night, but you never know for sure and may have to wait till midnight or later to find out if old marble eyes is making use of the area. Typically you get a good run at dusk and then spurts of activity as active schools of fish move in and out all night long. Getting to a hot spot and back to the ramp can be made much easier and safer with the aid of a Global Positioning System that has a chart plotter like that of the Raymarine C120. It’s easy to get confused after dark as things really don’t look the same and you can get into trouble fast. A GPS that shows you exactly where you’ve been and how to get back to where you started can be a big help. Another helpful tool is the use of a highly accurate and detailed Navionics map that can be displayed on the Ray marine C120. The Navionics map displayed on the C120 can show where you are and where you’ve been, all in relation to shorelines, contour lines, and even bridges. Big eye poppin walleyes is what it’s all about , as some of my biggest fish have come from under a bridge late in the fall at night. Some of the better lakes are those that are a tough number during the rest of the open water season. One early November thirteen day stretch on a particular reservoir that rarely gives up a summer walleye produced at least one fish over eight pounds every night, and included two of the biggest
walleyes I’ve ever caught. The moon phases surrounding the full and dark moons have proven to be the best times to be out and includes the day of and the three days before and after these two periods. Making the decision to give late night bridges a go can be a good one. The peace and solitude of a quiet
night can be extremely rewarding, and there’s a good chance you’ll have it all to yourself. The combination of all that ambience and a shot at a real hawg is worth losing a little sleep over.