Fall Fishing Reports
November 21, 2018
With the colder than normal temperatures the ice is forming quite fast this year. We are seeing 3”-6” of ice on many of the small to mid-sized lakes. There have been quite a few anglers out over the past week. They are reporting good crappie action and fair numbers of walleye. I’m comfortable saying, we have officially started our ice fishing season in Alexandria! Be safe and as always for early ice, bring a friend, wear a life jacket and check the ice as you go. Good luck to all!
November 2, 2018
Every Fall seems to have its own twist. Just when you think you know what to expect from year to year you get a fall like this! We had our fair share of rain and much cooler temps than we normally see for the early part of fall. This unseasonably cool weather dropped our water temps into the 40's very quickly and in general had a bit of a negative affect on many fisherman. Some of the normal hot bites were nonexistent while other bites changed very little. I found the quicker I accepted these changes the better off I was.
The smallmouth fishing this season was as good as anyone could have hoped for again with 100's of fish coming to my boat alone. We had plenty of days where there were multiple trophy sized fish caught with many fish exceeding 20". We caught most of our fish in 2 -10 feet rock and gravel areas. Some days they wanted top waters but for the most part we caught our fish on sub-surface baits. Minnow profile baits were best, with frog imitations coming in a distant second. The colder the water got the slower we needed to move our baits. The last day I finished smallmouth we needed to basically let the lure sit in front of them and wait for them to bite. That was a big change from earlier in the month where we were ripping the bait through the water to get strikes. It's just amazing how fast things can change with a change in water temp!
With water temps in the low 40's now and smallmouth in my rearview mirror, I have my sights set on crappie and walleye. The crappie have definitely been the more willing participant between the two. Catching a limit of nice crappie has been something an angler can accomplish in a pretty short order. With water temps in the low 40's the crappie have been suspended over deep about 10 - 30 feet down. Setting you bait inches above them usually yields a hit in seconds. Small jigging raps or a small jig and a minnow have been working best for me. The walleye on the other hand have been much more difficult to pattern this year. I'm holding the drastic water temp change responsible for this. Limits of nice walleye are still being caught at times, but it hasn't been consistent. There are usually 3-4 lakes that are on fire, but not this year. That's fishing though and that only means there will be more fish for anglers to chase this winter!
With deer hunting the next two weeks this is a great time to hit the lakes. There will be very few anglers out and there's no better time to catch a trophy than in November! I can honestly say I've caught more walleye over 30" in November than any other time of year. My recommendation for the coming weeks would be to target crappie during the day and hit a small walleye lake for an evening walleye bite. Good luck!
October 1, 2018
What a difference a couple of weeks can make! Two weeks ago the heat was nearly unbearable at 7:30 in the morning... now we need heavy jackets, hats and gloves! Along with lower air temperatures come falling water temperatures. It's truly amazing how fast animals in nature react to these cooler temps. Almost immediately the sky fills with birds headed south, squirrels start stock piling acorns and the fish start moving to their fall feeding areas. In just the past couple weeks I've noticed a strong migration of walleye, crappie and bass into their fall feeding areas.
I've been fishing smallmouth in shallow rocky areas for the past few weeks. It's fun to watch how these fish go from healthy normal looking smallmouth to football shaped hawg sized smallmouth. The amount of food they eat in a couple months is staggering! They will eat baits much bigger than most people think, I usually use 6-8" long baits. It depends on the day, but we are using any bait that looks like a frog or minnow. Top waters seem to work best when it's overcast and when the skies are clear I prefer sub surface lures. We are catching well over 60 fish a day and the average size is 17 to 19" with a number of them going 20-21"!
The walleye are also becoming more aggressive. Of course there will still be walleye in nearly all depths but I'm seeing a good number of fish move into the shallow areas that I'm fishing for smallmouth. Catching a walleye on a top water frog is always a surprise, but it just goes to show you that anything can happen! The trolling bite after dark has been pretty strong as well. A #5 or #7 crank bait trolled at around 2mph has been working best. Once we get into mid-October I like to use more stick style baits like a #12 husky jerk. As the water temps drop I will also slow my trolling speed considerably.
The fall crappie bite is shaping up nicely. For the most part I haven't seen the large schools suspended but they have been more than willing to bite on the 20 foot shoreline breaks. Normally by October we will start to see massive sized schools of crappie holding over the deepest water in the lake. Most of the time they will be suspended at 15-25'. A small jig and a minnow or a small jigging rap presented at that depth will generally yield some fast action.
Some of the best fishing of the year is going to occur over the next month so don't put that boat away yet! If you have any questions feel free to shoot me an email.
Good luck fishing!
September 4, 2018
Fall is on the horizon and the fishing is still very good. We are catching good numbers of walleye, bass and panfish. Generally, by this time of year the walleye bite will get hit and miss, but it's about as consistent as it can get right now. We are catching eater sized walleye as well as some very nice sized picture fish.
The bass are right on track though and starting to group up for their fall feeding binge. Over the next six weeks I will be chasing trophy smallmouth bass. In that time, we will catch 100's and 100's of smallmouth and hopefully many of trophy caliber. Some of the best fishing of the year is nearly upon us!
I've been finding most of my walleye in 15-25' of water (the 30.5" walleye came from 20'). Spinners, Lindy rigs, crank baits, bobbers and jigs have all been producing fish lately. I'm not going to say they all work all of the time, but it seems every report I hear is of someone using a different presentation.
This time of year, when you can find fish both shallow and deep it can be a bit overwhelming. First you have to decide on a lake, then a location and lastly a technique. The good thing is the fish are hungry and are not afraid to track down a fast-moving bait. This makes covering water to find fish much easier. In a month the techniques will be much more limited and most will involve a much slower presentation. For now, get out there with your favorite technique and keep moving. Once you find some fish try different techniques until you find their flavor of the week.
If walleye fishing isn't your thing or you have anglers with less patience I'd recommend smallmouth bass! We have one of the best smallmouth bass fisheries in the country right here in Central MN. You can catch these fish anytime of the year, but over the next two months they will go on a feeding binge like no other time of the year. They will gorge themselves until they are football shaped and they will still think they have room to eat your bait.
I prefer to fish areas with a hard bottom, so gravel breaks or rock piles fit the bill. Cast your favorite minnow style bait near these areas and work them back to the boat slowly. Top water and surface both work well, but some days one will outshine the other, so always try both. Oh, and don't forget to hang on! These fish arguably fight harder pound for pound than any other fish!
This summer has been one to remember, but I'm just as excited for what is yet to come. As always, if you have any questions about the area feel free to email me anytime!