It’s almost two weeks ago that the walleye starting showing up in numbers on the Red River from the main lake to Lockport. While anglers fishing closer to the lake have been having sporadic success for about a month, in the last week those fish have moved up to the traditional areas closer to the locks. Stretches of river like “Doc Reeds”, the Power Plant and the “Miracle Mile” all have a place in Manitoba fishing folklore, legendary over the years for their mind numbing catches of green hued walleye.
Some years the run of fish starts in mid-September and lasts until the middle of October when the federal government would open the gates at Lockport for the annual drawn down of water levels in the City of Winnipeg. After much lobbying by a number of user groups, this has changed over the last few years. Now the gates on the locks are opened gradually, allowing for improved water clarity and vastly improved fishing conditions. The result, a run of fish that usually starts a bit later but also lasts later into the fall.
I fish this fall run every year and some are better than others. Lately though, it seems the arrival and departure of the fish lasts only about two weeks. So when you hear the fish have arrived you need to be ready to get the boat in the water.
LOOK AT YOUR OPTIONS
A variety of techniques have been working, including trolling crankbaits into the current. Veteran Red River walleye fisherman say if you have an option of when to come out to fish the Red, wait for days when the north wind is blowing. It’s been proven over the years that when Lake Winnipeg flushes water into the river and backs it up to Lockport that the walleye fishing is substantially better.
Anchoring in the Red is a time-honoured tradition and most big walleye are caught this way. If you don’t have a front troll motor with spotlock bring along a good anchor or two! Put your heavier anchor off the front and drop a lighter anchor off the back to prevent your boat from moving back and forth with the current surges. Some anglers will drop two anchors at the same time to get their boat sideways into the current. This allows anglers in the boat to spread out their lures, covering more area.
JIG SIZE ACCORDING TO CURRENT FLOW
Jig size will vary at this time of year depending on wind direction and current flow. Many veteran anglers of the Red fall walleye run will pound a heavy jig off the bottom to attract fish from a distance away. Many also bulk up their jigs with some plastic over the shank of the hook, then add a couple of salted shiners over the back point of the hook. Since it is barbless your best option is to take an elastic band and cut it in short pieces.
Once your bait is on your hook, add the piece of elastic over the point of the hook to keep your minnows on. I will sometimes hook my two minnows through the eyes for more action. Other times you can put the point of the hook through the mouth of the minnow, down through the gills , turning the minnow over to make sure the point of the hook then goes through the main body of the bait. This will help with short striking fish especially, eliminating the need for a trail or stinger hook.
Vary your action with the jig, remembering that in heavier current conditions, fish will tight to the bottom and in shallower water. When current flow is slow, try fishing deeper water along the main channel. If you can anchor on a channel break with one angler shallower and the other deeper it will increase your odds of catching fish.
PERCH MAKING A COMEBACK IN LAKE WINNIPEG?
Anglers are reporting catching some beautiful perch this summer and fall in Lake Winnipeg and tributaries, including a few Master Angler fish. Lake Winnipeg used to be a dynamite perch fishery. Let’s hope the perch and sauger continue to rebound with larger commercial mesh size.
LAKE OF THE PRAIRIES
ROGER & SUE GERES
Fishing for walleye and pike remains excellent on the north end of this reservoir. Many of the walleye from the south basin migrate in the fall to this section and by anchoring near the Highway #5 bridge, you will have not stop action on most occasions. You might have to move around a bit until you find them but you will. I have been using mostly jigs with big minnows but bottom bouncers and worms have also been working.
While I haven’t caught a huge pike yet, my friends have landed several over 40 inches. The boat launch is quiet and if you go now you should have the lake to yourself!
With low water levels in the Whitemud and at Delta Beach, access to the lake has been difficult. If you can get your boat launched, there are some big walleye to be caught. Friend Jim Price has landed several Master Angler walleye this fall anchoring in 10 feet of water and slowly fishing a jig and salted shiner. He says the fish are so fat and healthy they are too lazy to hit anything that is hard to eat.
Big musky are on the move and now is the time to be on the water. With plummeting water temperatures as the cold weather arrives, the time is now! My family and I made a weekend trip to Long Legged / Stork Lake for the weekend. Primarily to fish, but also on the watch for moose. Having spent plenty of time on Long Legged over the years we were able to get some fishing patterns figured out rather quickly.
Walleye were feeding on Cisco and Perch in 26-32’ of water. Once located on the graph they were willing to bite our Northland jigs tipped with live bait or frozen spot tail shiners. Although out of season, our youngest daughter caught a Lake Trout among the walleye.
Not uncommon for this time of year as trout will be feeding heavily on Cisco as well. We also spent some time chasing musky. Most were located in very shallow water, clinging to any structure that held some remaining warmth in the water. We usually found more than one in each area. Rubber baits such as Bondy Bait Royal Orba or Chaos Tackle Medussa were the best choices. We did have some musky hit live suckers. I’ll be chasing muskies until ice up. Be safe out there folks.
Glenn and his family live in Vermillion Bay. Read this great article below from Glenn that will get you fine tuned.
LAKE OF THE WOODS
In the fall I like to fish lakes for a variety of species of fish. I really enjoy late fall for both bass and walleye. At this time of year, these fish can be mixed. Usually the walleye will be touch deeper than the walleye. On the Lake of the Woods for example, the bass could be in 22 feet of water while the walleye where three feet deeper in the same area. These could be shoreline points next to deep water or sunken islands nearby.
The type of area I prefer on natural lakes is one with several different structural elements. Last year we found the walleye and bass on extended points near deep water. Our best spot had a saddle area in the middle, with the depth coming back up before dropping off. These types of areas are golden, supplying a variety of habitat for the fish to feed. It also helped that it was a large area, which allowed both species to co-exist. The final key was presence of a huge cloud of baitfish off the side
If you have a lake depth map, you can find these places before you even launch. I have a Lakemaster map for Lake of the Woods loaded in my Helix 10. Once I identified the depth and kind of structure the fish were holding on, I highlighted other areas with similar kind of structure. One other feature that is recently critical is the water offset feature. This allows you to adjust the depths showing on the contour map to offset low or high-water levels. This is a critical feature for accuracy.
Big walleyes continue to roll! As water temperature continue to plummet, big fish are moving into current areas as part of a real late fall run. The Saskatchewan River at Nipawin is finally turning on big time. Most of the fish are being caught in the last stretch before the river enters the main lake. Jigging with salted shiners in 17 to 26 feet as been good. Trolling with the current using bottom bouncers and floating Rapala’s has triggered some big bites! Dave Shmyr is currently up at Tobin fishing. He shares his secrets in this great article below!
WES DAVID, FISHING THE WILD WEST T.V. SHOW
While many anglers have put down their rod and reels in exchange for their bows and hunting rifles to pursue a wide variety of hunting opportunities, it has left Alberta lakes and reservoirs almost completely abandoned. The warm surface water is mixing with the deeper cooler water and it’s triggering a fall feeding frenzy from one end of the province to the other. Walleye are on the move, knowing there are tougher living conditions coming.
Jigs, crankbaits, and bottom-bouncers are all consistently bringing walleye into the boat. At this time of the year, a walleye angler can do no wrong!
The Fraser River Sturgeon Conservation Society’s 2020 Conservation Challenge is underway. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Fraser River Sturgeon Conservation Societies could not hold their annual fundraising gala and action. However, that hasn’t stopped the Conservation Challenge from moving forward to raise money to protect the Fraser River white sturgeon. The Fraser River Sturgeon Conservation Society have moved their fundraising auction online from August 14/2020 to April 1/2021. The Fraser River white sturgeon has outlived the dinosaurs, two ice-ages, and two world wars. However, the Fraser River white sturgeon need our help to survive another 100-years. Learn more here.