Walleye Fishing: Fall River Basics: Part 1: Location

The key to locating river walleyes in the fall is to remember walleyes and other fish that live in moving water are lazy.

A fish that feeds all the time can still starve to death. If they spend as much energy getting food as they derive from eating and digesting it, there is nothing let over to help them survive and grow. Evolution has weeded out these fish. What’s left are river fish that know how to take advantage of every place they can find where they can lie without burning many calories. Hence, lazy fish.

Ted Takasaki

Here are some places to find these fish.

  • Seek out current breaks that form eddies where fish can wait to ambush food. Spots close to known spawning areas are good places to start. A prime target is the slack-water area below dams and rapids. Check river bends where current slows. Run from one to another until you locate schooling active fish.

  • Check where feeder creeks and rivers join.

  • Barge traffic and water action dig holes in the river bottom where fish can rest waiting for food to drift by. Active fish are generally at the upstream side of the holes. Inactive fish are deeper.

  • Look for areas between soft bottom and hard surfaces like gravel, sand or clay or clam beds. Transition areas attract a variety of insects and other critters baitfish feed on.

  • If you find fish on one side of the river, don’t neglect the other.

    Professional Walleye Tournament Pro Tommy Skarlis, a Lindy Little Joe Fishing Team member, likes to target shallower side channels with current where warmer water attracts baitfish. The more wood lying in the water the better. Be sure to check the spot where the downstream end of the channel joins the river — walleyes often line up there waiting for an easy meal as minnows return to the main channel.

    River stretches with wavy “washboard bottoms,” give walleyes places to rest and eat.

    Please read more in Part 2.

    For a fine assortment of Freshwater fishing gear, click here.

    Ted Takasaki has many fishing achievements, including a victory at the 1993 Mercury Nationals and the 1995 Professional Walleye Trail Top Gun award. He reached the pinnacle of both angling and business when he was named PWT Champion in 1998 and president of Lindy Little Joe, Inc., of Brainerd, Minn., a year later. He writes weekly for sportsmansguide.com

    (Ted’s sponsors include Ranger Boats, Mercury Outboards, Pinnacle Rods and Reels, Bottom Line Electronics, Minn Kota, Stren, Normark, Flambeau, Master Lock, Gamakatsu, Aqua Vu and Nautamatic TR 1.)

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