Fall Crankbait Fishing For Walleye
Everyone knows that walleye are particularly susceptible to crankbaits. Fall and spring are the two most productive times of year to boat or land a large walleye with a crankbait presentation. For me it comes down to knowing what time of year to seek out the walleye and what presentation works the best. In recent years I have found that walleye tend to follow the baitfish in fall during September, October, November and sometimes even into December. PK Ridgeline crankbaits work particularly well in this situation.
The best thing to do when targeting fall walleye with crankbaits is to do some research before you head out. I study the body of water to see what type of baitfish are present so that I will know where on the body of water to fish. In my home state of Wyoming the walleye tend to be towards rocky areas and dams. This is because shiners and other small bait fish spawn in the fall around these structures. An added bonus is that large and small crappie also follow the baitfish and provide more opportunities for the walleye and the angler. Most of the time a night strategy will be best for producing walleye on crankbaits and fishing from the boat or shore work well.
I tend to fish the shoreline a mile or so from the dam all the way to the dam during a night of fishing. This allows me to cover the shoreline where the large walleye are holding. My most successful system is to pick a spot and cast parallel to the shoreline to my left, then cast the rest of the 180 degrees to the shoreline on my right. I usually use about 10-15 casts in one spot to cover the area. Once the area is covered, I move down to where my casts stopped from the previous spot and start again. My preferred presentation at night is to use the PK Ridgeline crankbait in firetiger and 3 5/8" in or 3" size. Sometimes I will use the same size of crankbait in the pearl hologram pattern. Both sizes of crankbaits work well.
There are particular areas and spot to focus on while fishing at night for large walleye. If your home body of water has points along the shoreline, take time to work them thoroughly. They often can hold multiple size classes of fish from 18-30" fish. I like to catch a variety of these sizes to have nice ones to release and a couple to eat. Also, look for areas that have cover for baitfish and walleye to hide such as; weed edges, rock points, sunken islands, humps and submerged trees. Work them with the 3" and 3 5/8" size PK Ridgeline crankbaits and you will find the fish if they are there.
I catch my biggest fish at night. Lots of people wonder why I would go at night or why it would make any difference. I don't know how many long days I have put on the water burning my skin in the UV rays without much fishing success. The fish like it just about as well as I do, not very much. So, the only alternative is to fish at night or in low light conditions. Night fishing provides the advantage of stealth. Big fish often come into the shallows at night to stalk minnows, perch and other small fish. When they do this, they put themselves in easy reach of fisherman that throw crankbaits and other baitfish style presentations. The key is to know where the bait fish will be and cast similar imitating baits until you put it in front of a big fish.
Crankbaits are great options for fall and spring walleye. The PK Ridgeline crankbait is great for night fishing presentations because the ridges give off large amounts of vibration and sound. When fishing at night, the crankbaits work extremely well at calling in fish. Walleye in particular always seem to come in and take a swipe at the baits. I have found that cranking the bait in at a slow to medium pace then pausing about every 4 rotations of the reel is the best system for catching walleye at night. I usually crank the bait then let it sit for 4-6 seconds, the fish usually hit on the 3rd or 4th second. It is also important to note that braided line with no stretch is important for feeling strikes with this method.
Make sure to give the PK Ridgeline crankbait a try this fall on your favorite body of water. You may be surprised at the size of the fish you catch.