A relatively mild fall across the Midwest has slowed the movement of baitfish and predators into the shallows, leaving the door open for extended walleye action once water temperatures finally do dip into the low 50s and high 40s.
There are a number of ways to reap the shallow bite, and one of the deadliest is a four-step program for working primary points I learned from veteran big-water guide and longtime NAFC friend Jon Thelen. Host of Fish Ed online and on-air TV programming, and a frequent source for North American Fisherman fodder, Jon’s a familiar face to Club members nationwide.
In a nutshell, his point pattern hinges on hard-bottom, main-lake points with access to deep water on both sides. Wind blowing into the area concentrates walleyes and baitfish, making wave-washed points far better than still-water structure.
Such points attract a variety of forage, including fall-spawning tullibees and baitfish seeking warm water and food, such as countless minnow species, plus juvenile perch and panfish. When the wind blows, hungry ’eyes slide in for the feast.
To work a prime point, move in from upwind and fish, in order, the windswept face, tip, top and downwind side. On the sides and tip, drift-fish a 1/8- to 1/4-ounce jig tipped with a 3-inch rainbow chub or shiner, at a 45-degree angle behind the boat. Fancast the top.
For all angles of attack, Thelen favors Lindy’s grub-bodied Watsit and Fuzz-E-Grub jigs for their extra bulk. Whether casting or drifting, try a snap-jigging cadence featuring sharp, 18-inch lifts; let the jig pendulum to bottom on semi-tight line. If the wind’s really puffing, use a drift sock to keep you pace manageable.
This point pattern holds water right up to freeze-up, and is a great way to put eyes of all sizes in the boat. Best of all, with the lake all but abandoned, chances are you have this epic fall action all to yourself.