Fall walleye fishing is often thought of as jig and minnow time! And, for good reason, as jigs and minnows have put lots of fall walleyes in the boat over the years. However, September is often more of an extension of late summer and so don’t stop moving, as techniques that still cover water quickly will often produce very good results now too.
Quick moving baits still appeal to fish now as the water is still relatively warm. Plus, September can be a time of transition meaning moving fish found in various depths and so quickly fished baits increase your odds of contacting active fish.
Spinners, nightcrawlers, and bottom bouncers are one “on the move” technique that shines in September. Utilizing a heavy bouncer paired with a spinner is one way to quickly cover water. Plus, the added flash and vibration of the spinner blade does a good job of attracting fish and then triggering them to bite.
A heavy bottom bouncer fished fairly vertically is usually a good way to cover water, avoid snags, and adds a nice stuttering action to a bait. In water depths out to about 25 feet, a 2-ouncer Rock-Runner bottom bouncer is my preference. In greater depths, 3- and even 4-ounce models get the nod!
The Rock-Runner has long been my favorite bouncer because it has a 10” stainless steel wire feeler that glides over bottom debris and allows for good sensitivity to help in detecting bottom composition and those all-important areas where bottom composition changes. Bottom transitions can often be key spots for locating mid- to deep-water walleyes and a quality bouncer can help identify those areas.
The right-bottom bouncer is important to this presentation, and so is proper spinner selection. Recently, a new blade design has been added to the catches in this fishing guide’s boat. The new Butterfly Blades are poly-carbonate blades that provide maximum flash and vibration and are more versatile than traditional spinner blades because they spin at slower speeds than most blades.
Not only do these blades fish well at various speeds, but they are offered in a dozen different color patterns and in two sizes to meet most any fishing situation encountered. They are available in traditional bright color patterns like parakeet and sunrise but also come in clear blades with colored tips that do a create job in some of the very clear, zebra mussel-infested waters today’s anglers face.
Heavy bottom bouncer presentations fish well on baitcasting rods and reels spooled with a mid-weight monofilament or even braided line. I’ve been fishing the Lew’s Mach II SLP baitcasting rod and reel combos lately for much of my bouncer fishing and have been very impressed. These are lightweight, sensitive combos that are also available in a price range many anglers can afford. I spool with 20-pound XTCB-8 braided line as a low-stretch braid adds to the rig’s sensitivity as well.
Adding to the catch will be the obvious goal of anglers fishing this September. While jigs and minnows start to produce walleyes now, bottom bouncers, spinners, and crawlers should still be part of your angling arsenal now too. Tying on a bouncer, tipping it with a crawler, and covering some water is, in fact, often a great way to put some walleye gold in your boat right now!
As always, good luck on the water, and remember to include a youngster in your next outdoor adventure.
Mike Frisch is a western Minnesota fishing guide and co-host of the popular Fishing the Midwest TV series. Visit www.fishingthemidwest.com or follow Fishing the Midwest on Facebook for more “fishy” stuff.
PHOTO – Matthew Vetzner with a fall walleye caught using a bottom bouncer.