Night Moves for Fall Walleyes
Getting Bit As summer begins its transition to fall one of the go-to ways to get bit when fish are pressured is to take advantage of the night bite. The Lake St. Clair system is our primary body of water for running trips. During the summer months, the system receives and incredible amount of boating and angling pressure; this is especially true on the weekends. One way to work around what can be considered an angling inconvenience is to wet lines at night!
Tools of the Trade Covering water efficiently is key when targeting fish as they transition from their daytime haunts to flats where baits are roaming. For this reason we often troll Off Shore Tackle planer boards to maximize available lines in the water and keep mobile. The exception to the rule would be targeting specific rocks, contours, or weed beds. Maintaining an operating picture of your fishing spread is essential so a basic battery powered headlamp on your noggin combined with a little patch of reflective DOT tape on your planer boards will keep you going during a night troll. For specifics regarding rigging planer boards for night I have put together an article on the topic in the 2021 Off Shore Release Newspaper.
Slow is Smooth, Smooth is Fast Fishing clean and remaining error free is even more important when visibility is reduced at night. A simple error of tangling lines can take significantly longer to undo when fishing at night in multiple line spreads. In addition to this, when multiple fish are caught on one side of the boat they could possibly slide into your other lines and tangle unless you stay focused, prioritize which boards to come in first, and handle fish one at a time. The overarching theme is slowing down and running a smooth operation to ensure every bite is converted to a fish landed in the boat.
Fall is the Time to Shine As summer fades and fall approaches the night bite is one of the best way to get walleyes in the boat. Fishing in the dark requires specialized approaches and a slow is smooth, smooth is fast mentality. One way to speed up the learning curve is to connect with experienced anglers, or better yet, get some time in the boat with them. In my opinion, the best group of local walleye anglers which are eager to help others learn the fishery are the Lake St. Clair Walleye Association. The LSCWA holds meetings every third Wednesday of the month out of American Legion Post No. 4 in Mt. Clemens, MI.
Fall is one of the best times to fish at night so be sure to get out and give it a try. As always, if I may be of any assistance or if you want to get out fishing the night bite feel free to reach out!