Fall is upon us. Fishing will be great for the next 4-6 weeks.
Look to shift your fishing hours with the shorter days. Often the best bite is in the middle of the afternoon.
The water is in the low 70's on most lakes in our area. Weeds are still green for the most part and the fall algae blooms are starting to clear up. There are schools of bait in both deep and shallow water, both of which are drawing attention from the gamefish right now.
Largemouth are holding along clumps of weeds on the shallow flats, with a few still chasing bait along the deeper weed edges. Smallmouth are relating to weed clumps near or adjacent to rocky and sandy areas with a drop off. The deeper fish will bite best when they make a move into the nearby shallow water, typically something they will start to do a couple times a day. When the water and air temperatures begin to cool down even more, a good number of fish will use shallow rocky areas that get some direct sunlight in the early afternoons.
Your best lure options right now are wacky worms, large jigworms, skirted grubs, jig/chunk, texas rigged plastics or lipless crankbaits. Smaller, wide wobbling crankbaits can also produce. Wacky worms and skirted grubs are great around the rocks. Jigworms, texas rigs and jig/trailers are great around the scattered weeds. Lipless crankbaits are great in both areas. Browns, greens, orange or black are usally the best colors for plastics (pretty much as they are all year) but white, shad, bluegill or silver colored crankbaits can really produce during the September stretch. (PS I love small, shallow running white crankbaits this time of year)
Walleye: Stick with live bait unless fishing over submerged weeds in the evening when you should consider throwing minnow-baits like rapalas and rouges. Look for walleyes in the sandgrass or along breaks in the weeds in 10-15 feet. Some fish will be deeper or shallower on our local lakes, but the best approach to locating fish is to slowly troll with a slip-sinker or lindy rig with a big minnow. As the nights stay cool and bring down the water temperatures, fish may start to move shallow during the evenings, and look for these fish in weeds in 6-8 FOW.
Northern: Have turned on recently, and have been caught in solid numbers. For bigger fish try crankbaits in bluegill, perch or white/shad color patterns. Hot N Tots, wiggle warts and the rapala deep divers are my favorites for trolling, while Norman D-22's or lipless crankbaits are better options for casting. (Again, white or a natural pattern with some white and green are my absolute go to crankbaits this time of year)
Musky: The fish are starting to make fall transitions, but the action was still a little slow. I'd expect that to make a rapid change after this week's cooler weather. Most fish are being reported from 10-15 feet of water.