What a fantastic fall we’ve had. Late September was a bit cold, but by the second week of October summer had arrived again. The fall walleye fishing was flawless on several of Otter Tail Lakes Country’s top producers and the panfishing was very good on many lakes in the Lakes Country. It seems now, however, that fall is standing on our doorsteps and it’s the time of year when it’s going to stay—for the most part. Late fall fishing can be good but when the water temperatures begin to dip below 50 degrees we’ve crossed a boundary that is hard to reverse. In fact, walleye fishing in the past 10 days or so has slowed quite a lot. Basically, the fish respond much more negatively to fronts when we approach November and the cooling water then they did a month ago when the water was still in the upper 50’s and 60’s. If you’re planning a late fall fishing trip to Otter Tail Lakes Country just be on the lookout for rapidly changing fish moods—they swing with the weather.
Probably the bigger problem I face is when the fish go “off” this time of year is they stay off for longer periods of time. When the fish shut off in the summer they seem to come back on within 1 1/2 or 2 hours, but by November when the fish decide to stop feeding, it’s not uncommon for them to stay off for 6 or 8 hours. Where to fish right now? For walleye keep around the weed line, and it doesn’t matter that you’re next to deep water. Look for panfish at the basin of many of our shallower lakes in the Lakes Country. Unlike the larger fish like walleye, bass, and northern—who seem to turn off easily this time of year—panfish usually stay the course and keep giving action. Why? When you locate schools of panfish in and around lake basins right now, they are established in very large groups. They simply keep feeding because there are so many fish. Find northern situated around weeds and weed lines. Don’t be afraid to use large minnows and baits for walleye and northern right now. Good luck fishing in Otter Tail Lakes Country this week.
Ross Hagemeister, Meister Guide Service, meisterguideservice.com