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River Fishing for Fall Walleye

 

If there is one fishing outing that gives me a great bang for my buck, with minimal investment, it is going down to the river and chasing fall walleye. It’s pretty much a given that this trip will happen, and it will happen often. That’s because for a few minute drive, I can be on the river and have the very real chance of catching a walleye that pushes 30 inches and weighs more than 10 pounds. For many, it would be the walleye of a lifetime and this past fall, this very walleye happened to me on the North Saskatchewan River, within the Edmonton City limits.

On that particular evening we already had a great outing going. We’d tagged a number of 2 to 4 pound fish, and one that was approaching six. This would be a considered a normal, but good fall night. While the fishing was good, we were getting ready to call it a night when I said the famous line, let me just catch one more fish. It’s a slightly modified take on the ever famous, “One last cast” speech almost universally applied by anglers near and far. I wasn’t quite ready to call the evening quits. Not yet. So when I felt the familiar tap tap of a walleye picking up my bait, I smiled and set the hook, knowing I was about to catch my last fish of the night. I wasn’t quite expecting what was to happen next.

Rather than the usual stuggle to shake free, this fish simply moved away, with very little shaking. The rod just arced a big deep bend and stayed there, pointing directly down and to the water. I instantly knew this was a big fish. I kept applying tension and it had little effect in pulling the fish up. Instead the unseen giant did laps, swimming around the pool, hanging around bottom too deep for me to see. I was excited, and curious. If this was a walleye, it was a tank, but it could just as easily be a big pike, or even a sturgeon that wandered into the pool. Who knew what it was, but it was exciting! A few minutes passed and finally the fish started to give and come up. I got a glimpse, and saw it was a huge walleye! We didn’t have a net to scoop it up, so I walked to a relatively shallow shore and eventually pulled the fish up onto the beach.

It was everything I could have wanted. A quick measure put the fish over 31 inches and we conservatively estimated the walleye at over ten pounds. It was my biggest fish on the river. I hope to repeat that this coming fall, or perhaps catch one even bigger. The potential is there, and over the years my friends and I have literally caught dozens of big, fall, river tanks. This beast was my biggest.

When fishing in the city, I find that if I wait until the sun goes down, my odds of catching a big walleye go up even further. That’s because there are fewer people on the water, and also the fish feel more secure under the cover of darkness, and will come to the very edges of the shore to feed.

There are two schools of thought when it comes to catching big fall walleye on the river. The first is these fish are really turned on to eating fish, so tossing out fish imitating plugs, spoons, and spinners will get a lot of them to bite. This is true, and I can attest to one evening where all I tossed was a Rapala blue gold, Husky Jerk. It was one of the very best evenings I ever had, and I never caught so many big walleye in one session. In fact, I tagged a half dozen fish over 26 inches, plus many more that were smaller. The two largest were twin 29 inchers.

The second way to catch them is by bait. Some days the walleye are turned on and practically anything thrown in the river will generate a strike, but other times it’ll take natural bait before a walleye will commit. And while the general thought would be that minnows would be the best bait for fish eating walleye, surprisingly I’d says that worms actually out produce the minnows on most outing, at least on the holes I fish. For bait, I like to get it down and keep it near bottom. I do this mostly by either tipping a light jig with a worm, or I’ll simply toss a minnow or worm off a hook and split shot and let the works rest on the bottom. This set up has caught me more fish than I can count.

I have to say, the prairie rivers come October are the place to be. The walleye will be stacked, they will be large, and more times than not they will be eager to feed. And even though, as I write this article it’s not quite October, I’m gonna head down to the river this evening and toss a line in, because you just never know…




Previous Fishing Articles

(1) River Fishing for Fall Walleye

(2) After the Flood - A look at Southern Alberta rivers and streams one year after the flood

(3) Reindeer Lake - A Diversity of Opportunity

(4) Hawg Holes

(5) Saltwater Salmon

(6) Early Season Dry Fly Fishing

(7) Down a Lazy River –
A Fly-rodding Adventure on the Lower North Saskatchewan

(8) The Fly Fishing Season Ahead

(9) IN SEARCH OF SPECKLED FOOTBALLS

(10) FISHING CANADA'S PRAIRIE CITIES

(11) Bright Fish from the Land of Silver

(12) Canada's "Other" Salmon

(13) Fall Walleye

(14) Wet Flies

(15) Versatility the Key to Success

(16) Grayling of the Boreal

(17) Teaching Kids To Fly Fish

(18) Size Matters

(19) Fly Fishing Small Streams

(20) Chasing Winter Whites One Lake At A Time

(21) Manitoba's Fishing Jewel

(22) The Twelve Gifts Of Christmas

(23) The Point Of It All

(24) Fishing With Friends-Big Weather Seizing The Day

(25) Fall Fly Fishing

(26) Personal Pontoon Boats 101

(27) Big River, Big Fish

(28) Bottom Bonanza

(29) Fishing Small Flies

(30) So Many Choices, So Little Time

(31) Four Seasons of the Bow

(32) Favourite Lakes - Some Like it Hot

(33) GEARING UP FOR SMALL STREAM TROUT

(34) Trout Hunting - New Zealand-style

(35) Don’t Leave Home Without Them –
10 Lures That Should Be In Everyone’s Tackle Box

(36) Edge Walleye

(37) FLY FISHING STRATEGIES FOR HIGH WATER

(38) Smallmouth Bass – An Oft Overlooked Challenge

(39) Four Corners – Four Waters

(40) Chasing Pothole Trout

(41) Springtime Stoneflies

(42) The Torrents of Spring

(43) Drift Boat Fly Fishing

(44) Bust Them With Bait

(45) Cure the Winter Blues with a Good Book

(46) Hot Strategies for the Cold Months

(47) Cutthroat: The Angler's Trout

(48) Terrestrials

(49) Fly In For Fishing Fun

(50) Rocky Mountain High

(51) Reading the clues

(52) Where the Trout Are
The art of locating feeding trout
in rivers and streams.

(53) K.I.S.S. and Tell Fly-fishin

(54) Fly Fishing 101

(55) To Catch a Big Halibut, or Ling Cod

(56) The Bountiful Bones of Ascension Bay

(57) Grayling in the Eye of the Beholder

(58) Fly Fishing for South Fork Clearwater Steelhead

(59) Manitoba's Red River - North America's Catfish Capital

(60) Eliminating the Spook Factor

(61) Trust Your Electronics

(62) The Most Important Hatch of the Year

(63) Early Season Nymph Fishing for Trout

(64) Finding Success for Ice Trout

(65) Walleye can be Humbling

(66) The Secret to Landing the Big One Finally Revealed

(67) Winter Flyfishing

(68) North Saskatchewan River - An Underutilized Gem

(69) Hot Fall Pike Action

(70) Tips and Tricks to Save the Summer Slow Down

(71) Reading Trout Stream Waters

(72) Frequently Asked Questions

(73) Streamer Fishing for Larger Trout

(74) The Lure of Big Walleye at Last Ice

(75) Deep Water Perch

(76) Post Spawn Brookies

(77) A Fisher's Life

(78) The River's Last Stand

(79) The Big Ones Come out at Night

(80) Coho on the Coast

(81) Chasing and Catching Halibut

(82) Summer in the Mountains

(83) Peak Walleye Season

(84) Slow and Steady Wins the Race

(85) Last Ice Rainbows

(86) The Burbot Event

(87) Tackle Matching

(88) Ice Fishing Strategy #2 - Going Light

(89) Ice Fishing Strategy #1 - Location

(90) The Lure of Brook Trout

(91) The Shallow Water Hunt is On

(92) Hot Backswimmer Action Happening Right Now

(93) Fishing Among Giants-Pursuing Lake Sturgeon on the Prairies

(94) Adventure at Davin Lake Lodge, Northern Saskatchewan

(95) The Vesatile Plug

(96) Bead Head Flies, Plugs and Shot and other Spring Favorites for Pothole Trout

(97) Planning your Upcoming Angling Adventures

(98) Good Fishing at Last Ice

(99) Maximize the Odds - Use Multiple Presentations

(100) Daily Fish Migrations

(101) Fish Migrations - Following the Spawn

(102) Lake Whitefish - An Ice Fishing All Star

(103) Pick Your Favorite Brook Trout Lake...and Go Fishing

(104) A Look Ahead to Great Trout Fishing

(105) Wrestling White Sturgeon on the Fraser

(106) The Fun in Ultra Light

(107) Flyfishing and Leadcore Lines

(108) Embrace the Spirit of Adventure

(109) Never Stop Learning

(110) Ice Fishing is Getting Hot

(111) Jigging through the Ice

(112) An Ice Fishing Unsung Hero – The Setline

(113) Rainbows on Ice

(114) The Season of Ice Begins

(115) Red Hot Fall Pike Action

(116) Hitting it Right with Water Boatman

(117) Facts On Cats

(118) West Coast Adventure

(119) June Walleye Frenzy

(120) Aerated Lakes are Big Trout Factories

(121) "First Fish of the Year - Pothole Rainbows and Browns"

(122) "Northern Exposure"

(123) Sometimes There is More to Fishing Than Catching Fish

(124) Early Season Pike On The Fly

(125) Man Overboard