Wednesday, November 6, 2019

November Shallow Water Walleye

When there's a chill in the air and the water is getting not just cooler but cold it's time for me to start looking for my 30" fly tackle walleye again. Cold nights on the lake are lonely, and I like it that way. Just me, what few crickets are left, the herons, and the fish. 

The spring fishing tends to be better overall, and it can be so, SO good, but the fall fishing is a little different. At least in the places I fish, it seems harder to get a handle on. And these are all stillwaters, it's funny to me how many assume my walleye are river fish at first. I can count on one hand ho many walleye I've caught in rivers... three. Three total. Perhaps it's because CT walleye stillwaters are so hard to get a handle on that it's easy to assume my fish must not be from lakes. It isn't easy to get them on the fly, unless you have a lot of time, a lot of will, and take notes consistently. I've seen the fishery go through interesting swings since I started. I caught my first walleye on the fly on July 1st 2015, out of a pond, after sunset, on a big articulated streamer. Through 2015 and 2016 I had good walleye fishing at night during the summer in two bodies of water, though the bulk of it was in the aforementioned pond. That pond also produced good fish in the fall and early winter of both those years, especially on warm nights and cloudy, rainy days. That pond started to show signs of decline, producing only three walleye in 2017, only one in 2018, and none at all this year. In 2018 though I nailed down a spring pattern in a larger body of water, then a fall pattern as well. This year that effort gave way to more consistency, though the fall fishing remains sort of on again, off again. In the spring it seems that once the fish are "there", they're always there until June when they start to get sporadic, and if you can't catch them that's your own fault. In the fall it never really gets solid. One day being great doesn't mean the next day, even if the conditions seem better on paper, won't just be a perch slay-fest with not a walleye to be found. This fall I've had far more off days than on days, but I'm getting a little better at determining the subtleties. 

Yesterday (Nov. 5th) was the first day that produced the target species this fall, though it started out with... not that.

Micropterus salmoides
This largemouth was a bit of a weirdo. The fight confused me severely. I had no clue what I was going to get, or even how big. I can't even describe it... it was just odd. Not the typical late fall slow, dogging, maybe a jump or two, largemouth fight. 

And after that I got what, for this lake at least, wasn't a bad white perch. Were I expecting to catch more this size or even just a little smaller I'd definitely have kept it. Lucky for it I wasn't in the mood.

Then I got that faint touch and set into something that did sweeping headshakes and 10ft runs. I know a good walleye from the first seconds of the fight, and in shallow water, on the fly... let's just say the idea that walleye are no fun on the other end of the line gets dismissed pretty quickly. These fish do pull, even on the heavy gear I'm using on my quest to best a true behemoth. And because a walleye kept grows no more, she went back. They all do in my trophy hunt spots.

Until next time.
Fish for the love of fish.
Fish for the love of places fish live.
Fish for you.

Thank you to my Patrons; Erin, David, john, Elizabeth, Chris, Brandon, and Christopher, for supporting this blog on Patreon.


  1. Nice work! A species that I've ever seen in person. Need to change that asap.

  2. Good Bass and Walleye. I can't remember the last time I caught a Walleye.
    Tie, fish, write, conserve and photo on...

  3. Beautiful walleye, especially on a fly rod.