Early Fall Fishing on Lake Wisconsin

  • Joel Ballweg
    Sauk City, Wisconsin
    Posts: 3295

    Most of my fall crappie fishing is done in September but the crappie fishing certainly hasn’t been anything to write home about this fall. We still caught some fish but it was nowhere near as good as it’s been in past years. Probably the best part of our early Fall crappie fishing was all the different species that showed up on the end of our line.
    It’s quite common to see anywhere from 6 to 8 different species when we go crappie fishing. That in itself is as much fun as catching big slabs. For the most part, we use 4lb test line on ultra-lite rods & reels when chasing crappies. So when a 19″ smallie or 23″ plus walleye decides your crappie jig would make a very nice little snack, the ensuing battle is quite a bit of fun. And when a 20lb + carp eats one of these jigs, you better plan on using a considerable amount of patience in the battle that follows or you and that ultra-lite rig of yours will most certainly suffer a severe butt kicking from the fish below.
    We also saw a pretty decent number of yellow bass in our catch this year and for the first time, I kept some of those to see how they fared on the table. I can honestly say, they are far, far better than a white bass and rank right up there with bluegills and crappies when it comes to table fare. From now on, when we go pan-fishing with the plan to keep something for supper, yellow bass will not be given a free ticket back into the lake. And added bonus is even though they don’t grow nearly as big as white bass, they are quite chunky and give up a very nice, thick fillet for there size.
    We also saw several catfish of both varieties come over the side of the boat. None were bigger than 2 or 3lbs and all went back in the lake. A few perch always show up as well. Basically on an average crappie fishing trip in the fall, we will see bluegills, crappies, perch, white bass, yellow bass, smallies, saugers & walleyes. Occasionally we will also see a carp, catfish or largemouth as well.

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    Joel Ballweg
    Sauk City, Wisconsin
    Posts: 3295

    Fall walleye fishing for my boat started the first weekend of October. The weather and the fishing made it a bit of a rough start but by this past weekend, things changed rather quickly for the better.
    The last weekend of September we were fishing in 80 degree weather, a t-shirt and we used lots of sunscreen. But the first weekend in October saw us fishing in a cold rain, temps below 40 degrees and water temps that had dropped from 67 degrees on the surface down to 56-58 degrees. I wore long underwear, bibs and a large rain proof overcoat and there was certainly no need for sunscreen.
    The bite was bit tough and I’m pretty sure the fish were thinking the same thing we were. If nothing else, Mother Nature made sure we knew that summer was officially over!
    The walleyes and saugers, although we caught some it was a lot of work and in general, they didn’t bite so well on that first weekend of October.
    However, given a week to acclimate, there attitude towards our baits this past weekend was dramatically different.
    We tied on a B’Fish N’ Tackle H20 jig, tipped it with a chart/pepper moxi and never really took it off for the entire weekend. I for one love it when that happens. Makes guiding pretty easy and kind of makes up for all those tough days when you go thru a couple dozen different baits trying to find something, anything that will put a fish in the boat.
    Other than a 20″ + sauger, big walleyes or saugers never did show up on the end of our lines but no one seemed to care as we were all quite happy to be yanking sauger after sauger over the side of the boat. Saturday morning was really good and my clients took home a limit of good eaters between 15 and 18″ long.
    Sunday was even better with fewer short fish and more saugers pushing the 17″ plus mark and far fewer short saugers. We ended up being a bit more picky on which legal fish went into the box and my clients again took home a limit of great eating saugers.
    And the weather this past weekend simply could not have been any better. Its a rare occasion when the fish put on the feed bag and the weather is that nice. We definitely took advantage of it and enjoyed every last minute of our time out on the lake.

    Hopefully, this is a sign of things to come for Fall walleye and sauger fishing here on Lake Wisconsin this year.

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    Chuck Melcher
    SE Wisconsin, Racine County
    Posts: 1962

    Good job as always Joel… Those Saugers sure have some cool markings.

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