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South Williamsport, PA
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The Hunt for October Walleyes

I must admit that I do not pursue walleyes with the same dedication that I have for trout, bass or even panfish but I do enjoy some dedicated walleye fishing on occasion. In previous years I would often travel to various locations in Canada just for the opportunity to catch walleyes and many of those

I must admit that I do not pursue walleyes with the same dedication that I have for trout, bass or even panfish but I do enjoy some dedicated walleye fishing on occasion. In previous years I would often travel to various locations in Canada just for the opportunity to catch walleyes and many of those trips were very productive. On a couple of different fly-in lakes in Canada my buddies and I caught hundreds of walleyes over the period of a week and even the St. Lawrence River has produced some great walleye fishing at times.

Possibly my lack of devotion to walleye fishing is partly due to the fact that Pennsylvania is not necessarily a prime walleye destination and I have been somewhat spoiled by the great walleye fishing in Canada and the St. Lawrence River. That being said, however, understand that while Pennsylvania may not be a top contender for the best walleye fishing we do in fact have some very worthwhile walleye fishing.

Walleyes prefer cooler water temperatures and as fall approaches our lakes and rivers are becoming more inclined to giving up some good walleye catches. As I mentioned at the beginning of this piece we are not necessarily a top walleye destination but there are some good lakes and rivers where they can be taken with some regularity. The truth is our own Susquehanna River can produce some good walleye fishing at times and it may even be getting better in recent years. Like the pursuit of any fish species it pays to know and understand the walleye’s habitat preferences and feeding behavior. Obviously there are some stretches and holes in the river that are more productive than others; find those spots and with the right presentation you will likely be rewarded.

There are also a number of lakes even in our area that will cough up some decent walleye fishing but I’m reluctant to name them here since they are not big lakes and I would not want to see too much pressure placed on them. Unlike the big, remote fly-in lakes in Canada our local lakes won’t give up dozens of fish in an evening but they may yield some good fishing. On one such lake a few years back my brother and I began trolling out of a bay towards the main lake when my rod bent indicating a strike; I ended up landing a 27 inch walleye-my best in several years. On other trips to that lake I have taken three or four walleyes while pursuing bass; on some future trip I’m going to dedicate my time to the pursuit of walleyes.

Any number of lures and baits will work to take walleyes. A simple in line spinner fished at the right depth can produce action. My wife Sheila and I were fishing the St. Lawrence River just out from Cape Vincent, New York some years back when her rod bent sharply; she thought her Mepps spinner was snagged. When it began to move in another direction we realized it was a good fish; 15 or 20 minutes later I slid the net under her more than 29 inch long walleye. By the way, adding a nightcrawler to a spinner may increase your action.

A number of other lures are known to take walleyes as well. Any minnow type lure like the Rapalas and Rebels can be affective especially if they sink or are rigged to be fished deeper. Walleyes are not shallow water feeders-that is water less than say four feet although the river may be an exception to that. Lead-head jigs are always a good choice but you may again want to add a nightcrawler, leech or minnow to the hook.

In weeds you may want to consider a spinner-bait type lure since they are somewhat “weedless”. Another good choice for walleyes in weeds is a Carolina rig- cone sinker, bead, swivel, a length of line and a weedless hook with some sort of bait like a nightcrawler. A Texas rig is also relatively weedless and even a lead-head jig on a weedless style hook and bait attached can be a good producer.

You may have to experiment with lures and techniques but fall is a good time to begin your hunt for Pennsylvania walleyes.

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