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October 31 fishing report for Pool 9
Provided by Peck's Pool 9 guide service
Water temperatures have dropped significantly over the last 10 days, with River levels falling steadily into the normal late fall range. The temperature drop from mid-50s into mid-40s has pretty much shut down the bass bite til ice fishing time—but the walleye bite has come on like gangbusters!
Seasonal walleye movement in the Mississippi is predictable, even more so now than in the spring. Change in water temperature is the greatest driver of this change. When water temperatures warm to about 45 degrees in the Spring, the walleyes are in shallower water and spawning. When it falls to 48 degrees in the fall, the marble eyes sense a need to start feeding aggressively.
Ten days ago when the River was still in the 'Action' stage, the best place to fish was current seams where walleyes found food and could hold with little effort in high water. Current seams which produce back eddies are obvious. Current seams which result from changes in River depth and volume are more subtle.
When temperatures hit 48 degrees about a week ago, walleyes began moving away from current areas and staging along the 10-13 foot depth contour. As temperature continue to drop, the depth contour where fish are staging will go steadily deeper. A couple of days ago the "magic' depth was 17 feet. A week or so from now it will probably be 21-24 feet.
When water temperatures drop below 40 degrees walleyes spend most of their time in wintering holes, typically over 30 feet deep. But until then, key on contours—but don't overlook feeding shelves, especially on a rare sunny afternoon!
The predator/prey relationship is the biggest motivator in fish movement. Fish follow their food. On a sunny afternoon, subtle changes in water temperature may push baitfish up on shallow points where they can be easily ambushed by pike and walleyes.
Keeping one rod ever-ready with a search bait like a Rat-L-Trap or Shad Rap can quickly confirm if fish are on a chew in shallower water. If a couple dozen casts fails to yield a strike, return to the contour du jour and fish hair jigs, plastics, blade baits or pull 3-ways.
Larger bait profiles are often more effective in the fall. My favorite is a "Teddy Cat" Echotail blade bait with a 3 ½ Kalin Sizmic shad tail. This creates a bait profile nearly six inches long…big, yes, but not too big to be garwoofled by a foot-long sauger or walleye!
Note: For more detailed information you can follow Capn. Ted's blog on his website www.tedpeckfishing.com