If you follow Lake of the Woods and the Rainy River and October fishing, you have probably heard this is a very interesting fall! There has been a very good run of big shiners up the Rainy River. That is a good thing, right? Well it is, but if there is so much bait, that also makes it more difficult to catch walleyes who literally have a buffet under their noses all day and night long.
The Rainy River is way down and the flow is slow. Normally, more water running in the fall is thought to be a key ingredient to a hot river bite. The thought is the walleyes in the lake can sense the river water and it pulls them in for the shiners. When it’s all said and done, everyone has thoughts but only Mother Nature really knows.
What we can share for certain is what has been happening. Earlier in October, the reports on the river were very mixed, we believe because of all of the bait. Some caught great, others struggled. This past week, we have heard some excellent reports from the river. What has changed? Again, time to check in with Mother Nature!
We can say that October fishing, around Halloween, there has traditionally been a good bite on the river. Unless something changes, things are shaping up nicely to follow suit. Some good reports east of Baudette as well. Move around until you find them.
There has been some very good October fishing reports from the lake all along. Areas in front of the Lighthouse Gap, Morris Point Gap and Zippel Bay are putting out some very nice walleyes. In some cases, there might be some sorting that takes place, but overall, some good fishing.
The majority of the walleyes being caught these days is jig fishing with a jig and minnow. There are a number of nuances when it comes to jigs and minnows and each angler has their favorites. It is good to have a number of tools in your jigging tool belt when it comes to jigging. One thing is for sure, October is a month to get your jigging fix.
Color. Lake of the Woods is stained water. Consequently, there are some go to colors that work quite consistently. Gold is one color that absolutely shines and is a staple color in anglers fishing this system. As many long time LOW anglers will tell you, use any color on LOW as long as it’s gold. In some cases, the gold is combined with other colors such as glow red, glow, pink or orange.
Other strong colors when jig fishing are pink, orange, chartreuse and glow. Glow is an interesting choice in colors as it really shows up nicely in stained water. The other caveat is the different colors of glow that are available now. Glow red, glow pink, etc. Glow is also a nice complimentary color that is added to other colors.
There are also jigs now that have many different edges, almost like a disco ball. These jigs reflect light differently and some anglers swear by them.
Shape and noise. Some jigs have different shapes. Most are round but there are other shapes that can be attractive to walleyes. In current, thinner molded jigs can cut the current allowing a different action and allow a lighter jig to be used.
Some jigs have extra noise attractants on them. In some cases it’s a rattle, in other cases a propeller or spinner. It is amazing how, in some cases, a little bit of noise can make such a difference.
Hooking the minnow. Most anglers who jig simply hook the minnow through the lips when jig fishing. This technique is effective unless the walleyes are short biting. Many of the charters on LOW have their customers hook the frozen shiners through the mid body. Basically, place the hook of the jig through the mouth and out of the gill of the shiner, push it all the way up to the lead head and then hook the minnow through the mid section. In the stained water, the walleyes are less finicky about the presentation and this allows for a better percentage of successful hooksets.
Add a Stinger Hook. Stinger hooks can make the difference between a great day of jig fishing and just an OK day of jig fishing. A stinger hook is a small treble hook on a short piece of fishing line attached to your jig. The purpose of the stinger is to get a hook in the tail area of your minnow if the walleyes are short biting and you are missing bites. It has amazed me over the years first off how delicate a nice walleye can bite. Secondly, how such a small stinger hook can stick a bit walleye and keep it buttoned up to the net.
October fishing and using a jig can be an easy way to fish, certainly effective and relaxing. At the same time, there are ways to get this technique to be more productive. Thinking about the nuances and understanding how to use them can up the ante on your walleye jigging performance.
Last modified: 10/30/2020