It was a flashback to summer this past week, with warm temperatures and southerly winds better suited for August or July. The weather phenomenon appears to be short lived, with cooler temperatures returning this week.
If you have any doubts about what is coming soon, the Minnesota Wild professional hockey team is already in camp and playing preseason games.
Surface water temperatures were temporarily on the rise again when air temperatures returned to the 70s and low 80s for a few days. Most lakes are entering the new week with surface water temperatures back around 60 degrees.
The fish have already got the message, they know winter is coming and they are starting to establish their fall patterns, despite the uptick in water temperatures.
Many walleye anglers have switched back to jigs and minnows, although live bait rigs with leeches, nightcrawlers and larger minnows will also catch walleyes on most lakes.
The days with anglers covering water with bottom bouncers and spinner rigs are done for the season. Anglers need to slow down their presentations for most species when the water temperatures cool down in the fall.
Northern pike and muskies can be the notable exceptions for speed in the fall, although anglers often use large jerk baits, glide baits or large crankbaits late in the season, which are usually fished slower than bucktails or speed trolling.
Anglers fishing for crappies and sunfish often go vertical in the fall. Many anglers fish off the sides of the boat, trying to get small baits to fish suspended in deep water.
Tungsten jigs keep their small size profile and fish heavier than lead. They are a good option for anglers trying to get smaller baits to panfish in deep water in the fall.
Walleye anglers will also go vertical in the fall, especially when fishing with winter type lures like jigging minnows and jigging spoons.
Most anglers fish jigging minnows without bait, while putting a minnow head, a piece of nightcrawler or leech on the hook usually works better when using jigging spoons.
Even when slowly sliding along the breakline for walleyes, many anglers want to keep their jigs and minnows close to the boat. This gives anglers more control of their jig and helps them get better hook sets in deep water.
Anglers often use ¼-, ⅜- or ½-ounce jigs for walleyes in the fall to help them stay in good contact with the bottom.
Anglers may need to switch to a medium action rod to better accommodate the heavier jigs. A mushy rod tip usually results in weak hook sets and lost fish.
Fishing crappies and sunfish in the fall is much like fishing them during the winter. It is extremely helpful to be able to see your bait and fish on sonar at the same time.
If you can see your bait on sonar, you can always be sure you are at the right depth. It also allows you to adjust your presentation and use your “closing move” when a fish gets close to your bait.
Perch are also very active during the fall. Perch like a variety of food choices, much like walleyes. The big perch seek out areas holding crayfish and minnows, which usually means gravel and rocks with a mixture of chara and other vegetation.
Most perch are shallow at this time of the year. Anglers will usually find other predators near the schools of perch, which usually results in a mixed bag of fish.
This is one of the best times of the year for muskies and big pike. They will follow the schools of tullibees and whitefish into the shallows as they get ready to spawn, which brings the suspended fish into the shallows in the fall.
Anglers can use lures that imitate tullibees and catch both big pike and muskies. Don’t be surprised if a big walleye or bass grabs your lure, everything likes bigger baits in the fall.
Paul A. Nelson runs the Bemidji Area Lakes Guide Service. He can be contacted by calling or texting 218-760-7751 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org