There’s a 20- or 30-minute window we call the “flash bite” on lots of local lakes we’ve been hitting, where the fish are snappin’ at sunrise and sunset. After that, the flasher goes blank. Now what…go home? Nope:
Often we figure out one window/movement of fish and when we quit marking fish…we assume that the bite is over. The bite might indeed be over if we don’t make any adjustments, but the reality is that we can prolong the bite and keep catching fish if we move with the fish.
The toughest aspect of catching walleye well after dark is forgetting some of the lessons we tend to learn during the day. So often, finding and catching walleyes is all about reading structure and focusing on edges. After dark however, you can throw that edge mentality out the window.
My favorite after dark locations and patterns are not necessarily classic walleye structure or breaklines that are close to deeper water. Typically, large flats or even basins and large shelves shine after dark…walleyes will often push up and roam much shallower water than you’d think.
I use the whitetail deer analogy a lot when describing walleye patterns and movements. During the day, deer might follow an edge…but come middle of the night, they might be standing out in the middle of a soybean field that is several hundred acres. Walleyes can also be just as random after dark.
Because the exact location of fish can be so random on large flats and shelves, fishing these areas takes a certain kind of mentality. You can spread out tip-ups to increase the chances of contacting these roaming fish or you can fish out of a shelter but in this situation, you have to realize that the fish are going to find you.
This isn’t a situation where you can necessarily move around to find these random fish, set up so that at some point during the night these fish find you. What makes after-dark patterns for walleye so much fun is that these fish are typically much more aggressive and these fish are looking for a meal.
On some fisheries, walleye will also be more apt to eat much higher in the water column well after dark. We have seen many scenarios where we caught more walleye after dark by fishing half way down in the water column, especially for big fish. This is particularly true for set rods and tip-ups with big bait.
Don’t expect activity all night long, wait out the windows because ninety percent of the activity will happen during ten percent of the time.
Read Jason’s full write-up here.