Spinner heads. 'Tis the season for vertical jigging. Even up here in the frozen north, the lakes are still open. More importantly, the ramps are still open. Highly unusual in Minnesota to have ramps free of ice and snow at Thanksgiving. The muskie heads are overdosing.Steelheaders are happy. But the ice fishermen are peevish and irritable. And most walleye fishermen are in that crowd.
Are they nuts? Just because there's Sta-Bil in the gas and the outboard's been winterized? This would be first ice a lot of years and it's hot. The fishing is just as hot with no ice. The fall runs of walleyes up rivers started months ago. In lakes, it's lights out on main-lake transitions at the base of structure. In Southern reservoirs with walleyes and in a lot of places around the country, this time of year is the best. Best for numbers, best for size. The real hulks come out of the woodwork.
On rivers, a lot of people can be out this time of year. You may find yourself alone with hundreds of walleyes on a lot of lakes and reservoirs, and in no real need of a secret weapon, but here it is anyway. Spinnerheads rock in fall. Northland Tackle Thumper Jigs (shown above) are awesome up through 3/8 ounce. If you need a heavier jig, Cabela's makes them up to 3/4-ounce. A number of companies have spinnerheads, including custom jig maker Tim McFadden of TC Tackle, who can pretty much make what you want in the size you want.
Anyway, walleyes are ready to eat right now. They're creating fat reserves for winter and putting on calories, just like I am (doh). If they can see it and find it, they'll eat it. That blade can be a big help, especially in cloudy water. Rivers right now are up and rockin' all over the country. Walleyes don't mind. They just tuck in a little farther behind wing dams and other current breaks. In lakes, the blade will bring them from quite a distance. The extra flash and thump they don't mind. You won't either. The difference can be stark, between a plain jig and one adorned with a blade this time of year in all kinds of water. Try it and see. Never hurts to experiment with flash in fall.