While the woods are heating up and the waters are cooling down, this time of year is a great time to catch trophy fish. People are switching gears to hunting season which is leaving fish less pressured and more apt to seek food before the winter, and walleye are high-quality fish to hook this time of year.
DGIF’s walleye fisheries produce ample opportunities for catching this fish. The fall is a prime time to fish for walleye (and most other species) because there’s fewer competition with other anglers and walleye are feeding aggressively as winter approaches. Virginia provides great recreational opportunities for anglers to catch a unique fish species that is not found everywhere. And, walleye are considered to be among the best tasting freshwater fish to eat.
Walleye are annually stocked and most impoundments in the western and central parts of the state offer the best fishing. Smaller impoundments still provide great opportunities.
George Palmer, DGIF Fisheries Biologist, says the top destinations for walleye are:
- South Holston Reservoir
- Philpott Lake
- Claytor Lake
- Little Creek Reservoir
- Flannigan Reservoir
- Leesville Lake
“This time of year offer aesthetic value and fewer people on the water,” says Palmer.
Staunton River and New River are great destinations for walleye as well. Anglers can frequently catch them from the bank using a top water or crank bait, or simply a night crawler. Trolling for them and fishing at night are effective tactics, too.
“Anglers that have learned to fish for walleye do very well,” says Steve Owens, DGIF Fisheries biologist.
Most good-size walleye range from 4-6 pounds but can weigh up to 10 pounds.
Check our 2018 Walleye Fishing Report. Don’t underestimate cool water fish and colder weather – now is one of the best times to get out there and hook into something.
By Emily George