In between general deer and elk seasons can be a time to either head in from the outdoors or head back out to fish for walleye, one of the region’s more enjoyable catches and best-tasting meals.
Once hooked, walleye fight until they’re in the net. The species can be found in groups near steep drop-offs and points.
Water temperatures are continuing to fall to the lowest point for the season, and walleye are feeding to prepare for winter conditions, when their metabolism slows. They’re hugging the underwater floors but remaining active eating about anything that moves, including their close relative perch.
Crank baits with silver such as Wally Divers, or jigs with live night crawlers can be effective for attracting walleye. Heavy-duty leaders are usually not needed for landing the fish and can make the bait less attractive. But the Columbia River produces some of the state’s largest fish — including the state record walleye of over 19 pounds — so expect a fight.
Their feeding patterns usually take place during twilight and nighttime conditions. They see well in low light because of the white light reflected off their eye, which gives it a “wall” appearance in their “eye.”
The state rules for the Columbia between Wanapum and Wells dams are a minimum of 16 inches to keep and a daily limit of up to five walleye. Only one fish over 22 inches may be retained.
Banks and Moses lakes are typically active with feeding walleye, too. Bass are also easily caught on the same rig that would otherwise catch a walleye, but once examined the two are easily identifiable.
A simple way to prepare the catch is to coat the fillet cuts in breading and fry them in oil. The white fish flakes apart easily with a fork when done and is served well with about anything you would want to put on fish.