A classic jig & minnow presentation is tough to beat for walleyes in the fall — no way around it! Consequently, it’s become a bread-and-butter tactic in the arsenal of walleye anglers all over the north country.
When it comes to jig selection, we all have our favorites, but most of us are open to suggestions. Some fisherman like experimenting with hot new baits, while others stick to the tried-and-true options.
Tell ya the truth, there’s really no “wrong” answer.
We recently surveyed our email list of around 40,000 subscribers and asked them for their favorite fall walleye jig. We got a BUNCH of responses.
Here were a few of the most popular choices (in no particular order):
I mentioned above that this list is in no particular order, but I’ll be frank with you on this one: the Fire-Ball Jig was the most popular choice by a sizable margin. For those of you who know the ins-and-outs of the walleye world, this should come as no surprise. The Fire-Ball Jigs has been hammering walleyes for a long, long time.
It’s the #1 all-time winning jig on the MWC, PWT and FLW walleye tours, and it continues to catch’em today despite new competitors cropping up every year.
It’s short-shank wide gap hooks are great for hookups and holding livebait. Pair it with a stinger hook on days when you’re struggling with those pesky short-strikers.
Another popular choice was the VMC Neon Moon Eye jig, which is most notably known as Al Lindner’s favorite jig. He loves using it for snap jigging in the spring/summer, but it also works great for fall jigging.
The Moon Eye jig has two primary defining features. First, it’s aspirin-shaped head gives it a different action in the water compared to a round-head jig. My personal favorite feature is it’s massive 3D holographic eye. Eyes are always a big strike indicator on lures, no matter what species of fish you’re chasing.
A BUNCH of our subscribers listed the Odd’Ball jig as their all-time favorite, which is awesome for a few reasons.
First off, this is the only jig to make the list that isn’t made by one of the popular mainstream manufacturers. You don’t come across many commercials and advertisements trying to sell you an Odd’Ball jig. They might not have a huge marketing budget, but they sure as heck put a bunch of walleyes in the boat during the fall months!
Another reason why this is a notable inclusion is because it’s the only standup-style jig to make the list. It’s shape and configuration keeps your hook in an upright position, eliminating most bottom snags, and gives your jig a unique teeter-totter action thanks to it’s counterbalanced head.
Now for the first and only jig on the list featuring a built-in belly blade: the Northland Thumper Jig. The obvious utility of this lure is situations where you might want a little extra flash and vibration — that may include environments with low visibility and/or water turbulence.
Cast them around rocks, weeds or wood and swim, hop or drag them back to the boat. Often times you’ll get strikes when you changeup the action of the jig mid-retrieve. Mix in a “pop” in-between a long drag, try intermittently speeding up your retrieve, mix in some random pauses.
Lots of folks mentioned “hair jigs”, but there didn’t seem to be any consensus as to which one was best. In fact, many of the respondents simply stated, “I like fishing hair jigs with a minnow”. Even if I can’t name a specific brand for you, I’m glad that hair made the list.
One of the biggest benefits of using hair jigs is the added bulk they provide to your presentation. Sometimes fall walleyes are looking for a bigger meal, and hair can create the illusion of a larger profile. A hair jig tipped with a big minnow might just be what the doctor ordered.
Adding hair will also significantly alter your jig’s rate of fall, which can be key in many situations. Oh, and don’t discount the “color” factor. Incorporating hair into your fall walleye arsenal will allow you to test out unique color combinations the fish have never seen.
Another popular choice was the Northland Whistler Jig, far and away the most endorsed propeller-bladed jig amongst our readers, which comes as no surprise as it’s a proven fish catcher that’s been around for 40 years.
So what makes it so great?
Most believe the propeller’s primary purpose is to provide extra flash and vibration, but according to Northland’s Eric Naig, that’s not it’s most important trait. When the jig is falling, the prop creates a slow “helicoptering” motion which significantly slows the bait’s drop speed. This gives the walleye a little extra time to react, which can prove beneficial in cold water and low-visibility environments.
Brian Brosdahl will almost always throw 1/8 oz Whistlers, but he will occasionally upsize to 1/4 oz on windy days.
When we asked “What’s your favorite jig for fall walleye fishing?”, a BUNCH of you replied with the Jigging Rap. The only problem is that it’s not exactly a “jig” per se, thus the Honorable Mention designation.
The Jigging Rap has been around FOREVER and is more traditionally known as an ice fishing lure, but it’s exploded in popularity for open water fishing over the last decade or so. They are killer for deepwater walleye during the summer months, but the bite just gets better and better as the water temperatures drop in the fall.
Idle around large main lake structure until you mark some big walleyes on your graph, and then drop the Jigging Rap right on the head, jigging it up-and-down until they strike. This is a great way to target for the biggest walleyes in the lake, and often times you won’t even need livebait.
Get stories and tutorials on fishing delivered to your inbox weekly