If any of you have fished at night before, you know how difficult it can be. Night anglers have to worry about everything from making sure they don't get locked in the launch parking lot to drunk boaters. Fishing at night can be tricky to get the hang of but is one of the best times to fish for walleye.
Why do walleye bite better at night? Walleye can see better in low or no light conditions than most other fish. Feel free to look up the technical reason but it has something to do with the make up of how their eyes take in light. If you want to up your success rate for walleye, target them at night.
The biggest tip I can give to a new night angler is to know that your own lights work and how to read the other boat's lights. You should familiarize yourself with which color light is on which side of the boat so you will know if a boat is coming at you or away from you.
I mostly fish at night on the St. Clair river and on some nights it is
pitch dark on the river. When the river is that dark, the only way to
navigate is by the buoy lights and other boat's lights. This is very
nerve racking to the new night angler. If you don't know the basics like light color, you could be in for a long night.
The second tip I would give to a new angler to fishing at night is to make sure you bring a GPS unit with you or don't stray too far from the launch site the first time you fish at night. You would be amazed at how many places look like the launch site as you make your way back at dark.
I remember the first time I fished at night by myself. I had fished the same river many times during the day so I thought it would be no problem making it back at night. Wrong... every well lit parking lot looked like the launch site as I made my way back. Make sure you familiarize yourself with landmarks.
Another rule to always remember while fishing at night is to be cautious of every boat you encounter. Even if you know the boating rulebook like the back of your hand, the other guy may not. I don't know how many times I have been cut off by a guy that didn't have the right away.
Do not get in an accident because you assumed somebody else knew what they are doing. Water and boats at night a lot of time involve booze so always be careful. I always try to have my air-horn by my side while fishing at night or at least a spotlight. That way, I can warn another boater if they are coming at me unintentionally.
The last tip I have for fishing at night is to have as many lights on the boat as possible. I always make sure I have a headlamp on while fishing at night but it doesn't hurt to have lights in the boat. If you have a small fishing boat like myself, try installing some of those bubble lights that you can stick to anything. These type of lights come in handy because you don't have to worry about wiring them and they are easy to turn on and off.
Now that you know how to safely fish at night, what about catching fish? When fishing at night, try shallow flats that are close to the deep holes that walleye like. At night, the walleye will come up on the flats to feed on bait fish or other small fish. Try targeting them with faster fishing methods like tossing crankbaits since they will more aggressive than during the day.
Hopefully this article will help the new night fisherman have a safe experience on the water. Catching fish is great but the most important part is returning home safe. Make smart decisions out there!