Get ready for fall fishing

August 17, 2015 by  

It seems like summer just started, but it’s already time to think about fall fishing. Nature has started providing us with the signs that remind us that autumn is closer than we think. Just like summer fishing is different in some ways than spring fishing, fishing in the fall can be different than fishing in the summer. Some small changes in our presentation and location will help us catch more fish in the fall. Following are some ideas for catching more fish this autumn.

Fall Fishing Tips

Big fish and lots of fish can be taken in the fall. When the trees are full of color, your livewell can be full of fish.

Location is always such an important consideration. We often think that fall fish will be in deeper water, and in some lakes and at some times they will be deep. But there are also times when they’ll move shallow. Lakes that have fall spawning baitfish such as tullibee and whitefish will see walleye, northern pike, and muskies in the shallows chasing and eating these fall spawners. They’ll probably hang in the deeper water close to the spawning areas during the day, but at night when the spawning baitfish move shallow, so do the predators.

I’ve also had some memorable days catching largemouth bass in shallow reeds in the fall. Warm days are best, and the best reeds will be near deep water vegetation where the bass will spend much of their time, but bass that are shallow in the fall are often biters.

In the fall, most predator fish that are shallow will be biters. I’m reminded of an afternoon several years ago on Leech Lake in north central Minnesota. The report was that the bite was not real good. Most anglers were fishing the mid-depths, so that’s where we started, along shoreline breaks in eight to ten feet of water. The reports we had heard were right, action wasn’t so good. The wind was blowing into the shoreline we were fishing, and we accidentally let it blow us in close to shore. We made a couple of casts to the shallows with the eighth ounce minnow-tipped Fire-ball jigs that we had been using: Immediate hook-ups. We caught a couple more, then switched to sixteenth ounce Fire-balls that were more appropriate for the water that we were throwing to, which was two feet deep. The walleyes didn’t know they weren’t supposed to be there, but they were. That afternoon was probably the fastest walleye action I’ve ever experienced. We would fish one point, catch a bunch of fish, then move to another shoreline that the wind was blowing into. As long as the wind was blowing into the shoreline, the walleyes were there.

Go with bigger baits in the fall.  Maybe start with smaller stuff, but when you find the fish, show them larger baits and you’ll catch larger fish. We use a lot of six-inch suckers and the largest redtails we can find in the fall for walleyes and smallmouth. If you’re after numbers of fish you might want to size down a bit, but not much. In the fall even smaller predators will take on a larger bait.

Keep in mind that for the past few months the fish have seen a lot of baits, and they will become conditioned to some baits. Try different bait or different colors or just anything a bit or a lot different and you’ll often catch more fish.

Autumn is a great time to be outside. The weather is mild, the colors can be spectacular, and so can the fishing. Now is the time to start planning to take advantage of fall fishing.

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