There’s Still Lots of Time for Fishing

August 31, 2015 by  

Labor Day indicates to many people that the end of summer is near, and to some that means it’s time to put the boat and their rods and reels into storage. Anglers who quit fishing in early September are missing out on two months of some of the best fishing of the year. Keep the following ideas in mind and you’ll discover that fishing in the fall will add a lot of time to your fishing season.

Many species of fish like to get caught in the fall.

Many species of fish like to get caught in the fall.

Keep in mind that different bodies of water will be productive in the fall at different times. A shallow lake with dark water will often be better earlier in the fall, while larger, deeper lakes with clear water will turn on a little later in the year. Small shallow lakes cool off earlier, so the fish in those lakes are reminded by Mother Nature that autumn is coming and they need to fatten up. This reminder comes later to fish in the larger, deeper lakes. Rivers will continue to provide great open water fishing after the lakes in the area have frozen over.

As the water cools off, slower presentations will become more productive. Crankbaits can be good for walleyes and smallmouth bass early in the fall, but a jig and minnow or jig and soft-bait will get better as the water cools off. A Fire-ball jig tipped with a big redtail minnow is an outstanding presentation, but a long-shanked jig tipped with an Impulse Smelt Minnow will be just as productive in the fall much of the time.

The same thing holds true with largemouth bass. They will aggressively eat a spinnerbait or buzzbait early in the autumn, but as the water cools, largemouth will be more frequently caught on a Jungle Jig tipped with a piece of soft-bait with a subtle action.

Another presentation that we’ve been employing a lot in the fall is a dropshot rig. I fondly remember my introduction to dropshotting. It was October a good number of years ago. My friend Barry Day and I were on West Lake Okoboji in northwest Iowa. Barry was in on the early days of dropshotting and was going to show me how it’s done. As we were putting the boat in, a boatload of anglers were leaving the lake. They suggested we forget about fishing: They’d been throwing spinnerbaits for several hours and action was sparse. Barry assured me that we’d get bit. Barry was right. In the next four or five hours we caught a bunch of smallmouth and largemouth, a few walleyes, a couple of pike, and a variety of panfish, all on dropshot rigs. Just remember that in the fall, slower presentations will often be better. Be sure to try an Impulse Leech on a dropshot rig.

Also remember that much of the time, larger, bulkier baits will be better in the fall, especially if you’re looking for big fish. Not always, but often.

Autumn weather can be chilly. I always have my Cabela’s Guidewear in the insulated version in the boat this time of year. Guidewear will help you stay comfortable in conditions that could be uncomfortable, and that makes your time on the water much more enjoyable.

Autumn provides lots of outdoor opportunities and what to do can be a tough call. Just remember that the fish are hungry when you’re making your outdoor decision in the next couple of months. That reminder can make your decision a little easier.

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