Oh so ready for Fall Fishing
Ask most anglers and they will say this summer presented some of the most adverse conditions they have endured to fish. There were many days of 90+ temperatures making mid-day fishing grueling along with all the fronts passing through that adversely affect fishing and finding fish.
We are so ready for one of our favorite fishing season, fall; when we can go back to mid-day fishing, when fish move into shallow water where we can catch them as they become more concentrated, when all fish species are getting active and feeding more to prepare for the winter, when cooler weather means no bugs, fewer anglers, that uniquely pleasurable outdoors experience and some of the best fishing. We feel there are fewer anglers as many are hanging up their rods and reels for their shotguns and bows. But as dedicated anglers, we find fall offers a variety of unique fishing conditions and the chance for some of the fastest action of the year. However, there is a transition period which is all about changing conditions in the weather during fall causing the fish to continually adjust or be moving and can be deep one day and shallow the next.
In patterning times and places to fish, there is no substitute for experience. This is where keeping a fishing log book will help and can be referred to when planning trips. To find fish just search out areas of good water such as creeks and tributaries that can supply fresh water, wind-blown shoreline with cover, bridge piers, creek channels, bluffs and the presents of baitfish is an important factor. Since fish are holding nearer to shore during fall, shore fishing is a good option and fun.
Crappie and walleye are a favorite fish from October till the end of the year but we will try to cover what is happening with different species of fish you may wish to target and provide some tips that have worked for us.
BASS will move into shallow areas and even main lake flats with inside bends as water cools where there is forage and hiding places to ambush these baitfish. Target any shoreline objects, secondary points, backs of coves with reaction-type lures shallow-running plugs, spinnerbaits, swimbaits or soft jerk baits in cover and plastics on bottom. Early fall can also be a good time to use surface plugs when you see surface action. If the wind is pushing baitfish into an area, this is a great opportunity to try a lipless crankbait to cover more water.
BLUEGILLS will most always be in or near remaining weeds along shore and move out as weeds die off as winter nears. The same wax worm and small bobbers fished along weed edges will catch these fish.
CATFISH too will move into creeks and onto flats to feed up for the winter months as days get cooler and even more so if cloudy or low light conditions. This may be surprising to some, but most all the same baits work including our favorite, Hoss's Hawg Bait.
CRAPPIE have spent most of the summer scattered and suspended out in deeper water, but fall will cause crappie to school up and migrate into coves or bays where slow drifting jigs and minnows will locate and catch these fish. Jigging directly over fallen tree tops can be very productive or use a small bobber if preferred. We tend to catch bigger crappie in the fall but remember that fall means clearer water and light penetration is important to the depth crappie will be at.
MUSKIE & PIKE will now become more active and feeding on baitfish along weed edges but do not appear to relate to any dying or dead vegetation. Many are caught by accident while Bass fishing from late September to November on large plugs trolled or casting jerkbaits, bucktail spinners and spinnerbaits.
STRIPERS & WHITEBASS are on the move as fall progresses and chase schools of shad near the surface often on a shallow flat. These fish can be wary and boats will interrupt the action so try to make long cast with jigs with twisters (double rigs add to catches and the fight), roadrunners, spinners,, swimming plugs, surface baits and blade baits or even casting/jigging spoons. Also look for these fish in tailwaters of a dam, water discharge areas and at mouth of tributaries.
WALLEYE anglers have been waiting all summer for this cooler water and the elimination of the thermocline as big walleye will come up river and be shallower to feed or gorge on food at tributaries. Trolling crankbaits, stickbaits or pulling live rigs on or near bottom will catch these fish. As waters cools near 50, we like to go to jigging minnows or crawlers for a slower presentation. Check out your favorite walleye lake before it gets any colder.
TROUT are catchable during the Fall Trout Season that opens at 5am on 3rd Saturday in Oct. for Illinois. A fishing license and inland trout stamp is required, check the IDNR website for lakes locations throughout Illinois or watch our website. Try a small spinner, corn or trout paste and even trolling small crankbaits.
We know this may have been a tough or stressful year, but learning to modify your approach with changing weather can help catch more fish. The key to fishing success is to learn about the fish you target and how they live.
Fall Fishing can be rewarding and a great time outdoors, try different tactics and remember what worked during spring will work again in the fall. In fact you will probably become hooked on fall fishing.
Till Next Time GOD BLESS & GOOD FISHING !