Fall Fishing Tips
Most people avoid fall fishing as temperatures start to drop, but this can actually be the perfect time to catch some big fish. A very common mistake that anglers make is not understanding how fish tend to behave at certain times of the year. For example, you do now want to get on the water in the early morning hours because fish activity tends to be very low when the sun is very low in the sky. The best time to fish is in the afternoon or early evening when the sun is directly overhead.
The dropping water temperature causes many fish to behave more predictably as they anticipate the incoming winter. The “Fall Feed”, as some fishermen call it, is the time where fish become more active and aggressive in their efforts to find food. Walleye, pike, perch, and trout are popular ice-fishing species and are also the most active this time of year. The reason fish are said to aggressive feed in the fall is because baitfish and other creatures that they usually prey on will go into “Winter Rest” and will become much harder for the predator fish to find. Here are some quick tips on what species of fish will bring you the most success on your fall fishing trip and why and what types of lures you should be using to take full advantage of the season.
Top 5 Species to Fish in the Fall
The golden rule for finding most fish, including bass, this time of year is to find where the shad are. Bass will move to shallower water to follow shad. The larger bass that usually spend most of their time in much deeper waters can be found closer to shore near depths of about 15 feet.
Walleyes are actually much easier to fish in Autumn because they primarily prey on baitfish like bluegill and perch. Baitfish will naturally move close to shore searching for warmer water and for cover in weeds.
Salmon swim up streams to spawn their young in large spawning beds during the fall months. This species actually prefer cold water which is why they are commonly found in the Great Lakes and the Pacific Ocean. Like trout, fly fishing is how most people prefer to catch this fish.
Pike like to seek out cover in aquatic plants, but plants closer to the surface will die from the cold weather. This means that Pike can be found deeper than usual in the vegetation that is still alive.
A majority of trouts are found in streams and rivers and will be raiding spawning beds of salmon. The preferred method of catching trout is fly fishing.
Recommendations on Bait for Fall
Crankbaits are particularly effective when you match colors (silver chrome, bone, or white) and movement of shads. Shads are still the main forage bait for bass in most major reservoirs during the two earliest phases of fall.
This type of lure is great for targeting larger fish because they work on the heightened predatory instincts of fish in the fall. They can’t help by attack something that looks like its trying to get away.
Again, these types of baits are more effective because of the increased aggression of bass, walleye, and pike in the fall. The jerking and slashing action of the bait will it stand out from the twigs and leaves floating around near shorelines.