Summer gets all the attention. Warm weather and beautiful sunshine make it enjoyable to be on the water, but fall bass fishing is a hidden gem amongst anglers. Watch the boat traffic on your local lake in the summertime and see an endless stream of boats launching into the water. Compare that to fall where area lakes are seemingly barren. While the temperatures may be dropping this fall, your fishing doesn’t need to cool off.
Many game fish prefer moderate fall water temperatures as they fuel up for colder days ahead. With more stable water temperatures, fish can actually be fairly easy to find if you know where to look. So why do you need to be on the water this fall and not putting the boat in storage?
Boat traffic in the summer can put a damper on your fishing. Many larger lakes and rivers experience heavy boat traffic throughout the summer months with boaters, skiers, and tubers making their way to the water. While fun to participate in, these activities can cause a lot of frustration on the part of the fisherman due to steady wakes and disturbed shorelines.
Fall offers you the unique chance to escape to the water when far less people are using the lake recreationally. Not only has the water temperature dropped, but vacation and tourist traffic drops off dramatically on the lake as the leaves change.
Field Staff Tip: “As fall approaches and water temps drop, it is a great time to fish. The lakes are less pressured and the signs of fall are beautiful whether it be the flocks of geese or beautiful fall foliage. It’s a great time to take out the kayak to look for hungry bass.”- Bonnie Timm
Less Fishing Pressure
Not only will you be dealing with fewer recreational boaters on the water, many other fishermen neglect to capitalize on fall fishing. Whether they are busy with hunting season or have used up all their vacation time during the summer fishing season, fewer anglers hit the water in the fall.
This provides you with an excellent opportunity to select and target the best places on the lake with little or no fishing pressure.
Consistent Water Temps
As the hot summer sun heats area lakes, the water temperature can become unstable and can fluctuate drastically from shallow bays to deeper water. Fall provides a more consistent water temperature and you are able to locate fish much easier.
Tip: Locating fish in the water channel is key to fall fishing success. Your first objective, when hitting the water, should be to find baitfish. Are they shallow? Suspended mid-lake? Use electronics to locate fish off deep weed edges and submerged cover.
Locate the Bait Fish
Bass and other game fish tend to school up in the fall and hunt for baitfish in numbers. It is not uncommon to spot 5+ bass cruising together. In these instances, follow their stomachs and locate the fish they are pursuing. Use everything from your electronics to visually spotting disturbances on the water surface.
Field Staff Tip: “I usually go a little bit slower and look for areas that will attract bait fish. Inside turns and windy points on rivers are great places to start.” – Randy Kruger
Shallow, Real Shallow
Depending on water clarity and temperature, you will normally find fish cruising shallow flats looking for bait fish. The dirtier the water, the shallower they will be. Adjust your presentation and baits accordingly. Shallow running cranks, swim jigs, and shad baits work extraordinarily well when bass are actively feeding in the fall.
Fall is a great time to try out shallow diving cranks and fast-moving swim baits. Fish are typically more aggressive as the water temperatures begin to drop, making crank baits, spinner baits, and swim baits great choices. You can cover a lot of water in less time. Fall fishing is also a great time to run top water baits. Fish are aggressive this time of year and most of the available forage is close to the water’s surface.