Fall fishing tips
Autumn is in the air. You might not notice it during the day as much, but air temperatures at night are getting colder. If you look closely, tree leaves are not as green as they were a couple of weeks ago; they're starting to show just a tinge of yellow. Snakes and caterpillars and such are starting to show up on roads and sidewalks because those areas are a little warmer. These are just a few of the subtle signs that indicate that fall is closer than we might think.
The fish notice signs of the upcoming fall season also. Those signs tell the fish that they need to start eating in preparation for the cold waters of winter.
The various signs of fall affect the different bodies of water at different times. One phenomenon that goes on in many lakes is called the turnover. Turnover is when the water's surface cools and sinks to the bottom of the lake. The water in the lake essentially turns over: The water that was close to the bottom is now on the surface, the surface waters are on the bottom. After a few days, the surface waters and the deeper waters become pretty much the same temperature.
The turnover will goof up the feeding habits of the fish for a few days. In fact, it can make fishing tough. It works well to be on a lake that has either completed the turnover or on a lake where the turnover hasn't started.
Fish can be in a lot of different places in the fall. I like to keep moving until the best pattern is determined. I've had outstanding walleye action throwing Gulp! and PowerBait to shallow, windblown points, and done equally well working redtail chubs on Roach Rigs in deep water. Just like any time of the year, you've got to find the fish and then give them what they want.
Generally in the fall, big baits will be more appealing to the fish. It is believed that fish would prefer to eat one big meal than several smaller ones. When I used to guide for muskies, it was amazing how many big walleyes were caught while musky fishing. Those walleyes slammed ten to twelve inch jerkbaits and crankbaits very aggressively. We caught enough trophy walleyes while throwing musky baits to realize they weren't being caught by accident. They wanted those big baits.
If you're on big fish water, your odds for catching a really big one are good. Be sure that you have good line on your reel. If you've been using the same line all summer, you should strongly consider tying fresh stuff on. Your line is the only link between you and perhaps the biggest fish you've ever caught. FireLine is truly strong line and will work well for almost any fishing situation.
Across the Midwest, fall provides probably your best bet for taking a trophy, and it's also an outstanding time just to be on the water. In the next few weeks, find out for yourself just how much autumn has to offer the angler.
(For more fish-catching information, visit fishingthemidwest.com.)