Brad Laabs: As weather goes, so goes September fishing
September is always a month of significant change for our weather and, because of this, for fishing also. We typically will have a number of cold fronts, high winds, multiple wind changes, inconsistent temperatures and some warm days with some co...
September is always a month of significant change for our weather and, because of this, for fishing also. We typically will have a number of cold fronts, high winds, multiple wind changes, inconsistent temperatures and some warm days with some cold nights. It is not uncommon to get our first frost in September.
Fishing can be as up and down as the weather during this month. You can have some days that you will be the hero on the water, and some days that you can be the zero (or produce one). Fish locations transition with the weather change. They are here one day and gone the next. Things re-stabilize as the weather settles into some consistency. By October patterns become more identifiable and consistent, thus, fish location and fishing becomes more consistent.
As we settle into a stable fall pattern, fish will school more tightly and feed consistently as they prepare to settle in for the cold water season. This is also the time of year that larger minnows and minnow imitating baits produce better than night crawlers or leeches. Frogs can become the alternative bait other than minnows.
Walleyes have set up now in a couple of patterns. Some fish have moved to shallow weed areas and are biting in 6-12 feet of water, and some continue to hold to deep water mid-lake structure and can be from 20-35 feet. Look for schools of baitfish, and the game fish will be close. Crappies are holding off sharp breaks off weed edges in the 12-18 foot water. Musky anglers will transition soon to the live bait strategies using large suckers on weed edges off the large shoreline flats.
Smallmouth bass fishing always picks up with aggressive feeding this time of the year. Many lakes in our area hold quality smallmouth. Some of the more popular fall smallmouth fishing lakes include White Earth, Cormorant, Island, Lida, McDonald and Strawberry.
No matter what your fish species preference, the fall can have some days off abundant catches with some great opportunities for some trophy catches.
Dress in layers this time of the year, as mornings can be in the high 30’s to low 40’s with some sun power and significant warming to the 70’s. When the sun starts to set in the evenings the air temperature changes dramatically and fast. Wind can always be an issue and makes cooler temperatures feel down right cold. An outside layer of a wind proof material is a must to help maintain comfort. I think it also takes a while for us to acclimate to the cooler temperatures after several months of nice weather. It always amazes me how cold 40 degrees feels in the fall and how warm 40 degrees feels in the spring! Weird difference in our orientation to weather.
We just finished our second “super moon” month and night fishing was very successful for walleyes during this last super moon. We will have a harvest moon that should be just as productive coming in early October. I recommend you try to plan accordingly to take advantage of this upcoming night fishing opportunity. This will also be one of the few years we will probably get a full moon chance on the open water in November as well. November’s full moon will be on the 6th. I sure hope we still have open water then! Most years we are closer to Thanksgiving before we switch from soft water to hard water. Minus a short “tweener” time with the layoff before the ice is safe, we still have 16 weeks of fishing left for 2014.
(Laabs runs Brad Laabs’ Guide Service in Detroit Lakes.)