What a difference a couple weeks can make! Two weeks ago the heat was nearly unbearable at 7:30 in the morning… now we need heavy jackets, hats and gloves! Along with lower air temperatures come falling water temps. It’s truly amazing how fast animals in nature react to these cooler temps. Almost immediately the skies file with birds headed south, squirrels start stock piling acorns and the fish start moving to their fall feeding areas. In just the past couple weeks I’ve noticed a strong migration of walleye, crappie and bass into their fall feeding areas.
I’ve been fishing smallmouth in shallow rocky areas for the past few weeks. It’s fun to watch how these fish go from healthy normal looking smallmouth to football shaped hawg sized smallmouth. The amount of food they eat in a couple months is staggering! They will eat baits much bigger than most people think, I usually use 6”-8” long baits. It depends on the day, but we are using any bait that looks like a frog or a minnow. Top waters seem to work best when it’s overcast and when the skies are clear I prefer sub surface lures. We are catching well over 60 fish a day and the average size is 17” to 19” with a number of them going 20”-21”!
The walleye are also becoming more aggressive. Of course there will still be walleye in nearly all depths but I’m seeing a good number of fish move into the shallow areas that I’m fishing for smallmouth. Catching a walleye on a top water frog is always a surprise, but it just goes to show you anything can happen. The trolling bite after dark has been pretty strong as well. A #5 or #7 crank bait trolled at around 2mph has been working best. Once we get into mid-October I like to use more stick style baits like a #12 husky jerk. As the water temps drop I will also slow my trolling speed considerably.
The fall crappie bite is shaping up nicely. For the most part I haven’t seen the large schools suspended but they have been more than willing to bite on the 20’ foot shoreline breaks. Normally by October we will start to see massive sized schools of crappie holding over the deepest water in the lake. Most of the time they will suspended at 15’-25’. A small jig and a minnow or a small jigging rap presented at that depth will generally yield some fast action.
Some of the best fishing of the year is going to occur over the next month so don’t put that boat away yet! If you have any questions feel free to shoot me an email. firstname.lastname@example.org
Good luck fishing!