Every fall seems to have its own twist. Just when you think you know what to expect from year to year you get a fall like this. We had our fair share of rain and much cooler temps than we would normally see for the early part of fall. This unseasonably cool weather dropped our water temps in to the 40’s very quickly and in general had a bit of a negative affect on many fisherman. Some of the normal hot bites were nonexistent while other bites changed very little. I found the quicker I excepted these changes the better off I was.
The smallmouth fishing this season was as good as anyone could have hoped for again with 100’s of fish coming to my boat alone. We had plenty of days where there were multiple trophy sized fish caught with many fish exceeding 20″. We caught most of our fish in 2’ – 10’ rock and gravel areas. Some days they wanted top waters but for the most part we caught our fish on sub-surface baits. Minnow profile baits were best, with frog imitations coming in at distant second. The colder the water got the slower we needed to move our baits. The last day I fished smallmouth we needed to basically let the lure sit in front of them and wait for them to bite. That was a big change from earlier in the month were we were ripping the bait through the water to get strikes. It’s just amazing how fast things can change with a change in water temp.
With water temps in the low 40’s now and smallmouth in my rearview mirror, I have my sights set on crappie and walleye. The crappie have definitely been the more willing participant between the two. Catching a limit of nice crappie has been something an angler can accomplish in a pretty short order. With water temps in the low 40’s the crappie have been suspended over deep about 10’-30’ down. Setting your bait inches above them usually yields a hit in seconds. Small jigging raps or a small jig and a minnow have been working best for me. The walleye on the other hand have been much more difficult to pattern this year. I’m holding the drastic water temp change responsible for this. Limits of nice walleye are still being caught at times, but it hasn’t been consistent. There are usually 3-4 lakes that are on fire, but not this year. That’s fishing though and that only means there will be more fish for anglers to chase this winter!
With deer hunting the next two weeks this is a great time to hit the lakes. There will be very few anglers out and there’s no better time to catch a trophy than in November! I can honestly say I’ve caught more walleye over 30” in November than any other time of the year! My recommendation for the coming weeks would be to target crappie during the day and hit a small walleye lake for the evening walleye bite. Good Luck!