Among many anglers, fall is a favorite fishing season. As the leaves turn brilliant hues and temperatures drop to around 53.9 °F (12.2 °C) on average, excitement fills not just the air but also the water.
During this season, fish go into what anglers refer to as the "fall feed," a period in which fish become extremely active and aggressive in their feeding as they migrate and spawn. This is also the time of year when baitfish and other prey animals prepare for the winter.
As fish seize the chance to pack on the pounds, you, too, can take advantage of the opportunity to catch not just more fish, but possibly your biggest ones of the whole year. We’re talking trophy-sized walleye, musky, crappie, largemouth bass, striped bass, and other fall favorites. So if you think that’s up your alley, follow these tips to boost your fall catch rate.
If you notice a bunch of baitfish like glass minnows or shad, there’s a good chance that gamefish are lurking around the area. Casting at that spot, where gamefish are eager to ambush prey, will likely land you a catch.
Here are some lures you can use for your fall fishing:
Pay attention to birds.
Similarly, birds also a good indicator as to where the fish are. If you see gulls or terns gathering and feasting, there's a strong probability that there's gamefish nearby.
Take note of structure and cover.
Another good clue is the water structure. Many gamefish, like bass, are structure-oriented. This means they like to use the changes in the underwater profile such as humps, points, or rock piles both as a guide, and as a way to corner a number of baitfish against that structure. They also like to gather around cover such as vegetation or timber, and even around dams and rip-rap, making these areas ideal for casting.
Learn about moon phases.
We've already mentioned before that moon phases have an impact on fish behavior because of how they affect tides. Fish, in general, move with the tides, so you'd want to know when the highest and lowest tides are. You can do this by using a lunar calendar or a fishing app to determine when the full moon and new moon are. Fishing during and around these days increases your chances of catching high-quality, large fish because they tend to move around a lot at these times.
Fish at the right time of day.
The best time to fish during the fall is from late afternoon to early evening, when the sun is directly overhead and has sufficiently warmed the water to allow fish to go into a feeding frenzy. On the other hand, dawn to early morning would be the worst time because the sun hasn't warmed the water enough to be comfortable for the fish.
Fall is a truly fantastic time to fish. By taking note of baitfish activity, where birds gather near the water, structure and cover, the moon phase, and the time, you can increase your catch rate during this beautiful transitional season, and even catch your biggest fish of the year. So layer up with comfortable, protective fishing clothes and go get fishing! Don't forget to share your fall catch with us on socials.
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