As we get further into the autumn period, the weather gets a little cooler. It’s generally not bitterly cold this time of year and, in fact, the weather can be beautiful. That’s what makes fishing such a good thing this time of year.
However, there are some days when it does get pretty chilly and, eventually, it’s going to get cold. That doesn’t mean we need to stop fishing: In fact, we should keep fishing. The fish bite really well on some bodies of water in the cold weather making that trophy a good possibility. If we want to take advantage of this opportunity, we just need to adjust our fishing habits a little bit. Here are some ideas for more productive and pleasant fishing from now until ice-up.
First of all, in the fall, it usually isn’t necessary to be on the water at sun-up. You can wait awhile and let the day warm up a bit. The best bite is usually later in the day, maybe from mid-morning to mid-afternoon. There can also be a good bite on some lakes after the sun has gone down, but that time of day is usually warmer than early morning. You can fish during the warmest part of the day and still have very good action.
If you’re fishing for deep fish, say walleyes, crappies or smallmouth bass, do lots of sonar work. Let your depth-finder tell you if you should fish a spot. If it reveals baitfish or larger fish, give the area a try. If nothing shows up on the sonar, keep moving until something does. This works best in deep water because the cone angle of the transducer covers a larger area in deep water, which increases the odds of showing if fish are present.
Once you find fish in deep water, give them plenty of opportunities to show you what they want. If you want walleyes, start with a four inch Gulp! Alive Minnow on a Slurp! Jig. If they don’t want that, try the three inch size. If it’s still a no-go, tie on a Fire-Ball jig and a redtail chub. No action, go to a Roach Rig and the chub. If still nothing happens, find a different group of fish, this school is too fussy. They’ll bite later. Employ the same tactics for smallmouth bass and crappies, but use smaller baits for the crappies.
You’ve also gotta’ dress for the weather. Dress in layers. Good underwear next to your skin, then a hooded sweatshirt, then a vest, and then Cabela’s GuideWear. The GuideWear is great stuff. It breaks the wind and any moisture there might be, and it’s warm. If it gets too warm, take the outerwear off layer by layer. Once you get to a comfortable layer, you’re set. When the day starts to get chilly again, start adding the layers back on. The layering system is easy, comfortable and effective. Try it!
Cold weather is no excuse to abstain from fishing in the fall. Poor fishing is no excuse. The only marginally acceptable excuse to not go fishing in the fall is that your favorite football team is playing, and that’s why someone invented radios. Turn on the radio, listen to the game and catch some fish. For some folks, that’s about the best fall day possible.