Now that the weather is cooling down, football should not be the only “F” word on your mind – the fishing is some of the best you can find. The nights are getting cooler, and the fish know what that means. To them, this signals the time to start eating for the long winter ahead.
Let’s talk about what they are doing now. Bass are natural predators, they are going to follow baitfish. Most baitfish in lakes at this time will start heading to creeks and coves in order to feed-up, the bass will follow suit to feed on them. They will also start munching on crayfish more than normal now. One thing to pay close attention to is the color of the crayfish this time of year. They begin molting for the fall, and will start to show an orange color. Crankbaits with the brown body, orange bottom work super in the fall. I try and throw a lot of baits with some orange for this very reason. Top-water can also be electric this time of year. There is a new one on the market called a Whopper-Plopper, I recommend picking one up in (90) or (110) size in the “bone” color. It is a combination of a spook and buzzbait, just cast it out and reel it back. Tube baits and jigs also work great now, as the bass are looking to the bottom for crayfish.
Panfish will begin eating as well; look in the ten to twelve foot range for them, as the sun comes up they will move closer to the bank. Some people like to use a bobber with a big leader. You can use a colorful jig head with a fat-head minnow, piece of worm, or a waxworm. They also become more aggressive again this time of year. Pay attention to trees that have fallen down in the water and rip-rap banks. They draw in bluegills and crappies this time of year.
Catfish will continue their hunts at this time. Cutbait, nightcrawlers, chicken liver, and live bluegills are hard to beat. One thing to remember if you are fishing at night; don’t worry about casting out as far as you can, big cats often come in shallow searching for an easy meal.
This time of year also signals something very important to a certain species. The urge to spawn hits the salmon in Lake Erie and Ontario now. This is the time of the year that the rivers and tributaries are lined with anglers looking to hook into one. If this is your first time, please do not think you will go up and be sore from catching fish. Like anything else, those who do catch them at will have practiced their trade. They know how to read the water, and what stages the fish are at. Please do your due diligence and research the area you will be fishing, and talk to those that do go fishing. They are the ones that can help you out the most at this time. Pulaski is a popular destination, as is Oswego N.Y., this time of the year. Once the salmon stop in early November, people go for the steelhead and trout that follow them and then feast on their eggs.
I will say, if you have never tried it and said you always wanted to, please make sure you go, get some friends, family members and make a trip. It is a blast; along with the fish catching and camaraderie, you will make memories that last a lifetime. My family has been doing it now for going on fifteen years.
Until next time, get out there and enjoy this great fall weather!