Late Fall Challenges
The fall fishing season can make for many different challenges in pattern as the run from early fall to late fall can be completely different. In September, the fish are consistently shallow, and finding them is much easier than it is as you approach late fall. Things like cold fronts and water drawdowns from your river levels can completely change your catching pattern. Water temperature, and many times color – especially hard bait lure color – can affect whether you catch fish or not. In grassy lakes, dead grass vs. green grass can really change where the fish are located as they stay clear of dead grass and migrate to the green grass. This is an issue of oxygen as dead grass dissipates or uses oxygen and green grass creates oxygen.
It’s also probable that shallow water, because it generally is colder than the deeper water this time of year, kills the grass, and the dead grass appears first in the shallows. It’s important that you constantly observe your temperature gauge; if the water temp is in the mid 60s to low 70s, the fish will probably be up shallow early in the day, hence creating a great top water opportunity. If it’s colder, they will probably migrate to the mid-creek areas and the warmer water temperatures. I have also found that crank baits create bites when the bass are in this mid-creek pattern. Multi-color chartreuse and reds in crank baits seem to mimic their feeding pattern of blue gill this time of year. As is always the case, baitfish lead their way, so if you are not seeing bait on your Lowrance electronics then move on, as you are missing one of the keys to finding fish in the late fall.
Lastly, cold fronts in late fall can be devastating and really cause you to have to do a lot of moving and searching for bass. The bass migrate to the deepest parts of the creeks that feed the main lake areas, hunker down and become really lethargic and hard to catch as they are just not active when this happens. The more drastic the cold front, the more difficult the bite becomes. You have to fish harder and cover water to be successful.
-Captain Mike Gerry