Follow Fish to Fall Hangouts for Fantastic Action


It’s time once again to think about fall fishing. Nature has started providing us with the signs to remind us autumn is closer than we think. Just like summer fishing is different in some ways than spring fishing, the fall on the water can be different for us than in summer. Some small changes in our presentation and location will help us catch more fish now.

Location is always an important consideration, and we often think that the autumn fish will be in deeper water, and in some lakes and at various times they will. But there are also periods when they’ll move shallow. Lakes that have fall spawning baitfish, such as tullibees and whitefish, will see walleyes, northern pike and muskies in the shallows, chasing and eating these fall spawners. They’ll probably hang in the deeper water close to the spawning areas during the day, but at night when the spawning baitfish move shallow, so will the predators.

I’ve also had some memorable days catching largemouths in the shallow reeds this season. Warm days are best, and the best reeds will be near deep-water vegetation where the bass will spend much of their time, but bass that are shallow in September are often biters. In fact, most predator fish shallow now will be biters.

Several years ago on Leech Lake in north-central Minnesota, the report was that the bite was not real good. Most anglers were fishing the mid-depths, so that’s where we started, along the shoreline breaks in 8 to 10 feet. The reports were right, but the action wasn’t so good. The wind was also blowing into the shoreline we were fishing, and we accidentally let it blow us in close to shore.

We made a couple of casts to the shallows with a 1/8-ounce, minnow-tipped Fire-Ball jig—we had immediate hook-ups. But after we caught a couple more, we then switched to 1/16-ounce Fire-balls that seemed more “appropriate” for the water we were throwing into, which was at 2 feet deep.

The walleyes didn’t know they weren’t supposed to be there, but they were. That afternoon was probably the fastest walleye action I’ve ever experienced. We would fish one point, catch a bunch of fish, and then move to another shoreline where the wind was blowing into it. As long as the wind was blowing into a shoreline, the walleyes were there.

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So go with the bigger baits this fall. Maybe start off with the smaller stuff, but when you do find the fish, show them the larger baits and you’ll catch larger fish. We use a lot of 6-inch suckers and the largest redtails we can find in the fall for walleyes and smallmouths. If you’re after numbers of fish, you might want to size down a bit, but not much. In this season, even the smaller predators will take on a larger bait.

Keep in mind that for the past few months the fish have seen a lot of baits and will become conditioned to certain ones. Try different baits or the same with different colors or even one that looks a lot different and you can catch more fish.

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Big fish, and lots of them, can be taken in the fall.

When the trees are full of color your livewell can be full of fish.