Looking Forward to Fall Fishing on Shelbyville

As I’m writing this, the lake is just above summer pool. The water temperature is still in the mid-80s, but things are going to change. Weathermen are predicting several inches of rain over the next two days and in the 70s next week. So, the level is probably going to rise and the water temperature drop.

Fishing may be slow for a few days, but, by the time this comes out, hopefully, things will be calmed down and fish will be transitioning into fall patterns.

The water temperature will decide which species will be biting the best. Largemouth bass and walleyes might still be pretty active in October. The water still should be warm enough for them to be active. My first choice of lure to find them would be a small-to-medium crankbait. We’ve had pretty good luck on 200 and 300 series Bandits the last few years.

If you’re just interested in the largemouths, you might also try buzzbaits, depending on water temperatures, or a spinnerbait. Some people go right to slower baits like worms and jigs, but I like to try the faster baits first to see if they’ll hit them. Other species will also hit them.

Most species are going to be moving shallow. The cooler the water gets, the more baitfish will be moving towards the shorelines. They tend to get into large schools and move up and down the banks. This brings the predator fish in, looking for them.

Where to find big whites
A lot of people will be looking for the white bass. They should be in the shallow areas, looking for an easy meal. Some should still be out on the main-lake flats (the big shallow banks). Try ones the wind is blowing into.

Some may also be in shallow areas, back in creeks and big coves, the wind doesn’t affect these areas as much, so, if you don’t find them on the main lake or if it’s too windy to try out there, go back in a creek, find a shallow bank and try there. Again, the most popular bait here is the double-rigged, 3-inch twister-tails. That means putting one about 12 to 18 inches above the other on your line.

The water still may be a little warm for excellent crappie fishing, or it could be just right. They usually don’t really pick up until the water drops below 50 degrees. But, as I said last month, we’ve been catching them all year. You just have to work a little harder for them in the warmer water.

In early September, when the water was still in the 80s, some days we found them in as little as 4 to 6 feet of water.

In the fall, we fish much like we do other times of the year. In the warmer water, they’re usually either a little deeper or, if they’re shallow, they’re holding very close to some type of cover. You’ve got to get your bait into and around the cover and watch your line very closely to detect subtle hits.

Of course, we use jigs instead of minnows. That’s just a matter of choice. We fish primarily rocks or wood for them, riprap, lay-downs (fallen trees), and brush piles. When they’re close to the cover, and not aggressive, you get more snags and usually lose a few baits. As the water cools and they get more active, they’re more apt to come away from the cover to catch your bait and it gets easier to catch them.

Like the rest of the year, a lot depends on water temperatures and weather conditions. But, I’m looking forward to cooler air temperatures and fall fishing. Don’t forget, this time of year, the lake is beautiful with the trees changing colors on the banks!