We are well into late fall now, but don’t think we are anywhere near the end of our open-water fishing for 2012! I have been having some excellent success recently and the fish are absolutely beautiful–I like to call ‘em “fall fatties”–OINK, OINK!
I shared last week a report about a recent adventure out west, http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/blogs/2012/10/been-adventure-report-10292012/ . You can review that and get some ideas about fishing patterns on Nebraska reservoirs right now. Those patterns should hold for awhile yet, maybe until freeze up.
One night last week I managed to scratch and release a couple of nice largemouth bass from an eastern Nebraska reservoir, public water. One of those fish was 19 inches, I would guess around 4 pounds and the other was approaching 21 inches and in excellent condition–pushing 6 pounds I am guessing. If you want a hint about how I caught those fish, here it is, http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/blogs/2012/05/suspense/ .
Water temperatures are definitely cool right now, I still had a surface temp. in late afternoon of 50 degrees F in southeast Nebraska last week, but it is going to be cooling more than that as the days pass. That means fish are generally moving towards deeper water, but a person can still find some feeding activity in the shallows especially when we have some stable, warming weather. The best shallow water areas likely will be close to deeper water, fast-breaking drop-offs and structures are classic fall “hot-spots”. I will also look for spots like that where there is some protection from the wind, especially the cold north winds, and shorelines that can soak up some sun on a warm afternoon. I always say the best time to fish is whenever you have time, but I especially try to target late afternoons and early evenings as the water cools even more. Warming that occurs during the day can result in some fish that are a little more active late in the day.
Another general rule of thumb that I follow in the fall, especially for warm-water and cool-water species of fish, is to slow down. In most cases slower presentations will get more responses from the fish in late fall. By “slow” I mean I am letting baits, even artificial baits, even crankbaits, sit still more than I am retrieving them. Put ‘em in their faces, let ‘em know your bait is there, and then give ‘em a chance to respond.
Who knows what the weather will do, but for now at least we have some relatively nice weather for late fall and it looks like it will continue for a few days more. I know this much, this time of year, I try to get out on the water as much as possible because who knows how much longer the weather will hold? I do not necessarily plan to catch lots of fish in late fall, but I do expect that if I put in the time I will end up with some of the biggest and best-looking fish of the year! I ain’t done yet, not even close.
Leaving you with a couple photos of some recent “fall fatties” (one is a repeat I know, but it was such a pretty fish!).