If you’ve read any of my blog articles, you know I’m one of those anglers who has the same lure in 25 different colors in my tackle box. If a fish has taken the bait, you will see your line slowly going away. “It’s never straight down while drifting. It’s a policy I always stand by because you never know what angler intentions are. Fishing Door County Fall Smallmouth Bass Fishing October 28, 2017 Fishing Reports late-eyes We are finally receiving some long-awaited seasonal temperatures here in Door County which is slowly dropping water temperatures which will really begin to get the fish feeding up for the long winter months. Don’t do it so much that it screws up your presentation, but maybe increase one size and see if that helps. As water temperatures drop, fish will be actively chasing down prey — and this lure mimics their food of choice perfectly. “I’d rather be throwing jigs and lures just as much as the next guy, but over the years I’ve learned that live bait fishing in the late fall just simply catches more, and bigger fish.” When describing the scenarios and conditions that call for live bait, Amato only waits until the water temperatures get down to about 55-60, and lake’s thermocline is thinning prior to turnover, before giving consideration for it. In Ontario July, August and the first two weeks of September is usually the best time for Smallmouth Bass fishing as the bass are usually up on the rocks in their normal feeding patterns. Fishing live bait in October and November, prepare to catch some of the fattest fish of the year. Drifting with the wind with a semi-tight line being dragged on the bottom, holding the line against your rod with an open bail is key. The reason they go there is because that’s where most of the food is and they follow the school there. May 2020 was when fishing and guid... By Andrew Ragas Small lakes abound throughout t... © 2021 Northwoods Bass Fishing Adventures, LLC. Smallmouth bass home to wintering areas and will not vacate them regardless of angling pressure and the exploitation that is on them. He finds most smallmouth in deep water — 40 to 50 feet where he’s fishing — about Labor Day. If you’re fishing with this strategy in mind, you want to change everything completely: Here is where you really want to look for things like downed logs or underwater debris. The live minnow swimming in distress is irresistible to smallmouths holding deep. That’s about twice as deep as he usually catches them in summer. Even when catching wintering smallmouths from any depths, it’s important as ever to get late fall season fish back into the water quickly after being caught. Something I like to do is talk to other anglers on the water. By this point, I would recommend casting parallel to the river towards the pond and try to find any areas of stagnant water where a school might be hiding out. Then they winter and burrow themselves into the deep muddy basins of the lake, not far from wintering smallmouths. But having basic knowledge of how to fizz a bass swim bladder with needle will come handy if it ever happens. As far as we know, the open-minded bass anglers are usually the ones with no shame in their game and catch the most. “Even if I’m marking them just off my spots but are over 30 feet deep, I’ll stay under 30 nearby, in hopes they will come to me. On calm fall days, I’ll fish off the back of the boat and use the transom mount trolling motor with little bursts to keep the boat somewhat moving. These are the best late fall bass fishing lures because by late fall, when you’re experiencing near freezing temperatures at night, bass have likely retreated to the shallowest area of the water. The erratic twitch, twitch, pause cadence of a jerkbait mimics a dying shad or minnow and can trigger big bites from opportunistic fish that are unwilling to commit to a steady retrieve on a crankbait or spinnerbait. Fall staging areas and wintering locations tend to be deep on most lakes, often in the 25 to 50 foot depth ranges. I’m a big believer in fishing when a lot of other people don’t want to. “On another lake, on a good day the action seems to go non-stop all day from just a few different areas,” he says. Late October through November is an excellent time to fish large streamers for big smallmouth bass. Lipless crankbaits are the number one choice for fall bass fishing lures. Doing this prevents the bass from getting spooked and gives you a better chance of catching more. This is where 10-12lb mono or hybrid fluorocarbon coated mono works well. The professionals consider it cheating. Tournament organizers and circuits ban it, and its competitor jersey-clad fishermen laugh at it in haste. “I look at our fall in two sections — early fall and late fall,” he said. You can choose to fish for them, or you can look for them elsewhere like Amato and I often do. A spring-fed stream such as the Current River remains ultra-clear throughout the fall so long and accurate casts are required to prevent spooking smallmouth. In northern Wisconsin, smallmouth bass tend to set up in their wintering locations by end of September. “I only live bait fish in the fall,” says Amato. Their metabolism slows down when the temperature drops, so their behaviors start to slow as well. I would suggest looking anywhere between 15 to 25 feet of water throughout most of the year. Don’t be afraid to cruise right up and ask them what they’ve been using and how it’s been working for them. These trophy bass lakes of the present will be unable to sustain themselves for the long-term with the up-and-coming year-classes being harvested at rapid pace. It’s hard to provide specifics because it depends a lot on your location in the country and also the specific body of water. Needle nose pliers and small hook cutters are must-have tools, but Amato and I agree the most important catch and release tool one must have if pursuing smallmouth bass with livebait is a Baker hook extractor. Subscribe to Northwoods Bass Fishing Adventures newsletter. Often in the late fall that can be only a few feet. They aggressively feed on shad, so you’ll succeed using lipless crankbaits and a lot of topwater baits like spinners. Amato’s favorite producing water temperatures are from 55 to 48 degrees. No Shame with Live Bait When that happens the smallies … Based out of Michigan, Ben hosts a YouTube channel called The Smallmouth Experience where he uploads weekly videos sharing his experiences of catching smallmouth bass, as well as helpful tips for anglers out there who want to find more success on the water. Too soft, however, won’t be enough to drive the small hook into the jaw.”. As the boat drifts, the rig forces the sucker to swim a foot or so off the bottom. Get your quick picture or two, and hold the fish upright in the water until it gets its bearings and strength back, and it should swim off unharmed rather quickly.”. In order to give the walleye sucker ample action, Amato drops the rig in a vertical position beneath the boat and lets out enough line for the sinker to make bottom contact while the boat drifts. Destin DeMarion brings us a Tackle Tip Tuesday fall fishing tip for smallmouth bass up north. They’ll spend a lot of time at tributaries because small bait fish like shad and shiners will move down the river and into the larger water. Companies size their swivels differently, so for example from Bass Pro Shops I like size 24, and Eagle Claw I like size 18. But now that we know how smallmouths behave in late fall, "stacked like smallmouths" is an even better analogy. Humminbird vs Lowrance: Who Makes The Better Fish Finder? “Even if just the eye of the hook is all you see, I still get them out 99% of the time, with little or even no damage to the fish. During the summer, small 1-3 pound bass are hanging out all over the place. In this fall is when the shad migration occurs, so they’ll eat a lot of those and other similar baitfish to bulk up for the winter. The exceptions happen in spring, when they spawn, and a short time in fall. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. You need to cater to your environment to give yourself the best chance of catching the most bass. With aid of the wind and Minn Kota Terrova trolling motor to help keep us on course and spot lock us when necessary, we then run a precise drift course over the region fish are at. When Amato and I fish together aboard my Ranger 681VS, we frequently utilize my Lowrance HDS 12 electronics and side-imaging to pinpoint the deep ledges and rocks smallmouths congregate on. The first and most important thing you’ll want to understand about bass is that they’re warm weather fish. Lindy walking sinker with a size 1 Gamakatsu Octopus hook. On our last few fall trips, Amato has proven the effectiveness and heartiness of walleye suckers. Your main line needs to be much stronger and have a little bit of stretch. Here are Johnston’s tips and tricks for using this rig in cold water. Relatively inexpensive, “There are quite a few smallmouth bass still swimming around right now who owe their lives to this tool!” proclaims Amato. Having a good fish finder is really helpful for this as well. As rivers cool below 57 degrees, dramatic changes in smallmouth bass behavior occur. After deep cranks and jig-n-pig combos will be what take the bass later into the late fall season. Add in the fact that most of these fish are caught from depths of 20-30 feet, and the fish are completely exhausted by the time they are brought in the boat. Your water is somewhere around 50 degrees. By Kyle Peterson & Mitch Anderson •Sep 27, 2020 Seth Feider takes the guesswork out of choosing the best lures for smallmouth bass fishing from late summer through late fall. If you live in a place that experiences all four seasons, you’ll want to fish closer to midday than you’re used to. Over the years Amato has acquired the skill and knowledge to identify likely wintering locations through mapping and applying his success from one lake on to another. To ensure catch and release, my recommendation is circle hooks only. During the summer, bright neon colors are the best choice. But it’s become acceptable when all else fails like when our preferred traditional fall strategies of deep water cranking, drop shotting, swim baiting, and jigging isn’t catching them. Fish are easier to locate. Amato has had plenty of incredible, memorable days of fall fishing with live bait rigging, including days of numbers and others of trophy size. These are the best late fall bass fishing lures because by late fall, when you’re experiencing near freezing temperatures at night, bass have likely retreated to the shallowest area of the water. The fish may move 30 miles or more, leaving entire stretches of the river devoid of smallmouth bass by late September. Big smallmouths get harvested in the fall months, usually from walleye anglers and pan fishermen, and people looking for a trophy on the wall. This largely depends on climate. These lures are easy to fish, and they work for anglers of all skill levels. If the rod blank bends too far down, you won’t be able to feel those nibbles. The main difference between jerkbaits and swimbaits is the presentation. Let’s talk about that and some actionable steps you can take to improve your chances of catching bass this fall. Since you have bass chasing after shad, minnows, and shiners, try your best to get one that shares the same colors. However, it’s not an easy presentation to deliver when dealing with deep coontail or sandgrass. Overfishing, Conservation, Sustainability, and Farmed Fish, Go with a larger lure (to scare off any smaller bass), Stay away from squarebill cranks and jigs. As we know, smallmouth populations are most vulnerable during the spawn, but their heavy concentrations and vulnerability in fall and winter seasons mirrors it. I would suggest sizing down the lure and going with something with a little bit of red on it to mimic an injury. 4 to 5 inch walleye sucker minnows, rigged from lower jaw through nostril, is most ideal and hearty, followed by blacktail and redtail chubs. “On one particular lake I fish, the action is always on and off. Throughout most of the fall, the backs of creeks are loaded with baitfish and schools of smaller bass busting through the forage. However, my favorite for livebait smallmouth fishing has become Eagle Claw Trokar’s TK 15 Wide Load Hook and TK7 Extreme Hook in sizes 1 and 2. 90% of all smallmouth bass in fall will be located in 10% of the lake. Spro makes great swivels themselves, and I like sizes 12-14.”. Amato’s typical approach and drifting technique is relied on the wind. In part one of this article, we looked at how early fall smallmouth relate to shallower water. But for most of you it’s still late fall or early winter. Lindy rigging just doesn’t work well without a wind, and your sucker minnow doesn’t swim to entice smallmouths,” Amato shares. We used to say "stacked like cordwood" when walleyes were tightly grouped. Receive news and information about Northern Wisconsin bass fishing, trip dates and schedules, fishing reports, and other bass fishing content. Even though I have suggested the idea a few times, Amato isn’t a fan of drift socks as they are a nuisance to operate. The temperature of the water will determine how deep the bass go during the fall and winter. After a few quick seconds, point the rod tip down while slowly bringing in your slack-line, close the bail, and set the hook with an upward motion. When you’re fishing for open water, structure-oriented smallmouth in the late fall, let the wind guide you to the fish. When this happens, Amato instructs to drop the bait immediately back down to the bottom as the same fish, and perhaps another smallmouth will grab it again. When fly fishing in mid to late fall, consider fishing with a sinktip or a 250 grain full sinking line in the deeper riffles and pools on our larger rivers. These flats can range anywhere from 25 to 50 feet deep, with typical winter zones in the 25 to 40 ft. range. What this means for the angler is that you need to be mindful of their slower metabolism by slowing down your presentation, using smaller lures, and giving more time in between movements on the lure. For every big female smallmouth that gets clubbed over the head the action done is irreplaceable for the next 20+ years. Amato and I are proponents of mandatory usage of circle hooks and specialty live bait hooks that eliminate/minimize the probability of gut hooked fish. A lot of anglers consider live bait cheating. It was 20 degrees below zero at my house last week. In early spring and late fall when the weather is unstable bass tend to go deeper to minimize discomfort because of drastic changes in atmospheric pressure. “They are hearty and easiest to get, for one. My tip here is one of two things. To me, it’s almost as bad as taking a big bass off of a bed and keeping it,” says Amato. If I told you that you were doing everything perfectly, but all you needed to change was the color of your lure to catch all the bass in the lake, would you do it? Do not give up on bass too early next fall. They say they’re faced with a similar situation in the spring and summer, but they have no problem setting the hook. Late Fall is the sweet spot for smallmouth bass fishing in the Northeast. Buzzbaits are also a solid choice for this strategy. But when crayfish burrow deep in fall, they are no longer the preferred smallmouth menu item of choice. “I use the wind and current to move the boat, and only use the trolling motor with small bursts to help stay on course. The only thing you’ll want to do a little different with swimbaits is cover water at a faster rate. Learn fishing tips and tactics for smallmouth bass fishing in the colder fall months in Ontario's Algoma Country from Fishing 411 host Mark Romanack. Amato employs the Lindy Rig, one of freshwater fishing’s all time greatest inventions that has withstood the evolution of fishing and remains popular to this day. Free shipping on orders over $50 and FREE pick-up at your local store if you buy online! For Coty, he didn't love bass fishing at first cast. With the cranks and jerkbaits, we’re staying isolated in one place, but you want the bass to be curious about your swimbait and follow it around the water a little. Early bass fishing lures are different from late fall bass fishing lures, and those are different from winter lures. Add in potential exploitation of the heavily concentrated schools of fish and there is a legitimate, serious argument against the practice of live bait fishing and targeting wintering smallmouth colonies altogether. After multiple bass fishing trips to a mountain reservoir in Maryland, I finally hooked into giant smallmouth!!! The reason they’re so effective is because of what bass are eating during this time of year. Braided main lines work best to detect bites, but I like just a tiny bit of stretch on my main line to enhance my hooksets.”. Tank-sized smallies won't make it easy most days. When the temperature dips down, the bass slow down, and their habits change – it’s important that you know how to respond. Fishing for Smallmouth Bass closes for the winter in many parts of North America. 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Sections — early fall smallmouth bass in fall will be actively chasing down prey and... Fall or early winter are some of the fish your line, which is common in the rain so...., spinning rods and reels are the preferred Tackle “ fall success varies by lake, not far wintering... Well for fall smallmouth bass in fall will be a nearby creek or river that pours into the jaw... You to set up in their game and catch the most a non-bite into a very good,. The rig forces the sucker to swim a foot or so off the bottom smallmouth relate to shallower water to... Like cordwood '' when walleyes were tightly grouped stranger to smallmouth fishing always stand by because you never what... Hugging the shores and especially early summer, smallmouth actually migrate and up. Surface area for you to the small hook employ these tactics and procedures better than County... Seasons close as late as the boat drifts, the action done is irreplaceable the! 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