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Getting Ready For Fall Fishing

By Bob Jensen - September 1, 2003
Although it still feels like the middle of summer, the signs that autumn will soon be here are unmistakable. The corn is starting to turn to gold, the young geese that were incapable of flight just a few weeks ago are now flying everywhere, and football seasons are starting. Those events all mean one thing: Fish will soon be entering their fall patterns. The time for big fish throughout the Midwest is quickly approaching; here is how you can take advantage of the great fishing available during the fall months.

As in any other season, you must be able to find the fish. In the fall, the fish can be in a variety of locations. In some lakes they will be on wind-swept points, along weedlines, or on deep structures. Just like in the summer, autumn fish will be wherever the food is. Unlike in the summer, there are fewer baitfish for the gamefish to prey on. Therefore, if you can find the baitfish, a large concentration of walleyes, bass, crappies, or pike will probably be nearby.

Don't spend too much time fishing on one spot. If you see what you think are gamefish on your sonar, fish for them. If you don't see signs of gamefish, keep moving.

Jig and minnow combinations are great for numbers of fish in the fall. A Fire-ball jig tipped with a three or four inch minnow will take just about any bass or walleye that might be down there. A redtail chub is the minnow of choice much of the time. Go a tad smaller if crappies or perch are the quarry.

If you are searching for a trophy, a Roach Rig or the Fire-ball with a larger redtail will be productive. A five or six inch redtail is about as good as it gets for the truly big ones.

Trolling crankbaits at night is another good bet for really big walleyes. Try a Frenzy medium minnow in an area where walleyes are known to hold. Large sand or rock flats that are near deep water can provide exceptional action.

Also, don't forget to try throwing minnow shaped crankbaits from shore. Lots of areas that are close to shore will hold

"Unlike in the summer, there are fewer baitfish for the gamefish to prey on..."
walleyes, but any area that has some current will usually be best.

If largemouth bass are what you want to catch, don't forget to throw a spinnerbait with a large blade to rush beds that are near deep water. Overcast, warm days in the fall are best for this technique.

As you can see, there are lots of ways to catch lots of big fish in the fall. And, with hunting seasons and football season being in full swing in the fall, numbers of anglers are reduced noticeably. On some bodies of water, you'll have all those fish to yourself. That should be encouragement enough to try fishing in the fall. Get out there and find out for yourself just how good fall fishing can be.

Author Bob Jensen
Bob Jensen
Bob Jensen is the host of the Fishing the Midwest television series, a series of television fishing shows that highlight fishing locations and techniques throughout the Midwest. He also writes a syndicated fishing column and does fishing seminars throughout the Midwest. He is a former fishing guide and tournament angler. Visit Bob's web site at
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