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Why Fish in the Fall?

By Bob Jensen - October 1, 2010
Every now and then someone asks me why I get so excited about fall fishing. Before I can answer, the questioner provides a number of reasons why spring and summer fishing is better. While I agree that fishing anytime of the year is a good thing to do, I can come up with several really good reasons why fall fishing is a good idea. Here are some of those reasons.

Some folks insist that autumn weather can be inclement, and that fishing in the rain or cold is no fun.

My response: Fishing in the rain anytime of the year is just something we deal with, and a good number of folks prefer the cool weather of fall to the heat and humidity of summer. A set of Cabela's GuideWear will make any autumn day tolerable. And, when you get a really nice day of weather in the fall, and you will get plenty of those, it just doesn't get any better.

Some folks say that autumn is a time for hunting or watching football games.

My response: That's why fall is such a good time to go fishing. On many lakes or rivers or reservoirs, you'll have the water to yourself, or almost to yourself. It's not that I don't like having other anglers around, but it's really nice sometimes to be able to fish wherever you want to fish without watching out for other boats or sharing spots. In the fall, you can find a body of water that you can have to yourself.

Some folks say that in the spring the water is warming, and in the summer the water is warm, and warm water makes the fish bite better.

My response: Fish do bite well in the spring and summer due to warming and warm water. They also bite well in the fall, because the water is cooling off. (I can always come up with a good reason to go fishing). The cooling water seems to tell the fish that winter is coming and that they need to add some fat to get them through the winter months. The fish put on that fat by eating. Hopefully they eat something that's attached to the end of your line.

Also, baitfish populations are lower in the fall than they are in the summer. Lots of baitfish have been eaten through the summer months by the bigger fish, and many of the baitfish have grown to a point where they are too big for the predators to eat. Less baitfish in the water means the walleyes and bass and pike and crappies will be more willing to eat your lure.

There are lots of other really good reasons to go fishing in the fall, such as:

Your opportunity to catch a true trophy is really good.

The scenery can be spectacular. Go on a bright sunshine day when the leaves are in peak color and you could find the colors to be a distraction from the fishing.

But perhaps the best reason to go fishing is just to go fishing. Anytime you can get on the water is a good thing, and before long the lakes are going to be iced over. Then, we'll get to fish through the ice, and that's a good thing too. For now though, go fishing just because you can.

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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