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Fall Fishing Northern New England...Detailed Answers Please

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Hello everyone,

 

Fall is fast approaching.  The temperatures at night are hitting high 40s to low 50s, and I imagine the water will begin to cool within the next month.  Saying this, I need some serious information.  I need the low-down on fall fishing here in New England.  Last year I had relatively "okay" success, but I am looking to improve.

 

Here are all my questions:

What water temperature would dictate the transition for the bass to their fall patterns?  

What are the fall patterns for largemouth?

What are some staple fall fishing baits that you would recommend?

Also, what does it mean when a lake is "turning over" and what does that do to the bass?

 

This should be a good start.  Thanks to anyone who provides me some insight.  I really appreciate it.

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Here are all my answers to your questions ~

What water temperature would dictate the transition for the bass to their fall patterns?  

Looking for the Early 'fall bite' for me has me looking less at the water temps and more at the condition of the shallow water weeds.

Once they start to die back, the bait that usually hides in & around it, has to relocate. 

This makes the bait vulnerable.  The bass know that and that's when I expect my first 'fall bite' to get good.

Knowing when & where this happens is the trick.  Often times it happens much earlier than I expect and the early signs can be subtle.  This is something I want to get on as early as I can.  If I wait until the weeds are dead & Brown and lying on the bottom - it's way too late - I've missed it.  Might take some 'searching', but when I get on it, it's usually a good time; for both numbers & size. 

    As for indicators on the water, and it certainly helps to have good vis, look for the first signs of the weeds dying back.  Tips of cabbage & coontail brown or even wilt.  Not exactly magic.  Typically, but not always, places bass set up during pre-spawn and even bedding areas can be a good spot to start looking.  Deep water close by is almost a must.  

 

What are the fall patterns for largemouth?  See above.

 

What are some staple fall fishing baits that you would recommend?

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Also, what does it mean when a lake is "turning over" and what does that do to the bass?

Good Luck

A-Jay

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Some good questions you have there... Message me and I will do my best to answer them if you like.

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Spinnerbaits, crankbaits, lipless crankbaits and bluegill colored chatterbaits are good in the fall. Also turnover occurs at different parts of the lake at different times, so if you aren't catching anything in one spot, don't stick around too long and pack up and move to another.

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I document my better catches with photos, dates and weight. All around NH, from Plymouth, to Durham to Concord to Amherst, I have caught 7 out of my 10 personal best largemouth (all over 6 pounds) From August 31st-September 12th. All 7 during this early fall time frame came on a z-mans chatterbait with rage craw or rage rooster trailer (4), Spinnerbait(2) or a swim jig (1) with rage craw trailer. All were on either cloudy days or at sunset. Put in some hours on the water this week and let us know how you do! 

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4 hours ago, nhbassin said:

I document my better catches with photos, dates and weight. All around NH, from Plymouth, to Durham to Concord to Amherst, I have caught 7 out of my 10 personal best largemouth (all over 6 pounds) From August 31st-September 12th. All 7 during this early fall time frame came on a z-mans chatterbait with rage craw or rage rooster trailer (4), Spinnerbait(2) or a swim jig (1) with rage craw trailer. All were on either cloudy days or at sunset. Put in some hours on the water this week and let us know how you do! 

Do you swim your swim jigs? or do you drag it and hop it like a regular jig?

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First and foremost, learn the seasonal patterns of bass and that will help you more than any tip or bait ever will. Understanding seasonal patterns gives you the ability to locate fish not just in New England but anywhere they swim. Location is the single most important part of bass fishing because once you find them, they're relatively easy to catch.

 

There is no magic number temperature wise that initiates the late summer to early fall transition, but a good starting point in once you see temps drop about 10 degrees from summer highs and you see shad/bluegill moving shallower (you'll start to see pods of bait in shallower, flatter water and not out over deep water like in the summer). Cooler temperatures along with shorter days trigger the fish to start moving away from summer patterns and into fall patterns. It's important to note that it happens gradually, as all the fish do not move together nor do they initially move far; it's a time of transition. 

 

Depending on what type of water you fish, natural lake, man-made, etc... they make slightly different moves. However, the overarching theme is shallower. On man-made lakes, begin looking in creeks, coves, and pockets, but be sure you are looking for shad with eyes and electronics to help narrow down locations. Early in fall, it's better to look where the creek or cove meets up with the main lake (deeper water), and as fall progresses, push further and further back onto the shallow flats (flats are areas of consistent depth, here we're looking for shallow flats) until you're on the bank. When you see bass busting shad as far back in the pockets and creeks as you can go, it's peak fall fishing (water temps from the low 60s to the low 50s typically produces fast fishing). On natural lakes, especially those with vegetation, typical summer locations are deep weed edges, and those that lack vegetation, areas like deep points and humps are the ticket. So in early fall look for bait to push up onto any adjacent flat of the deep weed edge, point, or hump. As fall progresses keep pushing shallower up onto the flats until you're on the bank. Most natural lakes don't have creeks, so you'll most likely be fishing main lake flats or flats in coves, and both will produce fish. Once you're seeing bait running the banks, it's peak fall fishing (once again, the low 60s to low 50s typical produces the best fishing). It's important to note that on natural lakes in particular but also on reservoirs, the flats that the fish spawn on in the spring are almost always the flats they feed heavily on in the fall. One last note, for peak fall fishing, you'll typically be in water that is 5ft or shallower, so keep that in mind. 

 

Lures to use in the fall are baits that can be fished horizontally and quickly through the water column. Spinnerbaits are great where shad are present, but are extremely affective when it's windy and the water is stained. Crankbaits are great lures to throw whether the forage base is shad or bluegill, and they are good in calm to windy conditions and in clear to dirty water. Crankbaits are probably the best and most versatile bait you can use from the beginning to the end of fall. Swimbaits can be really good, especially where shad are present and there's good water clarity. Lipless crankbaits are great lures too, and are very affective around vegetation and a little wind makes them even better. Lastly, a jerkbait can at times be the best bait in your tacklebox, especially when it's windy and the fish are suspended. It's absolutely vital that the water has good clarity, with clear water being the best. Fish with these lures to find fish and if the bite slows and you believe there are still fish in the area, drag a jig or shaky head around, with the jig being very affective if presented to a target. 

 

It's important to note that there are no rules in bass fishing, just percentages, but it's always best to fish high percentage areas with high percentage baits. If it doesn't work, don't be afraid to change some things up remembering to always follow seasonal patterns. 

 

 

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Oh, about turnover... Don't get to hung-up over it because there's nothing you can do about it. It has to do with stratified layers of water that are beginning to dissolve due to changes in water temperature. The one thing to keep in mind... If you show-up to fish and the water looks a funky color and has a weird odor to it, it'd be wise to find another place to fish for a week, give or take a few days... Once turnover is complete and the water is stable again, fishing is typically very good. Water is always "turning over" to some extent, but it's the drastic changes that impact fishing success, like fall turnover.

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23 hours ago, MikeOGNR said:

Do you swim your swim jigs? or do you drag it and hop it like a regular jig?

This time of year I have had my best luck by swimming both my chatterbaits and swim jigs at a steady/medium pace and the pausing so the bait falls of a few feet, before continuing the retrieve. Nearly every good bite I have gotten has been as the bait is falling. As KTinman86 mentioned, the spots you throw these baits should be flats near deep water where sunfish are present.

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night fishing in the fall can be insane! my buddy from maine caught a 7.9lb largemouth on halloween last year! in northern maine!   i was getting bass at night up untill december with ice freezing to the rod, i was in southern MA

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Quote

 

There are a couple phases of the "Fall" bite.  For ease of explanation there's pre and post turnover.  On most ponds it's not a big deal because there isn't too much depth (20ft isn't that deep...).  On Champlain or Winni or Candlewood, turnover can be maddening.  Big lakes turn over in sections... For example on Champlain the Inland Sea might turn over but Malletts Bay (separated by a sandbar from the Sea) might turn over 2 weeks later.  The signs above for turnover are gospel. 

Pre Turn Over look for them to pick off the easier/most numerous baits.  For example Champlain's young of the year Alewives are everywhere now (0-50 ft) and are an inch or 2 long (It's early Fall bite right now).  The bass are gorging themselves right now (it's gross, they tail dance at the boat throwing up alewives all over you).  I'm currently dropshotting tiny crappie sized bass assassins and Carolina Rigging Speedcraws.

 

After turnover they start to key on larger more dense food (Bigger Alewives, Perch, etc).  It's less energy expelled but more gained to whack one 6" Perch than to gulp through a bait ball a few times for a mouthful of Alewife babies.  After turnover bigger slower baits work.  4-6" Swimbaits, big spooks, big spinnerbaits, 100-120mm Jerkbaits.

 

Another consideration is light spectrum and duration of daylight.  The shorter the days and more yellow/gold the light the more pressured they are to put on winter weight, that's a biological response and not something they can control.

 

Bait wise...  There are no magic bullets, I've offered suggestions but those are just what I throw first because it's what I have found to work...  I've crushed them in October in Ticonderoga with a black frog.  I've spybaited monster Smallies 2' down in 30'.  Spooks in 2ft waves can bring a 20lb bag.  Just put something that looks like easy calories in front of them and you'll get them.

 

Once the water get's to the 40's they are moved out to their winter haunts and you are into jigging silver buddies.

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16 hours ago, webertime said:

There are a couple phases of the "Fall" bite.  For ease of explanation there's pre and post turnover.  On most ponds it's not a big deal because there isn't too much depth (20ft isn't that deep...).  On Champlain or Winni or Candlewood, turnover can be maddening.  Big lakes turn over in sections... For example on Champlain the Inland Sea might turn over but Malletts Bay (separated by a sandbar from the Sea) might turn over 2 weeks later.  The signs above for turnover are gospel. 

Pre Turn Over look for them to pick off the easier/most numerous baits.  For example Champlain's young of the year Alewives are everywhere now (0-50 ft) and are an inch or 2 long (It's early Fall bite right now).  The bass are gorging themselves right now (it's gross, they tail dance at the boat throwing up alewives all over you).  I'm currently dropshotting tiny crappie sized bass assassins and Carolina Rigging Speedcraws.

 

After turnover they start to key on larger more dense food (Bigger Alewives, Perch, etc).  It's less energy expelled but more gained to whack one 6" Perch than to gulp through a bait ball a few times for a mouthful of Alewife babies.  After turnover bigger slower baits work.  4-6" Swimbaits, big spooks, big spinnerbaits, 100-120mm Jerkbaits.

 

Another consideration is light spectrum and duration of daylight.  The shorter the days and more yellow/gold the light the more pressured they are to put on winter weight, that's a biological response and not something they can control.

 

Bait wise...  There are no magic bullets, I've offered suggestions but those are just what I throw first because it's what I have found to work...  I've crushed them in October in Ticonderoga with a black frog.  I've spybaited monster Smallies 2' down in 30'.  Spooks in 2ft waves can bring a 20lb bag.  Just put something that looks like easy calories in front of them and you'll get them.

 

Once the water get's to the 40's they are moved out to their winter haunts and you are into jigging silver buddies.

 

Come on webertime ! No mention of a jig or a crankbait ? Well, at least you mentioned a silver buddy. ;) 

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LOL dude I just got 21 OLD Poes cranks in great shape and was pumped... then I was like, WHY?  I hate cranks.  Jigs always work man.  So to Appease the little guy from Maine...  Jigs, just throw everything out and throw a black jig at all times.

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2 hours ago, webertime said:

LOL dude I just got 21 OLD Poes cranks in great shape and was pumped... then I was like, WHY?  I hate cranks.  Jigs always work man.  So to Appease the little guy from Maine...  Jigs, just throw everything out and throw a black jig at all times.

Jeeze. Do I have to teach you everything..... Black Jigs work well all the time but don't forget a Brown/Orang Jig with a rage craw trailer.... Cranks def work too, 2 over 8 on cranks in late October.

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19 minutes ago, Mainebass1984 said:

Jeeze. Do I have to teach you everything.....

Well you are as big as Yoda...

 

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2 minutes ago, webertime said:

Well you are as big as Yoda...

 

LOL. All that matters is that there are big bass in the boat.

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Think about fall in two stages: early fall, and late fall.

 

Early fall - what @A-Jay and @KTinman86 said is pretty spot on.  Fish are going to be super active and in comfortable water temperatures chasing as much food as they can before water temps drop real low and slow their metabolism.  Conditions dictate presentation, as always, but this time of year, the bite can be on virtually anything from big worms to crankbaits to jigs, to jerkbaits, etc.  You can bring everything on every trip out. The downside? The further north you go, the shorter this season tends to be barring the effects of an Indian summer/weird global warming, but that's a different rant for another place.  

 

Late fall - This will be fish transitioning to deeper, or at least more protected water for the winter.  They're normally moving out of the shallow coves, creeks, and flats and as the season goes on, stage on structure/depth changes on their way to deeper, more temperature stable water for the winter.  The water is generally getting a lot colder, and presentations need to slow down to match, but this is a good time to transition to hair jigs, silver buddies, and is probably the only time of the year that I love suspended jerk baits fished slowly and deadsticked (not because they don't work other times, but they aren't nearly as strong a confidence bait for me during the other seasons).  This is also a good time to target big fish with big baits you can present slowly.  

 

Turnover - stratified water columns flip and everything from water temperature, to oxygen content, to water clarity can get messed up.  Fishing during the turnover can be like putting together a puzzle after soaking all of the pieces of the puzzle in the lake and throwing half of them away.  This is when I just watch football. 

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Hello everyone!

 

Sorry I have been absent from my own post (life stuff).  Thank you for all the information as I truly appreciate it.  I am going to go through all the information you have provided me and try to get on a nice Fall bite!  Also, thanks for being such an awesome community for knowledge.  You guys rock.

 

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This was good to read as we are now into October and the weather is definitely changing for the colder.  Thanks for the tips.

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According to a great video I saw with Mike Iaconelli on fall bass fishing it's all about...Bait,bait,bait,bait,bait!!!!!! The natural kind of course, 

 

Watching him come unglued, as only he can, muttering this long litany of "bait" like a freaking machine gun had me roflmao.

 

One tip that will be hard to forget! ????????

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