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smallmouth movement in fall


gimruis

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I'm looking for some insight on movement in the fall, specifically as it pertains to smallmouth bass in big lakes.  My experience targeting them is mostly in spring and I'm wondering if there is a migration back to shallower water as the temperatures cool.  In the spring when they are in prespawn, I can usually find them if the conditions/wind presents a suitable day to do so.  I'm just wondering if they return back to some of those areas in September/October.  And if they do, are prespawn tactics used in the spring a good way to target them in the fall?  And what temperature should I be looking for when this movement back to shallow water occurs?  Right now the water is still quite warm here, almost 70 degrees.

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Our big “lakes” are 30,000 acres and usually they are chasing shad on top morning and evening. I rarely get to fish mid day but I bet they are still chasing shad just under the surface once it’s bright. I do better with more minnow style baits on lakes in fall, granted that doesn’t officially kick off until sept 22 or so but it’s already been good with jig head/ minnow 

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@TnRiver46 the specific lake I'm referring to is about 132,000 acres.  The main forage is perch and crayfish (does not have gobies, its an inland water lake here).  Is there a specific water temperature that you think I should be looking for here as to when that shallow migration may occur?

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I would think up there it would be not long after it’s peaked and heading downward. I know a jay has gotten on some good shallow topwater in august but his area cools off way before the rest of America haha

 

you could fish shallow with a small grub and if you feel

perch nibbling you should be set up for success 

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If there is some kind of bait fish beyond yellow perch, the silver minnow/shad/alewife type, creeks and any kind of water flowing into the lake will position this type of bait fish in the fall and smallmouth should be near. Keep in mind yellow perch isn't always the bait fish, they are aggressive and piscivorous and are sometimes feeding on the same bait as bass.

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Yes, they move up some, but not like in the spring. Maybe in the 10-14 foot range. I find them to be more weed associated in the fall, following baitfish vs crayfish that they eat in the summer. Garrison reef and Pike Point have been good fall areas.

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My experience on Lake Erie is that yes the fall migration back to shallower water mirrors the spring prespawn movement. Smallies winter in deep water somewhat near their traditional spawning sites. Then in spring they migrate shallower near the same spawning sites. Fall finds them moving from deep water back shallower until temps send them back to their winter spot. They don’t all move at once it’s more like waves or groups start shallow as the water temps drop. This usually starts in September up to November. Then late November & December they move to their winter site. You can also follow them by water temps. Change from 70’s degree water into the 60’s triggers some movement. They will replicate spring sites until temps drop back into lower 50’s or 40’s. The movement of bait shallower in the fall also coincides with the smallie movement. 

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