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late in the day fall smallies


casts_by_fly

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  • Super User

Hi All,

 

I've never targeted smallmouth in the fall really.  This time of year I'll fish largemouth until early October and then start bowhunting.  Since I already filled my fall buck tag, I'm going to get a few more days on the water before I start hunting hard again around the end of the month.  Our water temps are 60-65 depending on the lake.  The weeds are dying back so opening up a lot of options for baits.  I'm thinking to treat it like April pre-spawn when the bass are in staging areas and following baitfish (minus any thoughts of spawning).  Right baseline of thinking?

 

The other thing I've never really done is late in the day smallmouth.  I've always targeted them first thing in the morning up to mid day.  Usually its topwaters to start if they are hitting them, spinnerbaits if its cloudy/dirty water/breezy, jighead swimbaits if they are tighter to cover, and the occasional crankbaits.  I know smallies go on and off the feed during the day.  Is there a late afternoon bite window usually?  I ask because I'm debating between Friday afternoon and Saturday all day this coming weekend.  I'm fishing both days.  Friday afternoon looks clear, stable, minimal wind, (and will have been 4 days of that).  I can get out for the last couple hours and was thinking of hitting a local lake that has some smallies.  With the weeds dying back and the clear sky and water, I thought it could be a good topwater and/or jerkbait afternoon.  Its not a deep lake and the lake is mostly soft bottom, so the couple hard bottom/rock areas are where the smallies concentrate and it is a good afternoon sized lake (200 acres or so).  Bright sun and no wind just screams topwater to me.  But if a late afternoon bite isn't a thing then I could just hit another lake (or fish this one for largemouth).  

 

thanks gents.

 

 

edi:  Guess I should have looked in the reports page first

 

 

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  • Super User

Early morning here all year is good for brown bass.

Late afternoon is as well and it seems both are the deal this time of year.

Mid day can be tough sledding.

I'll often choose one or the other.

Unless I'm up for the fishless marathon

that often happens between the two. 

Fish can be scattered at those temps here.

Once water temps get closer to 50 in the 'fall',

I focus on deeper haunts.

Good Luck

:smiley:

A-Jay

 

 

 

 

 

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  • Super User

I personally don't have much experience specifically targeting smallmouth in the fall.  Most of my experience is in the spring (lake) or summer time (river).  Most of my fall fishing is for largemouth or muskies.  But ironically, I am taking the day off and going tomorrow to the big lake for brown bass because the wind looks like it is going to cooperate.  I have some intel ahead of time that the bite is quite good with the water temp being 55-60 degrees.  I am under the general perception that the fishing improves as the day progresses because its often quite chilly in the morning this time of year.

 

Not long ago, @Dwight Hottle posted that most people fall fish too early and tactics in the fall should be similar to the spring as they relate to water temps.  Never really thought it like that until he relayed that information.  Usually my best spring fishing is pre-spawn when the water temps are in the 50's, so I am hopeful I'm timing it right tomorrow with similar water temps in the fall.

 

I'll post a report later tomorrow or on Thursday when I have time.

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  • Global Moderator

I’d have to agree with Dwight and it ain’t just fishing. It finally dropped below 80 degrees and everyone is wearing beanies and burning firewood and pumpkins are flying off the shelves 

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  • Super User

we've hit high 40's here at night so the water temps are starting to drop a little quicker.  I see high 30's a couple days in the future too.  still 65-70 during the day for now but that's dropping too.  I'm thinking the afternoon largemouth bite should be decent so I think I'll do that friday.  A different local lake is just a big grass flat (I've posted about it before).  With the grass dying off and the sun up high, the fish should be pulling back into whatever thicker grass is left.  If I can find a good edge, I think I can pull a few out with a texas rig, something I haven't really done enough of there.  

 

Saturday is just going to have to be an all day trip and looking for a few smallies.  

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I am fishing a river and I think the fish behave very differently compared to a lake, especially a small one. Usually the bite is pretty steady for most of the day in the water that I fish. The pool I fish is about 45 miles long and anywhere from 1/2 a mile to a mile wide. I only cover a tiny fragment of that water but what I seem to observe is that the fish move around a lot in the fall. Some spots may be dead for weeks then red hot then dead again. Other spots are red hot for a month and then empty. My only advice for fall fishing is to keep moving and try to eliminate unproductive water as quickly as possible.

 

The other thing I see in the fall is that there seem to be schools of smallmouth that relate to clean spots near weedbeds and schools that are your typical rock related fish. I would guess that the weed edge fish are feeding on perch and the rock fish are eating crayfish. I would not just fish rocks if you are not catching fish.

 

I can't tell the difference if there are bite windows (my dead spots have non-feeding fish so tight to the bottom I can't see them) or if they are truly empty. What seems to be true is that if I move around enough I can eventually find a spot where I am marking fish and that they are feeding fish. 

 

Once again I am fishing a huge river and the fish have a ton of room to roam. I am not sure anything I have to say translates to a 200 acre lake.

 

 

 

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