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Chris

Fall/Winter fishing

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OK lets talk about Fall/Winter fishing.

Fall: Bass mainly largemouth follow the baitfish more this time of year than any other time of the year. They roam greater distances and become hard to locate for this reason. One day they are there the next day they are gone and your left wondering why. Bass this time of the year do not relate to cover or structure as much but they do relate to bait. They might hang in a area for short periods of time but when the bait is gone so are they. They will chase large schools of bait out in open water and suspend a lot. Points, and humps are places where a bass have a obstacle and you will find groups of bass waiting for feeding time as they suspend above the structure. In the fall fish feed often to pack on weight for the winter.

Winter: For the most part bass will be located in the deepest part of the lake. Well that's half true to be honest they will hang next to the deepest water in a given area like a main drop or around bluffs, channel ledges or banks. They will also be on the ends of points or on the deep side of the point or hump. Deep water means an area deeper than the surrounding area. Water temp can play a big role in weeding out unproductive water. Just a few degrees can make a major difference. Most of the shallow flats and slow tapering points hold very few bass this time of the year. You need to fish banks that drop off close to the shore or on the edge of the flat where it dumps off or sharp points with a deep side. Dams, bridges, and steep banks with chunk rock can be very productive this time of the year as long as it is on a steep angle. This gives a bass a place to move up and down in the water column without moving far. Pay attention to the weather because even in winter you might get a few days that are in the 50's which will move bass back to shallow areas that have rocks or docks. Sometimes they also move back to the flat areas for a short time so watch for a change in the water temp after a few warmer days.

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If your fishing a lake that all of the shore is flat here is some tips. Find the drop! Any drop or change in depth it doesn't matter how slight the change is. Watch the laydowns and look up on shore to see and find a tree with a trunk of the same diameter. This will give you an idea of how far the tree should come out. Look at the angle that the tree enters the water. In some lakes you can bypass all the trees that lay flat and just fish the ones at an angle. If all the trees lay flat fish the ends. If your lake was full of weeds in the summer figure out where they ended usually its a drop or change in bottom. If the old cat tails are still standing fish the edge. Fish will use that weed line or the ends of the trees much like a bluff. Fish will use old stumps like little humps and laydowns like points. So look beyond what it is and key into how they are using it. The bass don't know the difference.

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seems that they would be mostly relating to the topography of the lake first and the structure second so would brush piles mostly be a waste of time if they aren't near any deeper water? I only ask because I've noticed that the fish are definately on the piles that sit on one of our drop-offs at about 13 ft (on a 26 ft deep bank) but they aren't on any of the other ones that are up on the flats or in the coves(shallower)

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yep because they want a comfort zone and deep water means warmer water and more active fish than the fish on the flat. The bait become more open water fish also for the same reason comfort.

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Do the baitfish become not so concentrated?  I noticed about a month ago when the water was starting to change that the bait schooled up very tight but they are M.I.A. now.  Don't see schools on the graph any more either, no bait balls.

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They school up tight because of pressure systems and from a bass in the area feeding on them. If they are MIA then they moved. They might migrate to a feeder creek or roam out deep. You need to change your sensitivity level on your graph because of floating stuff in the water.

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Thanks Chris, Although we plan on cheating with shiners today, we are still bringing the arsenal.  The shiners are back-up.  Appreciate the insight.

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Well go catch'em ;D

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Thanks Chris, Although we plan on cheating with shiners today, we are still bringing the arsenal. The shiners are back-up.

We'll have to start calling you Jr.....RoadWarrior, Jr. That is! ;D

Who;s your Daddy?

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Chris..if the lake you are fishing has no cover, heavy weeds and the lake turned over, does this mean I have to fish deep? I was catching big largemouth in 10-20 fow up to about 2 wks ago. Now, I can't find them. If a lake turns, am I going to fish deeper the rest of the fall?

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Turn over means that the warm water is on the bottom and cold on top in the fall. When a lake first turns over it kinda gives the bass a large area to live because most of the water from top to bottom is around the same temp. The oxygen is the same for the most part also. This is why turn over stinks for fishing because they can be anywhere from top to bottom and are hard to locate. When the lake finally turns completely over then it narrows down what the bass can use. As the lake cools down going into winter then it becomes a comfort thing for the baitfish and bass and become predictable to a degree. Deeper can mean 4ft deep if that is the deepest part of the lake. It depends on the lake but in some of the lakes around here I can catch fish 10 ft or less all winter long in other cases 5 ft or less depends on how much water is in the lake. Some lakes take longer to cool down than others.

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Guest the_muddy_man

Hey Chris how deep is deep. The lake I fish goes to 45 feet at the bearm. Does Oxygen play a role here. The lake is 335 acres,its a small flood control lake. On one side it has large rocks and boulders and goes about 10 to 15 feet and this is where I have been having sporadic good days. They seem to be all over the place since the lake turned and not in their usual haunts

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Deep water means an area deeper than the surrounding area.

When a lake first turns over it kinda gives the bass a large area to live because most of the water from top to bottom is around the same temp.

On one side it has large rocks and boulders and goes about 10 to 15 feet and this is where I have been having sporadic good days.(keep fishing it because your on fish and it will get better when the lake finishes turning over)

The lake I fish goes to 45 feet at the bearm. Does Oxygen play a role here ( I fish some old mines that are 50-100+ft deep but I don't catch fish that deep because of lack of deep forage in my lakes can fish be that deep yes. oxygen, food, structure play a role)

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What he's saying is "deep" is relevant.

If the lake averages 4 ft all around and there is a 6' hole,....that's "deep".

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Lets expand: Fall/Winter

Creek channel-because bass are following baitfish they chase them into the backs of the creeks. Bass will station themselves right on the edge of the channel right close to feeding flats. Bass will also stack up on the channel bends and will take up positions on stumps, rock, and logs. Watch your depthfinder when you follow the channel for anything different. High percentage places are where the channel swings close to a feeding flat so keep an eye out. Places where the channel branches out or makes a series of bends can hold fish like mad.

Grass-If your lake still has underwater grass try to find the stuff that is still green. Sometimes you will see small patches of grass on your depthfinder. When I locate the patch of grass I sling a crankbait to rip out some of the grass to see if its still green. Bass will stack up on a small patch of green grass if everything else is dead. Some lakes the grass never completely dies out. Places like this can be loaded with bass so take your time when fishing it.

Roadbeds-This is another place that can be loaded with bass this time of the year. Bass might move up and down the roadbed from day to day but when you locate them you can cash in on numbers. Try to find a drop on either side of the bed or any broken rock.

Standing timber-fish use this kinda like a bluff and they can move up and down the timber as they suspend. Fish the outside edge and the sunny side of the trees. Baitfish will follow the edge and timber that sits close to a drop or channel is prime.

Docks-Bass hang around docks and boat ramps a lot this time of the year because they hold heat and its a short adjustment to deeper water. The deeper the dock the better because they don't need to move far to be comfortable. Sometimes if you have an odd warm day bass will move up right under the dock to soak up the warmer water. The sun heats the dock and the dock heats the water. If you find a dock that extends close to a channel it could be loaded with fish.

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hey guys, I'm LBH's main partner.  I'll have to say that reading along with this post is like reading a "Bassin'" magazine.  

Chris- you are so dead on, maybe he'll listen now, coming from you,lol.

Great fall breakdown.  We did end up catching yesterday but only 1 each on jigs and the rest on shiners with a 4.6 and a 3.8 as highlights.

Chris-thanks again, alot of times when Russ is asking somthing, he is asking for me because I just don't have the time here like he does, and I always ask him to direct the questions your way.  Great reading.

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Guest the_muddy_man

Hey thank you fellas. This forum is eons better then the IN FISHERMAN which has turned into a merchandising scam disguised as a learning eviorment since al linder sold it. I cancelled my subscription and told them why. I stopped goin to other forums b/c just read this one thread and you guys give it freely. OIH OH Better not give Glenn any ideas :o

 Just got back 3 hours on the lake fished the boulders I used the fish finder and tried to fish only those points going to deep water I only caught 2 fish  both a couple of pounds each But the learning process was what I was after and to see how the info here stacked up Thank You Gentelmen

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this will be the first year i will really commit myself to fishing throughout the fall and winter seasons.  this thread was like a gold mine, now that im trying to find all i can on seasonal patterns.  thanks!

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Likewise, great reading.  The only thing I would like people to interject when talking fall and winter fishing is water temp.  Even the TV shows seem to not mention temp.  I want to know what the water temp is when they are catching fish in different locations and depths and times of the year.

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(Rough figures)

Illinois

60-50 Fall

50-30 Winter  

40 degrees or less is when it gets interesting.

Florida

75-60 Fall

60-40 winter

50 degrees or less is when it starts to get tough.

That's why people don't talk about temps because it depends on where you live or even from lake to lake. One lake may be in Fall and the lake down the road may be in late summer and a third lake would be in winter. Its like the spawning cycle each lake will be at different stages of the spawn on the same day. The key factor is volume of water that the lake has and how shallow it is or even what kind of bottom it has also.

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LBH, Congrats on a promotion.  A  Moderator!! ;D

Brushpiles become a key for me in Cold water.  The shallow coves that arent as productive during the year due to the mud content on bottom are my keys when having a bad winter.  Not mild, but bad.  These coves are  protected from the cold winds from the north and east and the sun radiates on there shores the most during the day.  I provide naked brush in fairly shallow waters for cover.  The soft mudd absorbs the sun and warm quicckly.  You can find 2-5 degree changes in those type of coves.  That is a key to catching some of the winter bass.  Find at least a 2 degree change from main lake temps after a few harsh days.  I have found the last few years, the sparse, open limbs I have planted only made it easier to locate.   The easiest place to target are bridges, they have had crappie fishermen plant brushpiles and the normal riprap that clogs the pilings.  Brim and baitfish congregate around bridges not to mention crappie, Texas' answer to cali's trout stockings.  Lots of bass come from the deep pilings in winter.  Steady, non- moving bait supply.

seems that they would be mostly relating to the topography of the lake first and the structure second so would brush piles mostly be a waste of time if they aren't near any deeper water? I only ask because I've noticed that the fish are definately on the piles that sit on one of our drop-offs at about 13 ft (on a 26 ft deep bank) but they aren't on any of the other ones that are up on the flats or in the coves(shallower)

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Chris I have a question.  When a lake turns over in the fall or winter (depending on location) you said that fish can be hard to find because of the homothermous temperatures.  This I understand, but here in the south, most of the lakes are monomictic, (meaning they only turn once a year)therefore they would mix throughout the winter until spring comes.  Would this cause the bass to be roaming the entire winter or do they seem to stage in similar places as you mentioned earlier?

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