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jb_adams

Fall Fishing, creeks or points?

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Fall is supposed to be the time of year where you fish creek-fed coves for more oxygen enriched water because shad are grouped & feeding on plankton.  I am finding bass in algae invested waters (deepwater coves & some mainlake points) due to lake turnover & they are chasing shad selectively....not in large schools of shad.  I've tried slow presentation, finesse, topwater, etc.  No bites.  The only thing I haven't tried is burning baits for a reaction strike.

I watched a small bass chase my jig as I burned it back to the boat on a missed-cast.  SO my new idea is to burn a spoon, use a hard jerkbaits with a fast erratic retrieve, chatterbait (I'm desperate) and burning shallow water cranks (2-4ft divers) over 20-30ft water with tree structure.

My Lake Conditions:

- bass chasing shad and biting on top (not schooling shad in groups, individual baitfish only)

- water extremely green (emerald green) and algae chunks floating about halfway in the water column in 30ft (fish finder read it as large schools of fish if using Fish ID)

- lake turning over in isolated areas of the lake

- reservoir lake

- fish are not concentrated & scattered in clear water areas but more concentrated in the "transitional" water (half green/half clear) & and in isolated coves deep water coves

- some fish are located on shallow points near deep water

Any suggestions?  

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I target points, both primary and secondary. The bass are focused on the abundant baitfish this time of year, but that does NOT mean you should "match-the-hatch." Size and action are the keys, not color. "Moving baits" tend to outperform finesse lures.

This may be crankbait season, but it is also the very best time of year to fish jerkbaits. My preference is fishing over deep water on steeply sloped, rocky points. The fish on this type of structure are patrolling and often VERY aggressive.

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I tend to hit both with impunity.  I fish points all year, but love the chance to get up into coves or creeks.  I like swimming white jigs with action trailers and then killing them in the middle of shad schools.  I also like to use poppers when there is a topwater strike.  Spinnerbaits are sometimes a sure bet too.  if matching the hatch doesn't work, try being the "oddball in the pack."  If the shad are silver/black, then try chartruse.  If they are green, throw something white.  Sometimes being different is a good thing.

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This would be a good time to take that spoon you mentioned and chuck it right in the middle of the shad pods and just let it flutter to the bottom. Whenever the shad in my home lake are back in the creeks, I will take a Lil George and do just that.....cast it into the shad. The lure crashing in on the shad will make them scatter which often triggers fish below to grab a mouthful, even if they arent real hungry. They do that alot in the fall. White or shad pattern wacky rigged senkos work for that also, they just fall slower.

And I'll second the jerkbait nomination. Sometimes the fish have to be stimulated or triggered to strike.....a jerkbait will get 'em going in a hurry.

You asked about burning baits back to the boat? Thats a great plan to work with a shad pattern spinnerbait with double willow nickel blades, assuming you have fairly clear water and a little wind would probably help.

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Throwing carolina rigs and deep cranks across points is a very good early fall strategy around here. However we still got a week or two more before the fish really start tearing up the shad in the backs of the creeks, that's when I'll break out the shallow cranks, flukes, Pointer 100's, and possibly the greatest fall bait of all-time the Rat-L-Trap.

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ya know thats easy.

fish them both. i think that points are usualy more productive, because the fish are just stacked there wating for the shad to come by.(ambush point)

but hay if ya got time ythan fish both.

good lures for points are cranks. spinnerbaits, swim jigs and any thing that can reach the fish suspending on points.

bigger fish will usualy be along the deeper creek channels. use a light jig to creat a slow fall so the fish has more time to react

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Dont seem to matter what you throw around here now.    top water, c-rigs, cranks, lipless. weighted, weightless.   Its on like Donkey Kong!!!!

Best time of the year to get the cob webs off those baits you never throw.   This is the time of the year to catch one on the one that has never caught nothing.

Matt

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Turnover is fairly rare this early unless you have some freezing temperatures during the night for a period of time or very strong prolonged windy periods.

When a lake turnsover, the majority of the water column turnsover at the same time. What you may be seeing is decaying vegetation weeds/grass due to the lower light period of shorter days and colder nights.

When bass push up shad to the surface, they are using the surface to trap the baitfish. You maybe only seeing a few scattered shad, but the schools are there somewhere. The shad aren't seeking higher levels of DO, they are feeding on zoo plankton. The shad hide during the dark hours in brush or whatever and school up as the sun light brings the plankton toward the surface or up in the water column near or just above the thermocline, if the lake hasn't turned over.

It's normal for school size bass to push a shad school toward the surface or over points or humps to reduce the places the shad can escape. Larger bass will take advantage of the structure and target shad that have been injured.

The best lure for fishing shad schools IMO is a structure spoon that has bright relection and the size of the shad being targeted. Fish the spoon in the lower third of the shad school for larger size bass.

WRB

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Well the lake here is turning over.  It's a reservoir lake and river fed.  They did a story on the news a few weeks back about the type of zooplankton that makes the water taste funny every fall.  I forget the name of the plankton but it's very potent and some people can pick up like 1 part per million in drinking water.  Everytime I brush my teeth I feel like I'm using a bass for the toothbrush.

So how do you see the schools on the water?  I've seen them go by the boat when they are within 5-10ft of the boat but that's the only time I see schools of shad.  Kind of hard to throw a bait in there and follow it.

Well, I am going back to this one cove tonight to give it a whirl.  I'll post up any fish pics or various findings from the outing.  By the way fivebasslimit, the water is VERY clear.  Even when it's stained green as green tea, you can still see 8ft down pretty easily.

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Suggest Google "The weather doctor", weather phenomenon and elements; lake turnover.

When a lake does turnover it will take about a week for the system to settle down and reestablish termal layers, DO and patterns.

You need a good sonar unit to locate baitfish schools, or look for birds like greibes diving and coming up with a shad to swallow.

WRB

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Sounds like fall turn over in general. Fish are moving all over the lake moving out of their summer haunts into their fall and winter positions. The thing to remember is that fish will be moving deeper because of the fact that the dying vegitation will start to give off Carbon Dioxide instead of oxygen.

The fish will use the creek channels to move into their fall positions before moving to their even deeper wintering areas.  So it can be hit or miss. Fish will move down the points so its really not that the fish won't be at one place or the other, just that they may not be as active in one place or the other. So what you can do is get a broad look of the lake and isolate the areas in the lake where the algae die off isn't as bad  as in others, then hit the creek channels and points, spend about 20 min in each one. This way in the space of a couple hours you can isolate the most productive structure. Now if the conditions change, then you may want to switch to the other form of structure.

I really feel that it will be later in the year before you really experience the fall pattern, but the algae die off may have force the fish on that sort of pattern early on.

Trial and error will be the best thing, but document the conditions, of each day. That is what makes a good fisherman a great one. paying attention to the little things.

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Since some people don't like telling us what lake they are referring to when they ask questions I took the liberty of looking at you profile and it says Roger, Ar. This leads me to assume the lake in question is Beaver, a lake on which I have a few fishing buds & what you are experiencing is a fall algae bloom.

Here's a report

The forecast is calling for a little cooler temperature than we have been seeing here in northern Arkansas and all I can say is BRING IT ON! Divers are seeing a thermo-cline in the mid-30ft range. This is a good starting point to start looking for fish, keeping the boat in the 50 to 60ft range to hit this range. With the extreme heat in the day time hours there hasn't been many fisherman on the lake that have been coming in to the dock so information has been spotty. Here are some things that have producing fish this week:

1. Live bait, a night crawler on a split shot rig has been catching fish along with minnows. I have been using a #4 hook (with night crawler) and a light split shot. Cast the rig towards the bank and let it sink to the bottom and slowly drag it off the bank, with the minnows use a smaller hook and work it back. Look for fish on bluff walls and bluff wall ends, main lake points, and deep-water brush piles.

2. Jigging spoons, a binks 3/4 oz, crippled herring, or a terminator spoon in silver or a white. This has been very effective this week. Work these in a vertical motion through schools of shad or fan cast these spoons.

3. Drop shot, a drop shot with a 4in worm or even live bait has been catching fish

4. Texas rig worm, a strawberry worm in silver or gold flake Night time bite has been a little slow, some things to try are the classic jig and pig, jig and craw, Texas rig worm, salty crawl and a Yum Craw Papi 4in, I caught some real good fish on Tuesday night using this lure. Texas rigged and working deep water.

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Yep, 30 feet is where the depth I'm finding fish.  They are moving around and scattered right now.  Yes, Beaver is my home lake (not by choice!).  If there were another big body of water close by (within 30min) I would go there.  Table Rock is about an hour away and I have yet to make a trip there.  I may just do that in a week or two.

The algae bloom is what the locals in this area refer to as lake turnover.  It does this every spring and fall.  The water never really smells of rotten eggs like most lakes because the water is so clear and it's a river reservior.  There are big chunks of algae breaking off underwater structure.  I've seen limbs on cedar trees that are only an inch or two in diameter look like they are 3-4 inches in diameter because that much algae is growing on the limbs.  Everything that is under water has algae on it including rocks, silt, trees, etc.  The large chunks of algae is making it hard to find fish because the fish finder shows the algae breaking off and floating around.

I went back to my cove last night and the fish had already moved out back into deeper water or another cove close by.  There were still some bass there & big ones too.  I couldn't get a bite though.  I even creeped up on a big one that was smacking shad on top around 9:00PM and I through a 2-1/2 inch Pop-R right past his blow up.  I would pop it once, let it sit, make it spit two times then pop it and let it sit again so I was retrieving it slowly so he could find it.  Nothing.....not even a boil.  I fan casted that area pretty thorough and nothing.  Tried a few other spots and the Pop-R couldn't get a bite.  I tried several crankbaits, rattle-trap, black chatterbait with varying retrieves, jerkbait, swimbaits, etc.  Not one bite.  The water was as smooth as a plate glass window and very quiet.  I felt like I was hunting instead of fishing because I was very quiet and slow with my movements.  I didn't want to make excessive noise which would spook the fish.

Of course when I was leaving the cove, I was pulling the trolling motor in and making some noise, a nice bass blew up about 10 ft. in front of me.  It was his way of say "BYE LOOSER!"  So now I question the theory of excessive noise spooking fish because I was really noisy when that one blew up.  Beaver Lake is THE hardest lake to fish and I think the spotted bass population is suffering.  None of the ones I catch have any weight on them.  If you catch a limit, you've had a good day.  If you catch a limit of tournament keepers, you've had an awesome day.

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Since some people don't like telling us what lake they are referring to when they ask questions I took the liberty of looking at you profile and it says Roger, Ar. This leads me to assume the lake in question is Beaver, a lake on which I have a few fishing buds & what you are experiencing is a fall algae bloom.

Here's a report

The forecast is calling for a little cooler temperature than we have been seeing here in northern Arkansas and all I can say is BRING IT ON! Divers are seeing a thermo-cline in the mid-30ft range. This is a good starting point to start looking for fish, keeping the boat in the 50 to 60ft range to hit this range. With the extreme heat in the day time hours there hasn't been many fisherman on the lake that have been coming in to the dock so information has been spotty. Here are some things that have producing fish this week:

1. Live bait, a night crawler on a split shot rig has been catching fish along with minnows. I have been using a #4 hook (with night crawler) and a light split shot. Cast the rig towards the bank and let it sink to the bottom and slowly drag it off the bank, with the minnows use a smaller hook and work it back. Look for fish on bluff walls and bluff wall ends, main lake points, and deep-water brush piles.

2. Jigging spoons, a binks 3/4 oz, crippled herring, or a terminator spoon in silver or a white. This has been very effective this week. Work these in a vertical motion through schools of shad or fan cast these spoons.  

3. Drop shot, a drop shot with a 4in worm or even live bait has been catching fish

4. Texas rig worm, a strawberry worm in silver or gold flake Night time bite has been a little slow, some things to try are the classic jig and pig, jig and craw, Texas rig worm, salty crawl and a Yum Craw  Papi 4in, I caught some real good fish on Tuesday night using this lure. Texas rigged and working deep water.

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Lets recap this thread.

1. You don't have a lake that is turning over.

2. You are fishing a large highland power generation reservoir.

3. The is a thermocline somewhere around 30 feet.

4. Fish the shad schools with spoons.

What are we missing? You haven't taken anyones suggestions to help solve your problem. Try going back and reading what has already been suggested and you will start catching bass. Forget about the surface bass and target the bass between 25 to 30 feet down in the lower 1/3 rd of the lake on major points.

WRB

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So far this fall I have been doing really well in the mouths of coves that still have nice green coontail and any rivers that run in or out of the lakes have been the best I have ever seen. Rat-l-traps, texas rigged watermelon senkos, and jigs on brush or trees in the rivers have been very good to me. But then again I'm up north  :)

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Lets recap this thread.

1. You don't have a lake that is turning over.

That's correct.....my mistake. Algae bloom to us is lake turnover because the water smells bad for several weeks. Even the local news media calls it "lake turnover" including local scientists.

2. You are fishing a large highland power generation reservoir.

Yes

3. The is a thermocline somewhere around 30 feet.

Yes and sometimes up to 40ft depending on where you are on the lake

4. Fish the shad schools with spoons.

Still trying to figure out that. I can find schools on fish finder, I see them on occassion but I don't know how to follow them and stay in the school.

What are we missing? You haven't taken anyones suggestions to help solve your problem. Try going back and reading what has already been suggested and you will start catching bass.

WRB

"You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink."

Some things are all about confidance. The reason I have not tried spoons yet is because it was about dark when I got to the spot & I didn't think they would see it or feel the vibration. I didn't know fish can still see so well in the dark (I know better now). I haven't tried some of the other baits yet because I don't have any of them. It was all I could do to get home from work, grab my stuff, hook up the boat and then drive for 40mins to the launch. Cut me some slack would ya please!

By the way, I have been fishing with some really good anglers and they were catching all the fish on the same baits. Sometimes it doesn't matter what bait you throw. It's all how your "wiggle the worm" or how you bounce cranks off trees, or how you drop-shot that catches fish. Give me a spot where you are catching 20 bass in 30 mins. and I will only catch 5 in 30 mins. It's all about learning curve and personal hands on experience. I know that much. That's why I ask a lot of questions, so I can tap into a large field of experience within this forum.

Aggressive answers are NOT the experience I need. Keep in mind, a lot of us are newbies and still learning the craft so again, it's all about confidance. Ever tell your kid "trust me, throw your bait over there". They throw there once and then they are re-tying and throwing somewhere else. Confidance in new things are frustrating and experience only comes with perseverance and personal sacrifice.

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We understand what being a newbie is about, we were there once  ;)

You said The reason I have not tried spoons yet is because it was about dark when I got to the spot & I didn't think they would see it or feel the vibration.  I didn't know fish can still see so well in the dark (I know better now).  I haven't tried some of the other baits yet because I don't have any of them.

My buds report states Night time bite has been a little slow, some things to try are the classic jig and pig, jig and craw, Texas rig worm, salty crawl and a Yum Craw Papi 4in, I caught some real good fish on Tuesday night using this lure. Texas rigged and working deep water.

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The best place to determine what maybe going on in almost any lake during the colder water periods is to meter the marina where you launch your boat. Marinas are usually located near deep water, stocked on a regular basis by other bass fisherman and hold bait fish. Take a few minutes before running down the lake and leaving catchable bass.

Fishing outside water takes time to learn and a good knowledge of your electronics to locate structure, cover and baitfish. Birds are your best indicator where shad schools are, look for the diving type of fish eating birds. Watch what direction the birds are swimming and try to locate structure that intersects the depth the birds are diving to catch shad they are feeding on. Major points are the easy and most productive structure to locate. Underwater islands or humps that intersect the proper detph and are in the area of shad scools are great spots. Shad schools are usually about 10 to 30 feet in diameter and not difficult to find around birds on deep highland reservoirs. You don't want to try and keep up with a shad school. You want to be in front and waiting on or near structure when the school is pushed up onto it.

My favorite spoons are; Crippled herring and Mr. Champ by Luhr Jenson, Acme Kastermaster and Megabait 3/4 oz jig spoon in chrome/blue and black back silver colors. Add #2 Owner white chicken feather treble hooks and you are in business. 2 each of the above should get anyone started.

Night fishing isn't a good time to spoon fish. The shad go under cover at dark, then move out and school up during mid day. You are better off targeting bass with trditional presentation during dark or low light hours.

WRB

PS; I hadn't fish one of my favorite lakes for a few months and desided to go because it was forecast to rain and this lake is good then. I did what we all do, asked around what was going on and learned that the bass were biting jigs and plastics early and a 50 to 60 foot drop shot bite later. I metered the marina because it's a habit and noticed a 18 to 20 foot thermocline, 71 degrees and lots of baitfish. Didn't fish in the marina and headed towards the dam area because of a mind set to fish jigs and swimbaits. managed 2 jig fish in 3 hours and nothing on the swimbaits. Was a good day, no rain and the cloud cover broke up and a little disappointed. Went and started to jig fish some points when a bass came up and chased a shad. Metered the area and noticed the thermocline was at 18 to 20 feet and realized that I had be fishing under that depth most of the day. Put on a spoon and instantly started catching bass on the point I hadn't had a bump on jigs. Had to leave at noon and went back to the marina and meter some big marks at the entrance and caught 3 big bass within a few minutes. The day turned out to be one of my best all year.

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I fish points leading into creek arms and coves.I also fish backs of coves/creek arms and mouths of both.I have lots of luck throwing spinnerbaits and pitching soft plastics into laydowns along the banks of coves/creekarms.

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Well my partner's boat is having issues still so we haven't tried main lake points yet.  We did go to another local lake (oversized pond) with my 6yr. old son and caught about 40 white bass!! ;D ;D ;D

That felt good!  Like being a man in the desert trying to find water and then when can't take anymore, you crawl over a sand dune, you see a swimming pool with bikini clad women serving your favorite beverage.

BOY that was a fun day!  I've heard about schools of whites that large but never seen one.  An area the size of a football field just opened up into a freestyle jumping contest for white bass.  They looked like piranhas!!  We are planning on going back to Beaver maybe as soon as this weekend.  I will be sure and try the suggestions mentioned.

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Just wanted to update the thread.  Since the weather has cooled off a bit more, we had much greater luck this weekend.

We found that the upper end of the lake was clear and less stained due to the algae bloom.  Those fish in clear water were much more active.  I actually had one on a crankbait and could see him coming up to the boat over 12-15ft down.  That's clear water!  On the other side of the lake which is not too far away, there is a long cove about 1-2 miles log with small cuts off of the main cove.  That water gets up to 20-30ft in the cuts and 60-80 in the main cove.  That water is more stained because it has less underwater current, less wind exposure, etc. than the main lake and the algae bloom is pretty heavy.  The water is only clear up to 5-6ft there right now.

With the algae being so heavily present in coves off the main lake, the shad are in these shallow coves by the thousands.  Not many bass though once you get in water less than 20ft.  Matter of fact, I have not seen any bass or large fish on the fish finder or on laydowns in 12ft or less.  The only time I've seen fish in shallow water is when it's off a larger body and close to deeper water.  I think the oxygen content is richer in the deeper water and the thermocline is about 25-30ft right now.  They just don't seem to like being in really shallow water even though the shad are feeding on the huge supply of algae.

So, I pulled some bass off cedar trees with a War Eagle spinnerbait in 10mins or less.  They were suspended in 20-23ft water and they were very aggressive.  Also had luck with Rapala jerkbaits, crankbaits, and jigs in 30ft on large flats.

We tried points at night but no bites.  The fish were in really deep water but suspended shallow and they wouldn't touch a plastic, jig, or big spinnerbaits.  I can't remember if we tried a crankbait or not.  I'm pretty sure I did.  We'll keep at it though and find something that works.

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