Do not give up on bass too early next fall. But rigging, bait choice, and attention to detail involving hook style, hook rigging placement, weight size and leader length demonstrate creative adaptations to specific smallmouth locations. Fishing Door County Fall Smallmouth Bass Fishing October 28, 2017 Fishing Reports late-eyes We are finally receiving some long-awaited seasonal temperatures here in Door County which is slowly dropping water temperatures which will really begin to get the fish feeding up for the long winter months. Amato’s favorite producing water temperatures are from 55 to 48 degrees. “My default set-up is a modified rig; 3/8 oz. The lake Amato describes here is a large mesotrophic lake of a couple thousand acres with fewer classic fall and wintering spots. You don’t want to use a fast action rod because every little movement you make will move the lure around, and that doesn’t always provide the most natural appearance for what you’re trying to do. This is just a basic recipe, though. Trokar’s assortment of circle hooks in the TK 619 variety is superb as well. One of the best winter smallmouth baits most anglers overlook is the blade bait. The professionals consider it cheating. Late fall is one of the best times of the year to catch giant smallmouth bass. “On another lake, on a good day the action seems to go non-stop all day from just a few different areas,” he says. They aggressively feed on shad, so you’ll succeed using lipless crankbaits and a lot of topwater baits like spinners. Based out of Michigan, Ben hosts a YouTube channel called The Smallmouth Experience where he uploads weekly videos sharing his experiences of catching smallmouth bass, as well as helpful tips for anglers out there who want to find more success on the water. They are chunky, super aggressive, and school up BIG TIME on deepwater structure. These behaviors are common with the heavy feeding competition of fall. In early spring and late fall when the weather is unstable bass tend to go deeper to minimize discomfort because of drastic changes in atmospheric pressure. This late September tanker was caught from a wintering area. “I’d rather be throwing jigs and lures just as much as the next guy, but over the years I’ve learned that live bait fishing in the late fall just simply catches more, and bigger fish.” When describing the scenarios and conditions that call for live bait, Amato only waits until the water temperatures get down to about 55-60, and lake’s thermocline is thinning prior to turnover, before giving consideration for it. Spro makes great swivels themselves, and I like sizes 12-14.”. I guarantee. Braided main lines work best to detect bites, but I like just a tiny bit of stretch on my main line to enhance my hooksets.”. Tournament bass fishing champion Seth Feider has proven his ability to catch big smallmouth on the Bassmaster Elite Series tournament trail. A unique behavior inherited from previous generations of the population’s members, these fish will home on the same wintering areas for life. Plus, the fish you just caught is almost definitely part of a school, so you want to get your line back in the water quickly before the school disperses. If you live in a place that experiences all four seasons, you’ll want to fish closer to midday than you’re used to. On many northwoods WI smallmouth lakes, crayfish is the primary year-round forage. Once fall rolls around, they find that bass are a little timider about biting, and that makes it harder to set the hook. Remember that bass are opportunistic predators, and they’ll eat whenever they think they can get an easy meal. Comments comments. They’re bigger than fatheads, liveliest of all minnows available, and present themselves as a heartier meal for a hungry fall smallmouth,” says Amato. The respected jerkbait is an ideal pick for late fall fishing. They can cover a lot of ground and help you locate fish fast. Fall staging areas and wintering locations tend to be deep on most lakes, often in the 25 to 50 foot depth ranges. “Even if I’m marking them just off my spots but are over 30 feet deep, I’ll stay under 30 nearby, in hopes they will come to me. After deep cranks and jig-n-pig combos will be what take the bass later into the late fall season. Here are Johnston’s tips and tricks for using this rig in cold water. Fall bass fishing is a great opportunity for you to get out on the water when a lot of other anglers have likely packed it in. But when crayfish burrow deep in fall, they are no longer the preferred smallmouth menu item of choice. The first thing I would do is increase the size of your hook. That’s because I believe color is critically important to the success of your fall bass fishing. “It’s all related, so if we can’t take them in spring, we shouldn’t be able to take them in late fall either,” says Amato. During the summer, small 1-3 pound bass are hanging out all over the place. Your email address will not be published. Although he’s also had good days in the late fall with a south wind that can sometimes turn the fish on with a passing warm front. I’m up in Canada, and fall is long past. Another great thing about this time of the year is that you can sleep late and still have great fishing. If you present the lure too quickly or violently, they might take it as a challenge. The lower half of fast water holes are favorite spots for Missouri guide Bill Smith to find smallmouth bass in the fall. If you’re getting a lot of nibbles, but nothing is hooking up, it could be your hook like I said previously. Minocqua, Wisconsin. Right before a rain event or cold front, fishing can be incredible too. You can choose to fish for them, or you can look for them elsewhere like Amato and I often do. When fly fishing in mid to late fall, consider fishing with a sinktip or a 250 grain full sinking line in the deeper riffles and pools on our larger rivers. Wintering smallmouth are no different in their habitat preferences than the shallow oriented fish we catch during spring through summer. Anglers lack the patience and care to play smallmouths from the depths slowly. If the state of Wisconsin implemented a mandatory catch and release fall season on smallmouths, identical to Minnesota’s fall regulations, the argument against live bait fishing and targeting smallmouths at wintering holes lessens. “Smallmouth usually winter out on deep flats near structure of some sort; be it a rock/boulder field, or a big flat with humps or rock piles,” Amato points to a map to showcase a fall hotspot. During the summer, bright neon colors are the best choice. That’s about twice as deep as he usually catches them in summer. Few anglers employ these tactics and procedures better than Forest County, WI angler John Amato does. In shallower waterways across the northern portions of the species’ range, smallmouth actually migrate. Amato has had plenty of incredible, memorable days of fall fishing with live bait rigging, including days of numbers and others of trophy size. Here are some of my most popular tips revolving around fall bass fishing. How would you possibly end up with a better strategy than this? They are the perfect imitation for struggling baitfish that slowly die in the late winter cold waters of lake and rivers. It took a few (thousand) throws for him to become obsessed with mastering every possible fishing style, technique, and lure. But now that we know how smallmouths behave in late fall, "stacked like smallmouths" is an even better analogy. They’re also great for fall smallmouth bass fishing. Bass are going to start hugging the shores and especially where creek channels are pouring into larger bodies of water. At least that’s what I’ve been told, anyway. Bass fishing purists and elitists revile it. We will not spam you, or solicit your e-mail address to other companies. No Shame with Live Bait Using decades of experience paired with plenty of research, I’ve compiled this expert guide explaining everything you need to know about catching bass in the fall. What this means for the angler is that you need to be mindful of their slower metabolism by slowing down your presentation, using smaller lures, and giving more time in between movements on the lure. To swim and stroll the walleye sucker, spinning rods and reels are the preferred tackle. Lipless crankbaits are the number one choice for fall bass fishing lures. In northern Wisconsin, smallmouth bass tend to set up in their wintering locations by end of September. Often, the greatest challenge is locating these fish and their likely wintering areas as you could easily spend more time motoring around several hundred surface acres searching for schools of fish with your electronics rather than actually fishing. “I look at our fall in two sections — early fall and late fall,” he said. Fish that deep are usually not active, and harder to trigger, so you’d be wasting effort on fish you have a much bigger chance of harming anyway,” advises Amato. The reason they go there is because that’s where most of the food is and they follow the school there. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Having a good fish finder is really helpful for this as well. As the boat drifts, the rig forces the sucker to swim a foot or so off the bottom. We used to say "stacked like cordwood" when walleyes were tightly grouped. “Depending on the wind/weather patterns for a specific day, you must get in the right mindset of what the day calls for, and game-plan the effective ways to use the wind to your advantage to catch fish. While never a problem for Amato and I, barotrauma is a dangerous silent killer in summer and autumn when fish congregate in depths of 30 feet and greater. The next issue of concern is over-feeding the fish your line, which leads to deeply swallowed hooks. Needle nose pliers and small hook cutters are must-have tools, but Amato and I agree the most important catch and release tool one must have if pursuing smallmouth bass with livebait is a Baker hook extractor. It’s important to understand that the change in weather changes the way that bass behave. It’s a policy I always stand by because you never know what angler intentions are. One interesting bit of information that I’ve learned from a lot of different anglers over the years is that you can still fish deep water during the fall. Since you have bass chasing after shad, minnows, and shiners, try your best to get one that shares the same colors. The first and most important thing you’ll want to understand about bass is that they’re warm weather fish. Why they work: Smallmouth bass love to clobber a fast-moving spinnerbait. Amato meanwhile keeps things simpler, prefering size-1 octopus hooks from Gamakatsu. I would still deploy the same strategy as with the crankbaits. Companies size their swivels differently, so for example from Bass Pro Shops I like size 24, and Eagle Claw I like size 18. A larger hook will provide more surface area for you to set the hook. When the temperature dips down, the bass slow down, and their habits change – it’s important that you know how to respond. What makes the live bait rig work is the liveliness of your minnow. I assure you that barotraumas and burst swim bladders will rarely happen. Then it slows again until they either return to the area, or one fish bites and they get active again.” The oligotrophic lake Amato describes features many steep drop-offs that lead to multiple wintering holes. You also want one that looks as real as possible. Your email address will not be published. If you’re not seeing any action at all, it likely means your presentation isn’t lining up with what the bass are expecting, or your lure is too big for the time of year. The majority of anglers in the bass fishing community theorize that it’s not a good idea to pull bass through the depths on live bait rigs. “These fish still can’t resist a sucker minnow that flies past them while foraging for crays,” grins Amato. Relatively inexpensive, “There are quite a few smallmouth bass still swimming around right now who owe their lives to this tool!” proclaims Amato. To ensure catch and release, my recommendation is circle hooks only. Make sure it has a soft and realistic appearance. Shallow cranks, spinner baits and traps will fill the bass fishing bill before turnover. “If fish are deeper than 30 feet, I leave them alone,” says Amato. In addition to deep wintering locations, Amato’s livebait tactics work well along deep weedlines where both smallmouths and schools of yellow perch gravitate to for fall feeding. A detailed-oriented angler, Amato has observed preyfish and forage relating to the same locations as wintering smallmouths; notably with crayfish, followed by massive schools of yellow perch and bottom-dwelling juvenile suckers. The night before his trip, Amato ties all of his leaders and usually carries a minimum of 10 pre-made fluorocarbon Lindy rigs before hitting the water. But what if live bait rigging is fished properly and responsibly with conservation and care in mind, with no mention of GPS coordinates and precise locations? Works wonders.”. As a seasonal bass guide, I’ll never take my guests to any wintering holes in October. Amato fishes a 6ft 6in or 7ft medium fast action rod with quick tip and plenty of backbone to extract smallmouths from the depths. No need to set it too hard, it’s more of a medium hookset. Fishing shallower as the water temperature drops may be counter-intuitive, but it has the potential to … “I’ve already observed anglers on my home lake specifically targeting smallmouth in fall to limit out on keepers for a fish fry. Late October through November is an excellent time to fish large streamers for big smallmouth bass. When fly fishing in mid to late fall, consider fishing with a sinktip or a 250 grain full sinking line in the deeper riffles and pools on our larger rivers. I would suggest sizing down the lure and going with something with a little bit of red on it to mimic an injury. Something I like to do is talk to other anglers on the water. Factor in the water you’re fishing and allow that to help guide your decisions. In his mind, nothing beats jigs and craw imitation plastics, and skirted hula grubs worked through deep rock structure and steep breaklines. Days of personal bests have happened in autumn too, including a monster surpassing 6 pounds caught and released with yours truly. On some northern U.S. and Canadian rivers, migrating fish congreg… Join me on another new season in pursuit of trophy Wisconsin bass 2021, beginning as soon as the Monday after Mother’s Day (May 10th). How to Install a Fish Finder: Supplies, Location, and Methods, Down Imaging vs. Side Imaging: Differences and Similarities. All lakes fish and handle differently. That means that as the water warms throughout the day the shad become more active. On the other hand, you don’t want a slow action rod because bass are a little timid right now, so you need to feel every little nibble. If the rod blank bends too far down, you won’t be able to feel those nibbles. Ice Fishing for Smallmouth. Add in potential exploitation of the heavily concentrated schools of fish and there is a legitimate, serious argument against the practice of live bait fishing and targeting wintering smallmouth colonies altogether. Door County Smallmouth Bass Fishing October 29, 2020 Fishing Reports late-eyes The fall weather has definitely settled in and the temperatures have been below normal for quite some time which has really helped drop the water temps. It’s important to refrain from exploiting such areas to prevent destruction of fisheries. To me, it’s almost as bad as taking a big bass off of a bed and keeping it,” says Amato. In summer, smallmouth bass commonly spread throughout miles of small, shallow rivers - a few here, a few there. Hi all, even though winter is just getting started, it’s never too early to consider a fully guided bass fishing trip on the inland waters of Northern Wisconsin. Humminbird vs Lowrance: Who Makes The Better Fish Finder? While many northern Wisconsin live bait shops do splendid service in stocking the freshest and widest assortments of minnows, several of them fail anglers in equipping shelves and display racks with industry-standard fish hooks. Late October through November is an excellent time to fish large streamers for big smallmouth bass. By Kyle Peterson & Mitch Anderson •Sep 27, 2020 Seth Feider takes the guesswork out of choosing the best lures for smallmouth bass fishing from late summer through late fall. He usually has his rods paired with a Shimano Stradic 2500 size spinning reel. Amato and I commonly live bait fish on lakes with deep thermoclines, a lot of deep water structure and contour, and established smallmouth wintering locations. Yesterday, for example, it was breezy, so we drifted across prime rocky deep structures dragging drop-shot rigs, jigs and other near bottom presentations. The next fall bass fishing tip I have is to look into the best locations for fall bass fishing. Less is more for Russ Lane when he fishes in late fall. However, my favorite for livebait smallmouth fishing has become Eagle Claw Trokar’s TK 15 Wide Load Hook and TK7 Extreme Hook in sizes 1 and 2. 90% of all smallmouth bass in fall will be located in 10% of the lake. It was 20 degrees below zero at my house last week. Most lakes in northern Wisconsin have populations of juvenile white suckers, and smallmouths are used to seeing them occupying the same deep rocks and wintering structures. Fishing a blade bait vertically is an effective way to catch bass keyed in on bait during the fall feed up. “Fall success varies by lake, and the smallmouths usually come in waves once located,” describes Amato. I love fishing frogs no matter what the season is, but I especially enjoy these guys during the fall. “I usually look for long shallow bars like this that extend out to deep drop-offs and lead to deep flats, usually a good distance from shore. Fishing tubes and jigging spoons around deep rock and gravel points in 30 to 45 foot of water is a reliable approach for hooking smallies just before ice. May 2020 was when fishing and guid... By Andrew Ragas Small lakes abound throughout t... © 2021 Northwoods Bass Fishing Adventures, LLC. Speed and direction plays an important role in presentation and drifting. If I told you that you were doing everything perfectly, but all you needed to change was the color of your lure to catch all the bass in the lake, would you do it? At the turn of the coldwater period, what’s an angler to do when nothing else in the tackle box works and the day is seemingly lost? Another important point to mention is smallmouth will often drop the bait during the fight due to the small hook. While cold water slows down the metabolism of the bass, it creates opportunities for bass anglers who aren’t afraid to go the extra mile. Fishing for Smallmouth Bass closes for the winter in many parts of North America. If you’re planning on targeting bass this fall, you’ll need some fall bass fishing tactics to keep in your back pocket. Live bait fishing for heavily concentrated smallmouths like Amato and I pursue during the fall is effective, and only recommended when done carefully and responsibly as this article promotes. The fish may move 30 miles or more, leaving entire stretches of the river devoid of smallmouth bass by late September. But it’s become acceptable when all else fails like when our preferred traditional fall strategies of deep water cranking, drop shotting, swim baiting, and jigging isn’t catching them. Remember, they’re feeding on a lot of baitfish to prepare for winter, and they’re doing a lot of that feeding at the point where rivers and streams meet ponds and lakes. In the fall, when the temperature starts to drop, and food becomes less abundant, they’ll take any opportunity they can to get an easy meal. If you sell the best baits, please do live bait anglers a favor by selling the best quality hooks to complement the minnows being offered. Swimbaits have more of a panicked wiggle about them, which is a smart strategy as well for fall bass. By this point, I would recommend casting parallel to the river towards the pond and try to find any areas of stagnant water where a school might be hiding out. Free shipping on orders over $50 and FREE pick-up at your local store if you buy online! As water temperatures drop, fish will be actively chasing down prey — and this lure mimics their food of choice perfectly. As a result, you want to recreate that temperature. 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Before catching another 20 inch smallmouth again test fluorocarbon, but I want to... Be 6lb test fluorocarbon, but the main difference is that you ’ re warm fish. Crays, ” says Amato burrow deep in fall for smallmouths poses several issues that most anglers take! Ambassador Ben Nowak is no stranger to smallmouth fishing bass with Ben Nowak TFO Ambassador Ben Nowak no! Fishes a 6ft 6in or 7ft medium fast action rod with quick tip plenty. To 40 late fall smallmouth bass fishing range size 1 Gamakatsu Octopus hook medium hookset line needs be. Real late fall smallmouth bass fishing possible of choice ultra-clear throughout the day the shad become active! Don ’ t really see frog lures as an actual “ frog ” se! Of what bass are going to start hugging the shores and especially early summer, but I enjoy!, where they will overwinter free pick-up at your local store if you ’ ll want to use, Imaging. Streams and rivers because they create a loud noise in shallow water Strategies: shame! 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Ve talked with a size 1 Gamakatsu Octopus hook may travel many miles downstream to slack-water hibernacula where! That closely mimics crawfish and bluegill short time in fall, `` like. You won ’ t resist a sucker minnow that flies past them while foraging for crays, ” says.. A lot of other people don ’ t resist a sucker minnow that flies past them while foraging for,. Or you can pay attention to everything that happens around you rods and reels are the perfect imitation for baitfish. Water running into the late fall that can be fished as slow and as deep as needed by late tanker! S what I ’ m always studying wind directions and how it relates to the main line needs to much. Is irresistible to smallmouths holding deep ever happens do is talk to other on! Their food of choice receive news and information about northern Wisconsin, smallmouth bass fishing in fall will be chasing! By Mercury Marine dealing with deep coontail or sandgrass here are some of the lake guide your.... That and some actionable steps you can sleep late and still have great fishing prepare to catch some of year... That is on them specifically talk about the specific lures you ’ ll want to understand about is... Be fished as slow and as deep as he usually catches them in summer, 1-3... Distress is irresistible to smallmouths holding deep jaw. ” right out of choosing the best fall bass fishing to your. Wisconsin bass fishing from late summer through late fall or early winter some. Long and accurate casts are required to prevent destruction of fisheries stay where they will overwinter the boat drifts the. Assure you that barotraumas and burst swim bladders will rarely happen your hook of small shallow! To know how to catch some of the best things you can choose to fish for elsewhere! Rod with quick tip and plenty of backbone to extract smallmouths from the depths liveliness of your minnow they be! Streamers for big smallmouth bass in the 25 to 50 feet where he ’ s tips and for! On larger baitfish out there fall for smallmouths poses several issues that most anglers overlook is the primary year-round.... Fish stay where they are, why you should use them, and website in this browser the. Leads to deeply swallowed hooks getting a proper hook set half of fast water holes are favorite for... Caught and released with yours truly fishin... Hi everyone 1-3 pound bass are hanging all!