The weather may cool off in the fall, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the fishing does too. Gamefish often become more active as they feed in preparation for winter. Forage is plentiful for gamefish in the fall as young-of-the-year yellow perch, sunfish, gizzard shad, and alewives reach desirable sizes. Gamefish will often follow these species around, so it can sometimes be challenging to locate fish.
Below are some tips that will hopefully help you land a few more fish this time of year:
- Start shallow and then work deeper until you start catching fish. Fish will often be in very shallow water in the early fall so it’s a good starting point.
- Use moving lures like crankbaits, stickbaits, spinnerbaits, swimbaits, etc. to cover water looking for active fish.
- Keep an eye out for feeding activity. If you notice fish jumping on the surface, or birds diving, get to that area quickly and cast into it.
- With the cooler water temperatures, fall can be a good time to visit your favorite trout stream. Most streams would have seen little fishing activity during the warm summer months.
- Follow trends. If you catch fish in an area one fall, try that spot again next fall.
- A good example is the shore walleye bite on Oneida Lake. Gizzard shad move near shore in the fall and anglers casting stickbaits from shore just before and after dark often do well. This happens almost every fall on the lake.
- Gamefish often use transitional areas between deep and shallow water for staging and foraging in the fall. Target areas such as tributary mouths, drop-offs, weed edges, and underwater structure.
Photo at top: NYS DEC photo.