Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Fall Transitions

Well, the long, warm days of summer have come and gone, and now we are left with cooling temperatures and fading daylight.  This marks the beginning of the fall transition for many of the wildlife living in our area.  Geese and other migratory birds are flocking up in preparation for their annual flight south, the kids are back to school, and the Packers are once again playing football!
Fish are also getting in on the action, with seasonal movements starting to happen.  Mature Salmon are leaving the depths of Lake Michigan and approaching the streams and rivers where their journey began to spawn and continue the cycle of life.  Great Lakes Walleyes are transitioning from their mid lake haunts towards spring spawning areas and shorelines.  Muskies can now be found on deep weed edges, drop offs, and on large rock bars.

No matter what species of fish you target at this time of the year, its advantage angler!  There are several reasons that fall can be the most productive time of year to fish.  Number 1, angler pressure fades as the hunting season begins and anglers replace their rods with bows and shotguns.  Secondly, the shorter days and cooling temperatures cause fish to begin their fall feeding binge.  Fish will aggressively feed as the water cools, in preparation of the long winter months ahead.  Contrary to the rest of the year, dropping water temps and north winds in the fall actually make the fish bite better than warm, stable weather. 

Finding bait at this time of the year becomes key in catching fish.  Find the food, and you will find aggressively feeding fish!  Knowing where to look for bait can be the challenge! 

Due to their fragile nature, Gizzard Shad will seek the warmest possible water as temperatures begin to plummet.  Rivers and warm water discharges become stacked with millions of tightly schooled Shad.  You can guarantee that sooner or later some game fish will find this all you can eat buffet and gorge themselves!  
Making fish bite when there are millions of baitfish around them can also present a challenge.  I have found that fishing the edges of the main schools of bait to be the most productive method, but a large, loud bait can also help the fish home in on your offering within the main bait pod.

Another productive fall tactic to catch fish in clear water is night fishing.  Clear water allows Walleyes and Muskies to feed all night long as long as there is some moonlight out.  Shallow water areas with deep water nearby become prime locations to find feeding fish.
Whether you are after Panfish or Gamefish, fall is the time to cash in on the action! 

No comments: