Chilly Days Ahead

There are chilly days ahead. It’s that time of year. It didn’t start getting warm on the lake this morning till nearly 10:00 a.m. The sun no longer gets directly over head, so it doesn’t feel warm till around noon and there is a bright blinding glare shining off of the lake for long periods of time—my eyes are sore when I get home in the evening. What do all these changes mean to the fish? Lots. There environment is rapidly cooling. The over all look of the water is a dark/stained color. I’v even seen some signs of turn-over on some lakes around the county. When the water cools and changes color, be on the guard for shifting patterns. Be especially careful to use the same colors that you were using a few weeks ago, because they might not work at all now—and that holds true for all species. It’s fall time, so think big: big fish, hungry fish, big baits, big jigs and large lures. Species from Musky to bluegill and crappie are looking for big foods. Why? Most of the young-of-the-year minnow species and fish species have simply grown up over the summer time so fish get used searching and feeding on larger baits. Also, much of the food supply in many lakes get eaten down and the next choice for foods to eat are simply larger. If I put a 5 inch sucker minnow in the lake on one line and a 3 inch sunken on another line, the 5 inch minnow gets chomped a lot quicker than the 3 inch. Use 2-3 inch fatheads for crappie right now or 2-3 inch Berkley Gulp baits—something larger than normal. While locations for some species, like crappie and sunfish, are changing significantly now and require a lot of searching to find, other species are in basically the same location patterns that they have been for the past couple of weeks: i.e. walleye, northern, and bass. Take a look at the photo I provided this week. There are a couple of things to note: Notice how nicely bundled up this 10 year old is. Dress right this time of the year, because it’s about 20 degrees cooler on the lake than it is at the landing and about 100 degrees cooler on the lake than it is in the cab of the vehicle that you drove to the landing. The other thing to note is that this small-sized walleye took a large sucker. Even small fish will eat larger baits in the fall. If this walleye went for a 4-5 inch sucker, imagine what a larger walleye would eat! It’s fall, think big.