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Author Topic: Fall Fishing Patterns  (Read 1754 times)

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6 lb Smallmouth

Fall Fishing Patterns
« on: October 27, 2016, 06:01:35 AM »

Hey guys,

Maybe you can help me out.  I have only caught a couple fish the last two weekends out on Lake Michigan in NW Indiana.  The conditions have been 58-61 degree water temps.  I threw a lot of crankbaits and spinnerbaits in addition to the plastics that have worked very well all summer. 

These have been the first 2 days I have ever fished Lake Michigan in the fall.  All the spots I fish in this area of the lake are breakwalls with busted up rip rap.  Water depths drop off anywhere from 15' to 35'.  These areas held fish all summer and I did very well fishing them.  So do you think I just ran into 2 bad days of fishing?  Will the fish completely move?  At this time of the year with those temps will the smallmouth move to shallow flats?  Deep flats?  I thought I would hammer the fish but that has definitely not happened. 

I think about Grand Traverse and Door County where I have spent a lot of time fishing.  I wish I had the different types of structure here that those areas of the lake provide.  It is basically a big bowl down here with slowly tapering flats.  Besides fishing these breakwalls, I am kinda clueless as to where to to even try.  Put me on GTB and I would have a bunch of different types of areas to check out.  I'm going to hit it again Saturday and hope I figure something out.  Any ideas would be appreciated. 
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thedude

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Re: Fall Fishing Patterns
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2016, 09:22:53 AM »

a tube is a great cold water bait, as is an erie darter on a 2k powerlock. The absolute best bait for small mouth or largemouth in cold water is a blade bait. a 1/2oz nickel or brass is a good place to start. fish it on the bottom, short small hops - lift it just enough to feel a few vibrations of the bait and let it fall again.

an a-rig would also be something to try.
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Re: Fall Fishing Patterns
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2016, 05:24:03 PM »

Smallmouth bass can move a long ways in the fall but I usually start looking in the same general area.

They may be moving with baitfish right now. They may be suspended up off the bottom. They may be out on deeper flats around whatever objects might be out there. Harder if there are no objects to attract them. I think they just move more.

If there are ANY bottom differences out there near where they were in the summer I would check those for sure. You might have to move a lot to find them but they should all be ganging up in similar general areas soon for winter schooling. That might be 100's of yards away or several miles depending up what is out there.

They can be 30 to 50 or more feet deep in the winter so check areas near deep flats like that. They can move a short ways in a day or miles too so you do have your work cut out for you maybe. But if you find their wintering area you could be in for some amazing fishing. Just be safe out there - you are in the end of a Big bowl!
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Help stop invasive spcies. Don't move fish between unconnected bodies of water. Clean, drain and dry your boat before launching on another water body.
Unless clearly stated as such, opinions expressed by Dan Kimmel on this forum are not the opinions or policies of Michigan BASS Nation or TBF of Michigan.

6 lb Smallmouth

Re: Fall Fishing Patterns
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2016, 11:06:09 AM »

Thanks guys. 

Dude- I am geared up and ready with the blade baits but I thought I should focus on them more at 50 degree and under temps.  After I posted this, I then read a local guide say that heavy tubes and blade baits on main lake structure is the pattern.  So you know what I'll be trying on Saturday.

Dan- I'm definitely going to put in some more time looking for those areas you mentioned.  I have recently watched your blade bait clip on LSC from a couple years ago.  Good stuff!! 
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Re: Fall Fishing Patterns
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2016, 12:56:11 PM »

i start blades at about 55 degrees as a general rule of thumb. Colder it is, better they are.  I think its less to do with a specific water temp and more to do with when the lake you're fishing turns over and how long it takes for fish to start settling in to a winter pattern. Right at turnover, seems like the fish go shallow or suspend and you're just not in the right zone with a blade.

That beings said, on the great lakes where gobies are a primary forage, i think some fish are always relating to the bottom. We've done very well with them on st clair in the spring when the water is in the low to mid 60s.
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