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Fall smallmouth fishing


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In general they seem to like larger baits in the fall. Even smaller fish more readily hit larger baits in the fall. Baits sporting orange have worked exceptionally well for me in the fall. As things begin to cool down the fish are less likely to be in heavy current areas. I usually like more aggressive baits in early autumn then tone it down as the cold moves in. I'm interested in hearing what others have to say on the subject. Most of my best fish are fall fish , but I leave the smallies alone in the spring.

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I throw the same stuff I've been throwing all year. Soft-plastic crayfish imitator on a slider head, spinnerbait, swim jig, buzzbait, Super Spook Jr. After a period of stable weather you can pretty much count on some good topwater action -- at least early and late. That's always fun to take advantage of, even if you encounter a few heartbreakers that throw the hook. Some years I've found a crayfish crankbait to be super productive throughout September and into October.


Where I fish is typically determined by studying the USGS river gauges and from what I've experienced in past years. I tend to favor more push to get fish holding along textbook areas: pilings; sea walls; timber; rock; breaks, etc. so they are very easy to read and to catch. I'm not a fan of plying low, clear water with search baits. Sure I'll do it, but I don't prefer it. I'd rather spot hop looking for the next easy target.


Of course, once I determine an area to target based on flow, what I throw is dependent on the features such as clarity, depth, type of substrate and structure, etc.


Just getting to the river is half the battle. If you tell yourself you aren't that good at it, you're less likely to get out and try. Block some days off on the calendar, hit it hard, and you'll learn.

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I've been throwing a tandem flies rig of the Foxy Crawdad (olive or brown) and the CF Muddler (white, yellow, tan, chart, brown) all year round on the Fox River. Like John said, I would beef up my fly a bit (only the CF Muddler though, the Foxy stays the same size) one size larger in the Fall; but not by much. Just from a size 4 to a size 2; or from about 2 1/2" to 3". Most of the larger fish preferred the Foxy, but occasionally they'd only take the CF Muddler and only a particular color (last Monday was a good example).


Eric offered a lot of good tips. Only thing I'd like to add is that structures with deep water near by is a big plus; but be mindful that the fish sometime can hold in only a foot or two of water. An area may have several sweet spots and the fish would hold in certain sweet spots under certain water flow. These will reveal thru time and experience; or if lucky, someone would share them with you.


If you're after big Bronzebacks, Sept and Oct are the months. Best of luck.

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