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It’s not over for fishing

November 3, 2012
By TODD REED , Times-Republican

Fall can be some of the best fishing all year long, if you know what to look for and prepare for the trip. I hope these tips this week will allow you to get out one more time, if not many more times this fall to chase your favorite species of fish.

Tip No. 1 - Be ready for the elements of the outdoors. I am a pretty "cold-blooded" person, but if I get cold, then things are just not fun, that is typical of most anyone. You must protect yourself from the outdoors and be ready for anything. Check the weather and look at the real-feel temperatures, not just the high temperature of the day. This time of year, the temperature may only reach the predicted high temperature for an hour, if that. The real-feel temperature will help you understand how the wind, and cloud cover will make the day feel much colder. Dressing in layers will help you enjoy the day of fishing, and who says you can't wear your winter coveralls in NovemberI will wear them as long as I am chasing fish around the state.

Tip No. 2 - Location, location, location. Of course, you can't catch a fish if the fish aren't there. This seems pretty elementary, but I have seen anglers stay in one location for an hour or so, and decide that the fish aren't biting and go home. This is the biggest mistake anglers make this time of year. No other time in the year (except for ice fishing conditions) do fish travel less. The cooler temperatures depict where the fish might be at in your river or lake. As the temperatures cool, like this past week and the week ahead the fish will start to think deep water. This is true in lakes and rivers. If fishing smaller rivers this time of year, then fish will be around heavy current too, which is often shallowyes that contradicts what I just saidbut take a look at tip No. 3.

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Bass, walleye, pike, catfish and panfish are all still feeding if you have the time to chase them down. Move frequently, dress in layers, stay close to deep water or current, and use small, slower baits to catch your favorite species this time of year.

Tip No. 3 - Food. This time of year the fish that we seek are only thinking of one thing, eating. They know that the cooling water is only going to get colder, and soon winter will be upon us. The shallow waters in lakes get the coldest first, there is just less area to cool down so this will always be the coldest water each day (but also the warmest warmer later in the day when it is sunny). The food that fish are after, minnows, bugs, larvae, crustaceans will eave those cold areas and look for water, more stable water. This water is located nearby, probably at the first deep water hole. Thus, where the food goes, that is where the fish will go. When fishing rivers, deep holes are a great place to start, however a river adds another variable when fish look for food, current. Current will group food up in small river systems. The food source likes the current because the current brings the minnows food, thus in turn the minnows are the food for walleyes, bass, pike, crappie and catfish. It is quite common to catch fish directly next to the strongest current that you can find, most often located near dams.

Tip No. 4 - Try, try again. This tip suggests trying many places on the river or lake before giving up. Again, these cold temperatures will congregate the fish that you are seeking. Look at it this way, during the spring and summer crappies use every foot of the lake to eat and hang out all day long. You can catch them anywhere, sure some days are better than others and some days they might be twenty feet deep and others three feet deep, but they use the whole lake. They use the whole lake because food is everywhere. Now, with the cooling temperatures, the food isn't everywhere, it is grouped up. So now those same exact crappies are using only about 25 percent of that same lake to eat and survive. Odds state that you might need to try four different locations before you even find where the crappies might be feeding. This time of year you must keep trying different locations, because 100% of those fish are only using 25% of the water, some days probably closer to 10% when the extreme cold comes.

Tip No. 5 - The finer details. Bait selection can really vital this time of year, and needs to be well thought out. Colder water generally means that the water will be much clearer than it was just a month ago. With this in mind, smaller baits need to be offered first. Small minnows and small worms for live bait are keys to success. Fish are feeding as much as they can right now, and smaller baits will look more realistic to them. If you are using artificial baits, keep them small as well. The speed of your bait can be critical at this time of year too. I tend to start with fast moving baits, or moving my bobber quickly, then go slower if I don't get many bites. The colder the weather, the slower you may need to go.

I hope you make it out to your favorite lake or river soon. The temperatures are forecaster to plummet next week, but if you keep the above tips in mind, especially the warm clothes, you can enjoy a few more fishing trips.


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