Fall can be a great time for fishing in Minnesota. Larger fishing boats and more sophisticated fishing techniques have lured more anglers out on lakes and rivers in the fall. Mild temperatures and a backdrop of fall color add to the appeal.
But changing water temperatures in the fall trigger changes in fish location and behavior, and require some changes in fishing tactics. Hiring a fishing guide can help anglers with the ins and outs particular to fall fishing, and with their familiarity with local waters, they can pinpoint the best spots to try for different kinds of fish during the autumn season. A resort or bait shop can usually recommend good local fishing guides.
Minnesota fishing pro Al Lindner, co-founder of In-Fisherman magazine, is a fan of fall fishing. Well-known nationally as an angling authority, Lindner is a popular fishing journalist, host of radio and TV fishing shows, a video producer and tournament angler. Here are some tips from Al on luring fish this time of year.
Fishing pro Al Lindner on fall fishing:
I fish just about every day possible throughout the changing seasons. So you might think that by the time fall rolls around, the fascination might be wearing off. Nope. Just the opposite, in fact.
Fall is trophy time, plain and simple. The time of year to catch the most and the biggest fish of all species. Bass. Walleyes. Pike. Muskies. Heck, even big panfish.
Why? As the water cools and weeds thin in fall, fish instinctively begin to school heavily and drop deeper, becoming more exposed to traditional angling tactics. You're able to see them on your electronics, and target them with increased efficiency and confidence. Fish also tend to school by size, meaning that when you get into the big boys, there are usually more of them around available for you to catch.
For largemouth bass and pike, I like to target the outer fringes of deep green weeds rimming the main lake, as opposed to fishing within bays. For muskies, add to these areas the deep edges of mid-lake rock hump that dump off into deep water. I use bigger lures at this time of year to appeal to their natural urges to feed heavily before winter sets in.
Walleyes school along deep drop-offs into the main-lake basin, and there's no better way to catch them that live bait rigging with big chubs, or vertically jigging a heavy jig and minnow in 25 to 35 feet of water, sometimes deeper.
I just wish there were more hours in the day, and more days of the week, in fall. Because the bite is on, the fish are big, and the best fishing of the year is at hand.