Fall Fishing Tips

September

The month of September is marked by the fall transition. At this time, the water starts to cool down and bass begin to migrate from their summer haunts to feed. The shallow water in the backs of creeks and coves starts to cool down first, which triggers a massive migration of gizzard shad into these areas.

Wayne Fitzpatrick, who is the owner of Fitz Fishing in Osage Beach, has had a lot of success fishing in September. Wayne emphasized that during this month the river portion of the lake turns on fire, but you can also catch fish throughout the lake. On sunny days in September, fish will position themselves under shallow dock floats both up river and through out the lake. These docks offer shade, cover, and an ambush point for bass to feed on baitfish. Wayne is an expert at methodically picking apart these docks with a skipping technique. He will rig up a tube or creature bait on a Crock-O-Gator Gator Lock head that he designed. This head allows him to skip the bait under docks without having his creature bait slide down on the hook.

The shallow dock pattern is a great way to catch a big fish in September, but you can also catch a lot of fish on flats and secondary points. You can target these fish with buzzbaits and spooks early, and then crankbaits and jigs in the afternoon. Fish in September are constantly changing and a great way to stay on top of what the fish are doing is to check out the videos and daily fishing reports on bassingbob.com.

 

October

October is one of the most beautiful times of the year at Lake of the Ozarks as the autumn leaves peak in color around the 3rd and 4th weeks of the month. The scenery combined with the generally pleasant daytime temperatures make it a great time to head out for a fishing trip before the weather turns cold. During this month you will find bass in their usual fall pattern. Unlike September when most fish are found in the backs of the creeks, fish in October will be scattered throughout the lake with no predominant location. At this time you may notice that the forage fish (shad) will also spread out and can be found just about everywhere. Anglers will target bass this month at a variety of different lures and will also target a wide range of depths. A popular lure to use this month is a spinnerbait with double willow blades. This bait is a great shad imitator and can be used to cover water efficiently in order to find where the fish are biting the best at that time.

A great bite that really starts to heat up this month is the white/hybrid bass bite. These fish are super aggressive and put up a hefty fight making them a blast to catch! During this month both species will begin to school up and actively feed on shad and crawfish. These fish will often be found in the same area and caught on similar presentations. To find these fish, first start looking for schools of shad in the flats in the backs of creeks. As the month moves on, the fish will begin to migrate out with the shad towards wind blown main lake and secondary points. A great way to catch these fish is with a rooter tail, or with a topwater chugger that is dressed with a feathered rear treble hook.

One of the biggest things to pay attention to in the fall is the annual turnover. During the summer months the lake stratifies into three separate layers. These layers consist of a warm layer on the top, a cool layer on the bottom, and a thermocline in the middle. Once the fall weather cools the top layer down to a certain point the layers will start to mix together. This mixture is what we call the turnover, and it is an angler’s worst nightmare. You can spot the tell tale signs of the fall turnover by the dingy look in the waster as well as the strong sulfur smell that it puts off. This unstable water makes it very difficult to catch fish, but luckily the Lake of the Ozarks is over 90 miles long, so it does not occur over the entire lake at the same time. If you get to the lake to find the fall turnover affecting your fishing, you can avoid it by simply fishing in another section of this awesome body of water. Check out bassingbob.com for more in depth information on how to catch bass and avoid the fall turnover!

 

November

November days can be sunny and mild with temperatures in the 70s, or cold, rainy and windy with temperatures in the 30s. It may be getting cold outside but the fishing is just heating up in the Ozarks as winter approaches. Most people are in their deer blinds or bundled up inside watching football, which are both great. But man it is hard to beat the bass fishing right now on the Lake of the Ozarks! November is the time of year when I feel you get true fall fishing. The lake turnover is usually complete by this time and a lot of lures will catch fish.

At this time the bass will be feeding up heavily as water temps begin to drop close to winter temperatures. With the water temperatures dropping many anglers will make the mistake of looking for fish in deep water, when in reality the majority of fish can be found in the shallows. In fact, it is not uncommon to catch big fish in less than a foot of water on snowy days where air temperatures are sub-freezing. Many professional fisherman refer to November on Lake of the Ozarks as one of the best top water bites in the country!

In addition to Black Bass, both the White and Hybrid Bass will be heavily feeding in the shallows this month. Expert anglers will target these fish on main lake rocky banks and will favor the banks with wind crashing into them. A good lure to catch both hybrids and whites is a shallow running jerkbait, or a topwater walking bait that is dressed with a feathered rear treble hook. For more in depth articles, expert videos, and daily fishing reports check out bassingbob.com.

 

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[11:25 AM] Bridget Norman