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Fall is typically the time of year when I get busy and fall off the fishing wagon until it gets cold again and I start to purse crappie and blue catfish once they have settled into their winter patterns. Just wondering what (and where) everyone likes to pursue in the fall, as I’m looking to expand my own fishing patterns this year. Thanks in advance for sharing!


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Fall is trouting and striper season in my local waters and yes, I'll be hitting both up here in a week or so. I see they finally set the striper limits for this season...again one fish but hey, one good sized striper is worth it!
 

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I love fall as I love all the seasons for fishing. A lot of people struggle in fall. I pretty much only bass fish. Usually take a trip to a mountain lake in October and still fish a lot in the Piedmont. On some lakes they will school up big time and on others I just fish shallow cover. I love to fish around vegetation this time of year if I can find any and you can catch fish on topwater from daylight til dark this time of year. I love the walking bait bite on the schooling lakes and the buzzbait bite around cover in dirtier water. Just depends on where I’m at.
 

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For Ponds … I try to start the day hoping to pick up a few by downsizing… using a small soft plastic or Ned rig.
Alternating retrieve, slow, hopping, twitching, dead-sticking, swimming. Trying different stuff and fan casting. Repeating same cast location but different retrieves.
Then I get a feel if they are active or not. If active I can experiment with other stuff / moving baits, etc.
Overall, I try to be adaptable in the fall. Still trying to learn … but enjoying every minute.


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Early fall can be amazing when it comes to numbers caught. Fish location of course is #1. Find them and then think pattern(s). Different lakes with different bottoms and weeds/ different locations. For example:
This lake had two patterns going on at the same time. Note the wetland weeds and dying pads.

Heavy rains in 3 days added 3/4' to the area resulting in fish moving back into the shallows (3-4'). As the water dropped to a normal level, the fish were in deeper water but in pad pockets in 5-7'. Large numbers of crappie, yellow perch and sunfish, a well as large pickerel were caught in both locations.

Another lake is much different in that it has no pads, but it has stumps, large rocks and various type shorelines, many that have steep drops and overhanging trees. In spring, shallow areas 3-6' hold fish; in fall, 7-9' do. This is a shot of one section just before the rain started:


" downsizing… using a small soft plastic" - is key for catching any fish whether bass or panfish. If only targeting bass, larger lures get it done but like Chad said, using different retrieves but matching lures to where cast.

Now, if you can tolerate some wind (10-15 mph) whether sunny or cloudy, weather fronts in fall really agitate fish and their AQ - aggression quotient - is on the high side. Meaning they strike more types of lures and size lures. I stick with small soft plastics all year round but in different shapes and size depending on the AQ for-that-day. Days later the fish may not be as aggressive and at a different depth or location(s).

Each of the four lakes I fish, I fish different regardless of season. Knowing a lake's structure and habitat types is key. There is no guarantee of finding fish, but the odds are higher if you know areas to search and what to use to search them.

Examples of lures that caught a bunch a fish in fall:
 
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