Scratch these off your fall fishing bucket list.
Fall fishing abounds with unique opportunities, some of them under-appreciated. If you’re the kind of fisherman that keeps a checklist, then tack these on under their own section.
It will probably take you more than one season to get to each of these. Some of them are sending you pretty far afield if you’re an American. But there’s still time to get cracking.
1. The Guadalupe, The White River, and Other Southern Trout Streams
The Guadalupe is just one of several southern rivers where introduced trout have managed to survive in cold tailwaters.
2. Fly Fishing New Zealand
If you just can’t stand fall fishing, here’s a not-so-secret tip: it’s spring in the Southern Hemisphere. New Zealand is especially well known as a down-under fly fishing destination.
3. Fall Fishing in Patagonia
It’s a matter of debate whether New Zealand or Patagonia is the ultimate southern fall fishing getaway. Good news: you can’t really go wrong either way.
4. Early Ice Fishing
The early season is regarded by many experts as the best time for panfish under the ice.
5. Great Lakes Steelhead
If you leave out east, you don’t have to trudge all the way to the other coast for steelhead. This guy came out of Lake Erie.
6. Fall Walleye
Whether you’re fishing under the ice or the water is still clear, fall is the season for fishing walleye.
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7. Deep Sea & Flats in the Turks & Caicos
This remote tip of the Bahamas becomes a refuge for fish migrating out of cooler waters, making it an excellent fall fishing destination.
8. International Marlin & Sailfishing Tournament
It’s a little late to sign up for this one—the event is November 12th to 15th. But consider it for next year. The tournament takes place in Puerto Vallarta, in the northwest corner of the Jalisco province.
9. Shark Fishing in Florida
Florida cools off a little bit during the fall—believe it or not—but the sharks stay active. Sandbar sharks offer an especially good opportunity for shore fishing.
10. Coastal Cutthroat in the Pacific Northwest
Coastal cutthroat are a regional variant of the steelhead. I sort of admire the cutthroat, and this is a personal fall fishing bucket list item I recommend for everyone. They go by different names in some areas, including “blueback” in Oregon.
11. South Carolina Catfish
South Carolina catfish stay active during the fall and winter, and the state hosts some of the country’s best fishing for blues, channels, and other catfish year round.
12. Trophy Bass in the Tennessee River
The Tennessee River has been the home to four IGFA record smallmouths—most of those above 8 pounds. Beneath Pickwick Dam, pictured here, is some especially good fishing in the tailwater.
13. The Fall Runs in the Pacific Northwest
If you’ve fished for more than like, five minutes, you probably know about this one. There’s a reason for that.
14. Big Largemouths in California
Little known fact—the overwhelming majority of the biggest largemouths ever recorded have come from Southern California. Diamond Reservoir, pictured here, is especially reliable.
15. November Barracuda in the Florida Keys
The cooler temperatures of fall drive tarpon and bonefish farther south, but other fish take their place. Barracuda are among those.
So what are you waiting for? Get out there before the fall fishing season whizzes by once again, and aim for some of these must-dos throughout the coming months.