The days are getting shorter, Labor Day is passed, and within a few weeks, it will be officially fall. But the end of the summer season doesn’t have to represent the conclusion to your fishing for the year. In fact, many fishermen – especially those who view bass fishing as their main hobby – find the cooler days leading up to winter to be the best fishing time of the year. In the fall, cooler water temperatures cause fish to behave differently than they do in the warmer and more sedentary summer. For one thing, fall fishing means cooler water temperatures for fish: they’re moving around more often, which in turn impacts how their digestive systems are working. The colder the water, the hungrier the fish, and the more likely it is that you will be able to hook something.
Because water temperatures play such a big role in how fish behave during the fall months, you will need to become a master of judging how cold or warm the water is in order to be successful. Adding some sort of fishing thermometer to your fall equipment may be a good idea, as it will allow you to judge how cold the water is in different parts of a lake or pond.
However, you shouldn’t simply set up camp in your pond’s coldest water patch. If you try this method, your thought process will be partially correct – in that fish in colder water areas will likely be hungrier – but you will also have failed to consider the fact that fish in uncomfortably cold environments will move to other parts of the pond to compensate. For example, since the shallow depths of a body of water tend to cool more rapidly than the deepest parts, the fish will abandon the shallows first. Just as deeper waters take longer to heat up in the spring, they also retain their heat longer in the fall. Your best bet, then, is to direct your lure to the deepest part of the lake, where the temperatures will remain the most consistent.
As you fish in the fall, also consider the temperature for yourself. No longer can you expect days to stay light and warm for as long as you want to fish. With the sun setting earlier, be prepared to layer your clothing to hold onto body heat. After sunset, you don’t want to be stuck out on a fishing boat in the middle of a cold lake with nothing but a T-shirt.