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7 Fish to Target When Fishing This Fall

When fall rolls around, many outdoor enthusiasts target deer.

However, not everyone's a hunter. I focus more on fishing myself these days. Also, there are times when you can't get to the hunting grounds.

Fishing is always an option, but what species can we anglers target during the fall months?

I've compiled a list of seven kinds of fish to target as the temperatures cool and the leaves change color. Just remember, as the weather changes, your fishing techniques need to change as well.

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Bass may seem like a summer fish, but largemouth are still biting. In fact, they'll probably be closer to shore.


Because the deeper water will be cooling off, and shallow water will offer the warmer temps they want. Also, they're looking for baitfish near vegetation and drop-offs.

They're even entering river currents, looking for baitfish and crawfish.

Northern Pike

Many anglers say fall is the time to target northern pike. And they're really aggressive in the fall months.

You'll have to look for living vegetation underwater. That's what pike prefer, and fall is when the aquatic vegetation dies off.

Like most fish in the fall, pike are feeding. But, with cooler water, they'll need some good bait motion to be enticed.


Fall is the time to go fly fishing for trout, since fewer anglers are out on the rivers and streams trout frequent.

Also, trout tend to feed less in the summer, so they are hungry come fall. It also helps that the cooler temperatures get them more active.

If you have a favorite lake you fish for trout, as long as water temperatures stay warm, they'll be in deep pools. Cooler temperatures push the fish into coves and toward rivers and streams.


Like pike, walleye look for living vegetation in the fall. Really, they're looking for other fish to eat, like bluegill and perch. They're getting their feed on before the winter months.

So, you'll find them closer to shore, because that's where they'll find the vegetation, where the panfish hang out. Look for weedy flats near drop-offs.

The key for bait? Make sure there's a lot of movement.


In the fall, catfish head for sand-covered lake bottoms and rocky shorelines to feed.

They also hang out near large, loose rock, to hide in crags and find food.

The bait of choice for catfish in the fall months is live bait. Make sure you have enough weight on your line to reach the bottom, and the catfish will strike.


If you want near-guaranteed fishing success, target panfish in the fall.

These fish are schooling in deeper waters in the fall. You can find the schools using your fishfinder.

Besides schooling up, another reason for successful trips is that the fish tend to stay in one spot for long periods of time. Drop down jigs or live bait, and pull up a bucket full.


Of course, salmon had to be on this list. First, because it's my favorite fish to catch.

Second, because in the fall, salmon are heading upstream to spawn. Sometimes in very large numbers.

You can catch them from shore, from a boat and on almost any tackle. That includes bobbers and bait. Just because the weather changes, it doesn't mean we stop fishing. Heck, we even fish through ice.

So, if you can't get to your hunting spot, head to your favorite fishing hole and target a different kind of wild meat for the table.