As the days get shorter and cooler, it’s time to change how we look at the baits we’re using to catch our favorite fish species. McDonald’s and Daniel Burnham come to mind as the watch words for this time of year: “Super-Size” and “make no small plans.” As the calendar heads into fall the time to move up a couple of sizes with all our baits is in order. The food chain has changed over the year; those new minnows that were spawned this spring, if they survived this long, have grown quite a lot. We need to keep this in mind when we start selecting which lures we’re going to be using; we need to “Super-Size” those choices.  All species of fish are looking for larger meals in the fall for two reasons: one, they are available, and two, they’re stocking up for winter.

When I head to Lake Geneva for the fall smallmouth fishing later in October I’ll be using 5″to 6″ chub minnows. They’re bigger than most of the fish that were caught at Lovelace park this past Saturday, but they’re what the smallmouth will be looking to feed on. There is bonus here as well, this large bait is also a great choice for northern pike so if the smallmouth aren’t biting, maybe the northern will cooperate. When I fish with artificial baits they also have to be up-sized from what I had been using – larger crank baits like the Rapala 11 series, larger spinner baits in the 1/2-oz. up to 1-oz. sizes. The other tactic to keep in mind with the use of larger artificial baits is even with cooler water, put a little pace on the retrieve. The larger minnows will swim faster because of their size, so the lure should as well.

**Asian Carp Update** The Army Corps of Engineers has doubled the electric charge in the barriers on the Illinois Shipping Canal to keep the Asian Carp from entering Lake Michigan. To do this they stopped all boat traffic through the area until they were able to test the impact on boats passing through the barrier area. After four weeks the canal has been re-opened with a lot of precautions for owners of fiberglass-hulled boats. Best idea is to avoid going there in the first place.

Until next time, keep a tight line.

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