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The tactics for catching fish change with the seasons.  As summer winds down and fall approaches, water levels begin to drop, and weeds begin to die and turn brown. Both changes force major movements of the fish in any body of water. The shallow water pushes fish toward deeper haunts, and the brown plants no longer provide extra oxygen, so small bait fish are forced to move to open water in search of cover. Larger fish move out to get a better oxygen supply and to follow the food chain. “Deeper water” is a relative term. It could refer to a move from 3-4 feet to 10-12 feet of water in shallower lakes and ponds. In larger lakes it could mean a move to 25-35 feet of water.

Fishermen also need to adapt to the size of the fish in the food chain. The small bait fish that hatched in the spring, if they survived, are much larger, so a fisherman’s presentation needs to change as well. He or she has to move to larger bait. On top of the fact that the bait fish have grown, they are beginning to feed up for the winter, when food is not as abundant. That means a larger presentation is going to be far more attractive in the fall.

Reports from the lakes confirm that the fall bite is here. Lake Geneva has a lot of action on bluegills, bass and walleye, all hitting on larger crawlers or suckers in 20-40 feet of water. The report from Big Green Lake also confirms great action on big bluegills at a depth of 25-35 feet, while the action in the Skokie Lagoons and Beck Lake is in 10-12 feet of water.

The fall weather is enjoyable, and with a few adjustments, the fishing should be, too. Until next time, keep a tight line.

Contact Dick at hookedonfishing@comcast.net.