The air temperature certainly dropped this week, and though that affected water temperatures, the change was not quite as drastic. The thermometer was falling about a degree each day until last weekend, when outlying areas recorded some nighttime freezing and the temperature fell a few degrees more.

This was good news for those of us who target smallmouth bass, because their feeding activity really picks up before the cold water period. There are number of places that are really special for huge smallmouths and where the lucky fisherman can catch numbers of them. The ultimate place is Chequamegon Bay on the south shore of Lake Superior in northern Wisconsin. The location makes it one of the least pressured spots, and it is capable of producing double-digit catches of smallmouth bass over 5 lbs. Another outstanding spot that doubles as a family friendly location is Door County, Wis., at Sturgeon Bay. Smallmouths are found all through Sturgeon Bay and along the shore on both the Green Bay and Lake Michigan sides, so the places to fish are many and varied.

Closer to home, my old standby, Lake Geneva, is a great place to grab a bunch of smallmouth, and there is a good chance to land a few big ones. The best bait for these big boys is going to be either a 4- or a 5-inch plastic grub on a 1/4-oz. jig. I would recommend a smoke with red flakes for colored water and white for clear water. Make long casts and retrieve slowly, but quickly enough to keep the bait off the bottom.

There is action on other area lakes, too. The Fox Chain has been really active, with catches of multiple species – crappies, white bass, catfish and sheepheads – keeping the action good. However, the musky and walleye have been slow. The Mississippi River at Genoa, Pool 9, has been reporting large catches of crappies, with low water levels and clear water. Minnows on very small jigs are the preferred bait.

Enjoy the fall fishing. Take the kids and/or the whole family, catch a bunch and appreciate the autumn of the year. And until next time…keep a tight line.

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