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Fishing has turned the summer corner and has entered into what we refer to as the fall turnover pattern.
What that means in terms of the water environment is that the weeds are beginning to die, making areas of good oxygen levels smaller and more compact.
The weeds have been the safe haven for the smaller bait fish since they began to green out in spring. During the summer months the weeds provided safety for the young of the year and a great supply of heavy oxygenated water for a lot of the fish in any lake.
As the weeds start to die in the deeper water, and the decline gradually works its way into the shallows over the next month or so, some of the larger species like the bass and pike will start heading to their deep-water winter locations. Until the weeds brown out and stop providing the oxygen this is a great place to hook up with a big trophy bass or northern pike, fishing the edges of the remaining weeds in the 6 feet to 10 feet of water.
This is also time for bigger baits. The remaining young of the year fish are now grown and baits need to reflect the increase in size. If the preference is for spinnerbaits for bass, the best ones are the half-to-one-ounce size baits with double blades and a plastic trailer.
Not only has the hatch grown, but these big fish are looking to start feeding up for the coming frozen water period on the lakes. This is a great time to get out those larger hard baits and start throwing them along those break lines as well.
This time of year the fish will chase a bait that looks like a great meal. Anyone into live-bait fishing should look for the largest possible minnows at the bait stores. If the target is the big smallmouth bass on Lake Geneva, the best bet is sucker minnows four inches long, if not longer. Since the smallmouth will not be afraid of the size of the bait, the person holding the rod should not be, either.
Speaking of Lake Geneva, reports from there are that the bass, largemouth and smallmouth have been active in 18 feet to 26 feet.
Daytime fishing is back as boat traffic has diminished. Trolling the weed edges could turn up some nice northern pike.
There are also good reports from the Skokie Lagoons – the best fishing is in pools 2 and 3.
Let’s get out there and enjoy the fall weather and the fishing.
Until next time…keep a tight line.