Just because Labor Day has come and gone doesn’t mean you have to wrap up kayaking season. Some of the best kayak fishing can be done in the fall. Cooler weather, fewer crowds, cost-saving off-season rates, and beautiful foliage are just a few reasons to consider continuing to kayak fish in the fall. With just a few kayak fishing tips, you can make this fall your best one yet.
1. Go in the Afternoon
As the days grow shorter, the afternoon becomes the perfect time to head out for a kayaking and fishing adventure. The midday warmth allows you to enjoy the water comfortably, and you’ll have ample time to return before the sun sets.
2. Pack for the Weather
Autumn weather can be unpredictable, so it’s essential to be prepared. Dress in layers to adapt to changing temperatures and bring along a lightweight waterproof jacket to shield you from unexpected rain or chilly winds. Don’t forget a hat and, despite the cooler air, apply sunscreen to protect your skin. Polarized sunglasses can help you spot fish more easily.
3. Tweak Your Kayak Fishing Technique
Slow Your Speed: Cooler fall temperatures slow down fish metabolism, so it’s time to adjust your fishing technique. Slower retrieves and trolling speeds will mimic the movements of the prey that gamefish are hunting in the fall. Maintain a stealthy approach in your kayak for a higher chance of success.
Up Your Bait Size: Match your bait size to the needs of the gamefish. In the fall, predators are looking for substantial meals to prepare for winter. Use larger bait to attract their attention and increase your chances of a bite.
Watch for Birds: Keep an eye on the sky, especially in the fall. Large fish often work together to corral schools of baitfish to the surface, making them an easy target for both fish and birds. Follow the birds’ movements to locate potential hotspots for fishing.
Look for Transition Points: In late summer and early fall, baitfish move to shallower waters for spawning. Focus on areas with depth changes to find these concentrations of baitfish. Where there’s food, you’re likely to find the larger gamefish.
Get Lost in the Weeds: Areas with remaining weed cover in the fall become prime fishing grounds. As weeds die off and shrink, they create a concentrated feeding area for various fish species. When the baitfish are present, the gamefish won’t be far behind.
Find Sun-Warmed Water: Unlike summer when fish seek shade, in the fall, they may prefer sun-warmed waters as the temperatures cool. Target shallower areas that warm up faster or coves with dark-colored bottoms where fish might gather.
Be Aware of “Turnover”: Fall brings changes in water temperature, including a phenomenon called “turnover.” While it can make fishing challenging due to reduced visibility, it also disperses oxygen more widely, making more areas habitable for fish. Focus your efforts near shallows, weeds, and transition points during turnover.
Fishing in the fall can be an incredibly rewarding experience, offering not only beautiful weather and vibrant scenery but also abundant opportunities to reel in the catch of a lifetime.
Wondering where to find the best fall fishing trips? Look no further than your local waters or favorite fishing spots. As summer yields to autumn, these familiar locales undergo significant transformations that can provide exciting fishing opportunities.
Less Stress: Cooler water temperatures increase dissolved oxygen levels, making it a suitable time to resume trout fishing in areas where summer fishing was halted due to stress on fish. Some regions may even witness fall restocking efforts.
Relocation Program: Falling temperatures trigger baitfish movement, attracting predatory fish. Fall fishing trips often involve following baitfish that group tightly and move to creek backs. This concentration of forage leads to exciting bass fishing opportunities.
Cool Attitude: As water cools, fish become more active and begin feeding voraciously before winter sets in. Casting larger lures becomes effective, as bigger fish migrate to shallower waters. Consider shifting your target species and revisiting spring pike and walleye patterns.
Local Treasures: Even if you enjoy traveling, don’t overlook the potential for fantastic fall fishing trips in your home region. You’ll encounter fewer anglers, increased chances of catching trophy fish, and access to local waters that may hold surprises during this season.
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