New York’s Lake Champlain provides ample bass water, but finding cover can be tricky.
Once days shorten and temperatures decline, largemouth bass shed their summer lethargy and start searching shallow weed beds, shorelines, and creek channel areas for food sources.
Water Temperatures Cool
As temperatures cool in autumn and fall, bass move from their deep summer haunts into shallower waters to feed heavily for winter. Savvy bass anglers can capitalize on this by targeting areas with lots of cover – particularly where submerged aquatic vegetation meets hard cover such as docks or brush piles – where these bass might be found feeding heavily.
Fall is when weed growth slows and dies back due to falling temperatures in the water, opening up forage fish such as largemouth bass. They often patrol flats looking for easy meals – you might spot them near any remaining stands of green weeds or hard cover such as rock piles and boulders.
Searching for largemouth bass in the fall requires starting near windswept shorelines that provide some kind of cover or structure, such as brush piles, lily pads or grass mats. If there’s also deeper water nearby such as drop-offs or creek channels that bass will often move towards to escape the heat of the day.
Oneida Lake provides ideal fall bass water. Its forage base consists of small perch and gizzard shad, both of which the largemouth bass will readily feed upon during fall fishing sessions on Oneida Lake. Largemouth anglers fishing Oneida in fall can often catch 2- to 3-pound fish by targeting weed lines near depth changes or around docks and other hard cover.
Lake Champlain is another ideal lake for fall bass fishing in both New York and Vermont. There’s ample bass water on both sides of the lake; particularly on New York side’s Catfish Bay/Kings Bay area as well as narrower southern end around Ticonderoga. Plus, Lake Champlain boasts ample shad habitat in its upper reaches which attracts schooling bass that follow baitfish migration north for winter – anglers can often catch these bass by tossing various lures that mimic these baitfish migration routes!
As water temperatures decline, bass begin feeding more aggressively, making this an excellent time to target schooling bass as they chase baitfish around the lake. They tend to congregate near cover such as laydowns, dock pilings or rock with quick access to deep water for quick casting opportunities. To be successful with schooling bass fishing effectively you need lures which match their size and color; many pros use larger crankbaits, rattletraps or jerkbaits in multiple colors that mimic schooling baitfish schools as this increases catch rates while others use larger crankbaits that mimic schooling baitfish schools – the right lure will make all the difference between success or failure – many pros switch between large crankbaits that mimic schooling baitfish schools compared to using smaller crankbaits designed specifically to mimicking schooling fishes or vice versa when targeting schooling bass schools that mimic schooling of baitfish schools around lakes as these areas tend to cluster around cover such as laydowns dock pilings or rocks with quick access to deep water for easy fishing opportunities. Pros may use larger crankbaits, rattletraps or jerkbaits that mimic schooling baitfish schools more successfully.
As the season changes, many of the same spots that were productive during summer can still produce in fall as cold fronts approach. Structure that held bass can still offer protection.
Largemouth bass tend to move deeper as temperatures decrease and they become less active, although they will still be actively searching for food at night. They may move into coves and bays in preparation for spawning or to weedy sloughs, grass beds or stump fields in search of cover.
Mid-fall temperatures encourage bass to feed more as they prepare to spawn, though exact timing for moving shallow or spawning depends on both water temperature and length of daylight hours.
Bass prefer the backs of creek channels in manmade lakes; when fishing natural lakes, however, they’ll seek out weedy sloughs, grass fields or stump fields near creek mouths as a refuge. Bass may also find shelter at bluff points, channel swings or main lake points accessible from these spots.
Finding bass in the fall requires being adaptable enough to move around as conditions dictate, keeping an eye on weather radio or radar apps and being ready for sudden shifts in conditions that could impact fishing success. By being ready for sudden changes and being alert to sudden fluctuations, your chances of hooking fish increase significantly.
Bass fisheries begin adjusting their diets for winter as early as the fall season, consuming vast quantities of forage as their metabolisms speed up to burn fat reserves more efficiently. While largemouth bass may appear lethargic during this period, anglers could find some excellent fishing.
Fall bass fishing success comes down to one simple concept: match their meal. Largemouths search for sustenance in fall, so they concentrate their feeding activity in smaller, more concentrated areas than during the summer. When targeting these largemouths look for healthy clumps of weeds on shallow to mid depth flats, pockets, or creeks with deeper, colder waters nearby as these often indicate healthy fish habitat – this applies equally well when targeting structures like points, humps surrounded by deeper waters, sunken brush piles near coves etc.
Fish these areas using various baits. Largemouth bass in the fall can often be fooled into biting with lipless crankbaits, medium-diving crankbaits, swimbaits or even jerkbaits; generally though, small shallow-running baits that mimic minnow or shad are most successful.
As vegetation thins in the fall, bass continue to stay near shallow areas in search of food sources that remain. Unfortunately, as cover decreases further, forage has less places to hide which forces bass to feed aggressively.
As bass migrate toward their spawning coves, they often stop to feed along the way. This is an ideal time to target shallow rock humps, old docks and isolated brush piles in clear to stained waters with either a swimbait or spinnerbait attached to your jig – no matter which form is used!
Many lakes experience turnover during the fall months, creating murky water conditions and altering their aquatic environment. To combat this condition, try searching with various baits until you locate an area holding bass; once found, spend as much time there as possible until they bite; otherwise try covering more ground to discover new hotspots; this way you might just catch yourself some amazing fall catches that your friends will envy.
As soon as the seasons change from Spring to Fall, seasoned largemouth bass anglers know to expect an abundance of bites as fish prepare, participate, and depart their annual spawning ritual. But fall makes fishing even easier since there are fewer bass fishermen out there compared to spring; making finding and catching fish much simpler in your favorite lake or river.
Fall’s cool temperatures also spark other significant transformations to the underwater environment, including changes to forage fish populations and largemouth bass activity. When temperatures decline and daylight hours decrease, shallow weed beds begin to die back, leaving forage fish exposed and vulnerable. Largemouth bass quickly respond by searching nearby mid-depth flats for easy meals.
Bass can often be found gathered up in deeper waters to fatten up for winter, often congregating around structures such as ledges, points, channels or depressions found within spawning coves that hold baitfish. Now is an opportune time to target these structures with crankbaits rigged on heavy, snagless jigs or stream of small minnow-sized plastics.
As the day wears on and water temperatures warm, bass tend to slow down; however, you may still find some decent action during midday when they go through transitional phases – for instance right before a cold front passes by they may feed rapidly to build energy for their impending spawn.
At this stage of the fishing season, success comes down to creating lures that match perfectly the colors and sizes of baitfish bass. When casting crawfish-type lures or topwater lures that mimic schooling baitfish with silver/chrome colors for topwater lures or by mimicking their movement by slowly twitching or casting realistic lures with realistic movements (i.e. slow, irregular twitching motion or casting a realistic lure).