Fall fishing adventures

Since I was a little kid I have always loved fishing in the fall. Some of the best opportunities of the whole year are happening right now for bass, crappies, walleye, pike and musky. My belief is that our fish know that a long winter is coming so they feed at every chance they get right now to bulk up in advance. It makes for some great fishing.

Over the past couple of months most of my fishing focus has been on the area bass tournaments that I have been competing in. It’s what I love to do and I have a lot of fun with them but now that they are over I get to spend a little more time chasing other species. The bass fishing is still good so I’m still catching a few but I do like to catch other fish as well.

If you enjoy catching crappies, it’s prime time to find and catch them. The bonus to finding crappies right now is that they are in the same locations where they will spend the winter so if you can find them, the same general areas will be good in the coming months. Crappies school up in the deeper basins of the bays and lakes that they live in. These are typically 20 to 35 feet, depending on the waterbody. One thing that anglers should be aware of is that if you are catching them deeper than 25 feet, you probably have to keep what you catch because they just have a hard time getting back to the bottom. Their air bladders fill up and they just can’t get back down.  

Shelby and Jeff Gustafson with a nice pike from Lake of the Woods over the past weekend.

Not to be to preachy but there have been a lot of good crappie holes that have been ruined by greedy anglers across northwestern Ontario over the years. I have a couple of sneaky spots where I can usually go and catch a few but there have been a lot of good spots that have literally been fished out. There is a misconception that crappies grow really fast and replenish quickly, but that is not the case. It’s great to catch a few for dinner but if you keep limit after limit on the same spot, it won’t last very long.

Over the weekend my wife Shelby and I filmed an episode of the Lund Ultimate Fishing Experience TV show on Lake of the Woods and we had a great day on the water. Our goal was to catch multiple species of fish and show how much fun an angler can have in a day on a Sunset Country lake. We started out casting for pike and it was phenomenal. In about an hour we caught five or six big pike, including a couple pushing 20 pounds so it was awesome! We were casting jerkbaits on main lake rocky points and shorelines. The fish were in four to ten feet of water. 

After the pike adventure, we moved on to catch some nice smallmouths on humps in 18 to 22 feet of water and had a good time with that, catching a few over four pounds. While we were doing that we also ran into a few walleyes, which we kept for a nice dinner. We were using a soft plastic jerk shads rigged on ¼ ounce jigs to catch the bass and walleyes.

It was a great weekend to be on the water with the beautiful weather. As a whole, we have been really fortunate with the weather this fall. It looks like it’s going to remain nice with temperatures slightly above average in the coming weeks so there is still some time to get out and enjoy a few more days in the boat before things freeze. Go find some adventure on the water!