3 Keys for Fall Stillwater Success
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3 Keys for Fall Stillwater Success

Three tips for making the most of your fall lake fishing season

Frosty mornings, dropping water temperatures, and large fish that slide into shallow water in search of staple food sources such as leeches, scuds and chironomid larvae (bloodworms). Fall is a spectacular time of year on many of our interior lakes, with fish feeding voraciously before the onset of winter.

The Cranberry Larvae 2.0, a deadly effective fall pattern.

As air temperatures begin to drop, the temperatures of our lakes follow suit. While there has been plenty of great fishing to be had this summer, in fact the best summer of stillwater fishing I have ever experience, the months of September and October are two of my favourite. Here are three tips to help you maximize your Stillwater outings this fall.

Be Adaptive

I am a firm believer that what often separates highly effective Stillwater anglers from those that struggle is the way they think, and the speed in which calculations are made before executing.

Fall morning on Roche Lake

Effective anglers are constantly scanning for signs that may give them an opportunity to act. Rolling fish, a boat across the lake that has encountered multiple fish in sequence, a waterboatmen paddling his way through the column, or a chironomid casing drifting by the boat.

Fall Stillwater fishing presents us with many difference scenarios. It is far too easy to attach ourselves to what worked the week before, the day before, or even one hour ago. Feeding habits are constantly changing, being willing to play the hand you are dealt and change along with them will result in more fish landed.

“Too Shallow” does not Exist

Rainbow trout love feeding in shallow water, especially when they have a quick and safe exit point should they need to retreat to the depths. An abundance of scuds and small leeches are readily available for fish willing to venture onto marl flats or tight against bulrushes.

Rainbow trout cruising a marl flat, no more than three feet in depth

Often we do not perceive the fact that it is not uncommon to catch fish in two to five feet of water, so it does not become a consideration. This was proven to me just yesterday, as I watched fish up to seven pounds feeding in water that was not more than eighteen inches deep.

Even if it is not a “feeding” rise, a fish moving on the surface in shallow water often means there is a school along with them. Do not let logical thinking talk you out of fishing extremely shallow water.

Move Often

During late-fall, some of the biggest fish in our lakes will feed in less than ten feet of water. However, in cold water temperatures they are often not moving at a very fast pace.

Moving as little as 50 to 100 feet in one direction or another can be the difference between staying on top of a school of fish or watching your indicator. Never hesitate to pull anchor at the first sign of happy fish in another location. 

Lastly, never be afraid to think way outside the proverbial box!

Creative anglers are those that remain unattached to a certain way of doing things, and experience some of the highest success rates on days when most are left scratching their heads.

Related: 3 Instalments of Stillwater Week 2020!

Thank you for reading, if you would like to join us for a day on the water this fall click here to drop us an email or call (250) 463-2266!

2 Responses

  1. Avatar
    Les
    | Reply

    Great tips Jordan. The “Too Shallow” comment is spot on. Shoals can be very good especially if adjacent to deeper water.

    • Jordan Oelrich
      Jordan Oelrich
      | Reply

      Thanks Les, it is exciting when they slide into the super skinny water! As long as they have a good exit point, it is amazing how shallow of water large fish will cruise in search of a good meal.

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