COOL AUTUMN BRINGS HOT FISHING
Cool water brings fish up from the deep
PRATT -- Hot summer temperatures push fish into deep water and make them sluggish, but as fall cools the air and the water, fish are back on the move. This can be one of the best times to dust off the fishing gear and head to the lake.
As water temperatures drop into the upper 60s, sport fish such as white bass, crappie, and walleye move up from cool, deep water and become more active. Here they feed, taking advantage of the abundant prey and preparing for the coming winter. At this time, they are easier to find and catch.
Through much of the fall, white bass often continue their summer habit of feeding on shad in the cool of the night. If they can't be found near the surface, cast jigs, spinners, or crankbaits along rip-rapped piers, jetties, or dams in 6 to 20 feet of water. Minnows or live shad also work well along drop-offs or flats.
Walleye are quite difficult to find in the hot summer months, but in October, they can often be found near humps, islands, and drop-offs in 15 to 25 feet of water. Drifting a jig-minnow combination or live shad works well.
Crappie can also be found at this time of year 6 to 20 feet deep, often near brush, old stumps, and submerged trees. Vertically fishing jigs or jig-minnow combinations is effective. Later in the fall, as the water cools below 50 degrees, crappie congregate in large schools and move into the main lake. They still frequent submerged timber or creek and river channels, but they may also suspend themselves in open, deeper water at this time of year. Using a depth finder, mark suspended schools with a marker buoy and position the boat directly over the school. Drop a jig or jigging spoon down and adjust the depth until it's at or just above the depth of the fish.
Because gizzard shad are the most common prey species in Kansas reservoirs, use jigs, spoons, and crankbaits that resemble shad.
For information on fishing conditions at Kansas lakes, visit the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks website, www.kdwp.state.ks.us. Click "Fishing," " Fishing Reports ," a favorite region, and then the name of the lake.