TAKE ADVANTAGE OF FALL FISHING
Good fishing throughout state in Indian summer, but techniques may need modifying
PRATT — Although most outdoorsmen and women have already hunted deer, ducks, or doves, and others are looking forward upland game seasons, die-hard anglers take advantage of fishing opportunities on mild autumn days. This time of year, fish may be a little less active, but they are still hungry and filling their bellies in preparation for a long winter, making this a great time to tackle your favorite fish. But a few tips are in order.
It’s hard to beat a crankbait for early fall fishing. Gizzard shad are the preferred prey of most sport fish in Kansas' larger lakes and reservoirs. In the fall, young-of-the-year shad are about 2-3 inches long, and a white or chrome, fat-bodied crankbait is a perfect imitation. Cast a deep- or medium-diving crankbait along rocky points and rip-rapped shorelines, and retrieve it quickly, so it gets near the bottom and bounces off the rocks.
A deep-diving crankbait may be the best choice even when fishing relatively shallow. The lure’s long lip will deflect off the rocks and other snags, and this action can often illicit strikes. If the lure does hang up, give it some slack and it will often float free. Using light monofilament or a small-diameter braid line will allow your crankbait to dive deeper.
When water temperatures cool to the low 50s or high 40s in late fall, it’s time to catch Kansas crappie. Reservoir crappie will congregate in large schools over deep brushpiles and creek channel dropoffs. Jigs or jigging spoons fished vertically in 12-25 feet of water are most effective. If too many small crappie are biting, tie on a larger jig with a 2- or 2 1/2-inch shad-type plastic body. The larger bait will more closely resemble shad and may discourage smaller fish.
When concentrations of crappie and white bass are found, take care to use landmarks or GPS to mark the spots. They will often be productive for icefishing if the state experiences a cold enough winter for solid freeze-up.
Always wear one or two more layers of clothing than you think you need when fishing in fall. No matter how warm it feels on land, it will be much cooler on the water, especially if the wind blows.