Cool water brings fish up from deep Kansas lakes

As early fall water temperatures dropped into the upper 60s, sportfish such as white bass, crappie, and walleye moved from cool, deep water and became more active. In shallow water, they take advantage of abundant prey and prepare for the coming winter, and they are easier to find and catch.

Through much of the fall, white bass and wipers 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, live shad, and jigging spoons also work well along drop-offs or flats.

Walleye are quite difficult to find in the hot summer months, but in late fall, they can often be found near humps, islands, and drop-offs in 15 to 25 feet of water. Drifting a jig-minnow combination or trolling shad-colored crankbaits 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.

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 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 the latest information on Kansas fishing conditions, consult KDWP's online fishing reports.