Cooler weather will bring better fishing

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 2, 2008

October is out of here, and November will offer better fishing on the area lakes.

The cooler water temperatures will turn the big slab white perch and bass on.

I love this time of year. From June through mid-September our lakes can be tough, but when cooler weather moves in conditions change fast.

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We had several mornings with lows in the 30’s this week, and that lowered surface water temperatures big time. Last weekend, water temps on the area lakes ranged from 67 to 74 degrees.

This weekend I found some 62-degree water.

The cooler temperatures will kick off a major transition in the way fish feed. Bait-fish are moving from the middle of the lake, where they hold most of the summer, and are heading toward thin water, the shoreline.

Some game-fish will be feeding shallow, but we have options now. If the shallow bite is slow, you can locate a few deep water fish if deep water cover is available.

Huge schools of shad are holding between the piers at Lake St. John, and the stripers and black bass are feeding on the shad.

Cast in the open water between the piers. The easy way to locate the fish is to watch for the herons. They’ll find the baitfish for you.

Sometimes the black bass will feed right with the stripers. If you go through an area and pick up a few bass, slow down and fish back through it with bottom lures.

Big bass rarely feed in open water. They tend to hold tight to cover and ambush the bait as it swims by.

Lake Concordia’s big bass are starting to turn on as well. Once the fish adjust to the cooler water temps, don’t rule out surface lures just yet. You can catch fish as long as water temps are above 60 degrees.

We have caught big fish on surface lures in December, but that’s unusual.

Lake Bruin is the best cold water lake to fish for bass and white perch in this area. Right now the fish are still shallow, thanks to the high water levels of September, but that will soon change.

As water temperatures fall, more fish will move away from shoreline cover and hold in the many manmade brush piles near the piers and on the drop-offs.

The very best way to catch the big bass deep is with a heavy jig or big soft plastics fish behind a heavy slip sinker. For numbers of smaller bass on Bruin, go with Carolina-rigged soft plastics.

The Mississippi River is at a favorable level for fishing the Old Rivers this weekend. The stage at Natchez Saturday was 16.2 feet and rising.

By Wednesday, we may see a level of 19.4 feet if the forecast holds up. That may slow the fishing down.