Cold fronts determine fish activity

Published 12:48 am Sunday, November 16, 2008

It’s that time of year when cold fronts will determine the activity of activity of the bass and white perch. The past four weekends (including this one) have been extremely tough to catch fish due to post frontal conditions that left us with a bright sky and high pressure.

Cold fronts are pushing through our area during the middle of the week and the fish are very active just before the fronts but by the weekend the sky clears up and the fish activity shuts down. Successful fall fishing is all about timing.

Hopefully the timing of these fronts will change and give the weekend fishermen and ladies a chance to catch some fish. Locating fish during the fall is a lot like finding fishing in the spring but in reverse. During the fall water temps slowly cool off.

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The bass and white perch leave their summer locations and relocate in areas that hold baitfish. The majority of game fish are now in shallow water but at the same time don’t rule out the deep water bite. When fishing ahead of a cold front you’ll do better in the shallows. Once the cold front passes try fishing deep water cover and slow your lure presentation down to a crawl.

You can catch numbers of smaller fish in the shallows ahead of the fronts but if you’re after big fish the deep water pattern is the way to go regardless of when the cold fronts pass. The best reports on the bass and white perch this week are coming from the old river bend lakes at Vidalia and Deer Park.

Lake St. John is producing some nice bass, but I have yet to hear any reports on the white perch fishing on this oxbow lake. Last week we had a rise come down the Mississippi that brought the river level up from 16 feet to 19 feet.

The river is falling this week and the fluctuating water turned the fish on. The stage at Natchez today is around 16.3 feet and steady. The Old River will be landlocked at 14 feet and so far this year has not happened. That’s a good thing.

The boat houses are holding some nice size white perch and you can catch perch around the log jams and any man-made cover you can find in 6 to 12 feet of water.

Try tube jigs and live shiners. The bass on the Old River are holding real shallow on visible cover and we’re catching them on spinnerbaits and small shallow diving crankbaits. If the running bait bite drops off try flipping and pitching jigs and soft plastics tight to the thickest cover you can find.

The landlocked lakes — Concordia, St. John and Lake Bruin — are beginning to produce some nice fish. These lakes are at their best when surface water temperatures drop below 60 degrees. The average mid-day water temperature right now is about 63 degrees. All we need is a couple more cold fronts like the one this weekend to lower the water temperature and the fishing will improve even more.

Eddie Roberts writes a weekly fishing column for The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at