• When it comes to fishing in the fall, you can expect colder temperatures and harder physical conditions—it's time to bundle up and drop a line, the fish are definitely in Autumn.

  • To get started with fall fishing, remember to check the weather temperature and keep an eye on bird activity in the area.

  • Be sure to pattern bait migrations and shift to static fishing—not to mention, in the shallows, shift to topwater.

Fall brings with it a mixed blessing for anglers: it gets colder and colder and fishing becomes more and more challenging on a physical basis, but at the same time, the fish are hungrier than they’ve been all season. Sure, you may shiver a bit. Yeah, the wind tends to blow a little harder at this time of year. But if you bundle up and hang tough, you can fill the fishbox. If, of course, you use these five fall fishing tips.

fall fishing

Sure, fall fishing can get a bit chilly - but the results are well worth the extra efforts.

1. Pay attention to water temperature

With every five-degree drop (or thereabouts) expect the fish to change patterns and shift locations. After a particularly cold week, don’t spend a whole lot of time trying the spots and tactics you used last weekend; chances are the fish are doing something different.

2. Look for bird activity

Yes, you’ll see birds working over bait during much of the year, but fall is when they really kick into high gear. Just as the fish feel a need to fatten up as it gets cold, the birds do, too. Now’s the time to make sure you have good binoculars onboard, and stop now and again when you’re cruising to make good use of them.

3. In the shallows, shift to topwater

I have no idea of the scientific explanation as to why fish hit topwater better at this time of year, but the fact is that they do. Particularly early and late in the day, try “walking the dog” or tossing out a chugger.

4. Pattern bait migrations

You can bet the predators will be looking for the movement of young-of-the-year bunker, as they head out of creeks and stage in river mouths before they begin migrating. You can bet those same predators will be shifting their hunting tactics when panfish like spot and croaker head south for the winter. And yes, they will go into over-drive when crabs or shrimp make their last molt of the season. All of these changes affect the fish’s behavior, and if you can predict these changes, you’ll be a far more efficient angler.

5. Be prepared to slow your presentation

Remember, fish are cold-blooded. As the water temperature plummets, they will begin to move slower and slower. A jig ripped along at top speed may have been the hot ticket in September, but by November, a slow and steady retrieve will be in order. Shifting to static fishing (in other words, using baits you can set and forget) also becomes more effective, at this time of year.