How to catch fish in the fall.

From my fishing journal Sat Sept 15. Today I am going to try a something different. Instead of  fishing one of the many medium size Minnesota lakes in the area I am going to try to fish a small 25 acre lake which is only a few miles from my home located in a park. This lake is only about a ¼ mile long by 100-200 meters across. There is no boat landing so instead of taking my big fishing boat (17 feet) I take my small very lightweight 12 footer (which weighs 60 pounds). 

We have fished this lake only a couple times before and had pretty good success. Today Sept 15 is a bright and sunny day,  a high of 80 degrees is forecast.  A warm up from several days of cool fall type weather with the temps ranging from the lows of 40 at night to upper 60 and low 70. This cool spell has lowered the water temperatures. Most of the time this would be a good sign for fishermen who want to catch fish.

This small lake has a good number of crappie , sunfish, bass along with some walleye stocked by the state. My plan is to go for some pan fish . I start with the normal bobber and 1/32 ounce green jig tipped with a one inch gulp alive minnow. What is the plan of attack for fishing this lake without a lot of classic fishing structure (points , humps , sandbars etc)? I will fish the perimeter of the lake zig zagging from a depth of 12 feet to 3 or 4 feet.

I troll with an electric trolling motor a short distance and catch a smaller sunfish after casting by a log in 4 feet of water. Repeated follow-up casts produce no more fish. I drift with the wind across some of this small lakes deepest water of 15-17 feet noting fish on the depth finder . I quickly adjust the bobber depth . No takers at this depth.

 I motor into shallower water. A good looking marsh bay with some submerged timber. I catch several mostly small sunfish with a couple decent crappie. Instead of repeated drifts at this spot I continue fishing and exploring the shady side of the lake that has much more submerged timber. A pair of blue wing teal zip by and land in the lakes marshy end. I catch a few more sunfish and even two bass in the 1 to 2 pound category. Nice!

Next I change the pace and grab the rod rigged with a ¼ oz weedless jig and a plastic powerbait. I cast into the shoreline and fish some of the deeper water where I marked fish on the depth finder. No fish bite. I am a little surprised.  I switch back to the fishing rod with the pan fish jig and bobber. I catch a few more sunfish some decent sized.

I fish for about 2 and ½ hours, all during the mid afternoon (not prime time hours). I release all my fish today. Not a gang buster day for fishing but a decent one none the less. To summarize the fishing pattern today.  The fish that bit were in the shallower water .  About 4-5 foot was the depth most of the fish were caught. The cooler fall temperatures will move some fish in to the shallower water.  A good day to be on the water I note. Probably one of the last 8o degree days of the year.

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