Photos by Harrison Sutcliffe

Fall Smallmouth Fishing

Fall is a great time of year to catch smallmouth bass. The beauty and color of the changing foliage of the Ozarks make it that much more appealing. The bass have recovered from their spring spawn and have put on some weight throughout the summer. The cooler temperatures have triggered the smallmouth to start thinking about the upcoming winter and fatten up to get through the winter starvation period and have enough fat for once again the Spring spawn. Live Crawdads will still be available into much of October and will be a good choice of bait. Soft plastics mimicking a Crawdad or lizard will work as well. As it gets cooler the fish will slowly migrate to the deeper holes with structure where they will eventually end up for the winter. You can catch winter smallmouth in the deeper holes but you have to throw them something big and worth while and pretty much get the bait right in front of their noses to have any success. The water will be clear and cold in the winter and you will rarely see any species of fish swimming freely in the river like what you have seen in the summer. It’s a beautiful winter river but a “ghost” river as the fish have hunkered down for a few months. Their heart rate slows and they are conserving energy. You should consider carefully floating the river when their is snow on the ground and in the trees. A beautiful sight to see!

Happy Fall fishing and tight lines! We all live downstream….

~ Riverman