Fall smallmouth bass fishing is almost always dynamite. In fact, if I had to pick one month out of the year to fish for smallmouth bass I would choose the month of October. During the month of October, these fall smallmouths make such great changes, you are going to go through a full spectrum of presentations in a relatively short period of time. We can break the month up into two different periods. The first two weeks and the last two weeks.
During the first two weeks of October, the fish are going to be shallower and tend to be spread out over the structure.
Horizontal baits work their best on a front end of this fall transition, say water temperatures at 65 going down to about 45 degrees. Some good horizontal baits include spinnerbaits, swim jigs, chatter baits, and jerkbaits just to name a few. These are baits you can work relatively fast and cover lots of water with.
During the last two weeks of October when the water temperature drops to roughly 45 degrees your presentation shifts dramatically as these fish seem to hit a wall. They’re still aggressive just a little slower at doing it. Many of these fish shift to what we call wintering areas it’s important to understand that wintering areas will differ from lake to lake and from river to river. and reservoir to reservoir. I’ve seen wintering areas from 10 feet deep those and then some as deep as 40ft or more.
A good way to find these locations is to use your side imaging searching for deep rock. You can quickly cruise areas looking for cover, bait, and fish in that likely depth but the key factor of all these locations is going to be rock.
Once you locate these spots you need to slow your presentation down because the bass are less likely to chase down a bait. Some good options include tubes, Carolina rigs, roller jig drop shot, or any other bottom-hugging presentation. These will allow you to stay in the stake zone for an extended period of time.
Whether you’re at a lake a river or a reservoir rock is always around good wintering areas then all you gotta do is fishing with the right baits.
In our neck of the woods up here north-central Minnesota, the bites bite for fall smallmouth starts the beginning of October and runs to the beginning of November. You know if you move down south a little bit it probably starts the end of October and runs through the month of November into December but the movement of the fish, the family of baits, everything we’re talking about applies.