Fall is a great time to catch fish with family and friends. The air is cool, the views are picturesque, lakes are less crowded and the fish are easy to catch. Make lasting memories together and put your worries behind you.
“Fantastic fishing opportunities await both new and expert anglers," said Joe Larscheid, chief of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Bureau. “Enticing a fish to bite your hook is fun for all ages.”
Cooler temperatures and shorter daylight times trigger fish to actively search for food to build energy reserves to survive the long winter. These predictable movements make them easier to find.
“Yellow perch, muskies, crappies, walleyes, largemouth and smallmouth bass are more active in the fall,” explained Larscheid. “They eat more and more often to get ready for winter.”
The fall bite in lakes and ponds shifts to the main part of the day. Fish are more active during the day and will be close to shore. Target areas of a lake where the water is warmer, mostly in shallow water bays along the north shore.
“Use live bait, particularly minnows, small tackle and fish slowly when fishing in cooler water,” Larscheid said.
Look for panfish schools in open water near structure like a brush pile, underwater hump, drop-offs and rock reefs. Largemouth bass will be close to some type of structure like underwater brush piles, old road beds, rock reeks or weed lines.
Quickly find fish structure locations with the online fishing atlas or download structure location maps from the DNR’s Fishing Maps website.
Find tips for catching yellow perch, crappie, walleye, bass and catfish on the DNR website at www.iowadnr.gov/fishing. Check the weekly fishing report to find out what is biting where.