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Fall is a great time to be outdoors. The air is cool, the views are picturesque and the fish are pulling out of their late summer slumber.
“Fall offers excellent fishing opportunities for both new and expert anglers,” said Joe Larscheid, chief of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Bureau. “Get out there and enjoy them.”
Cooler temperatures and shorter daylight periods trigger fish to actively move in search of food to build energy reserves to settle into their winter habitat. These predictable movements make them easier to locate.
“Yellow perch, muskies, crappies, walleyes largemouth and smallmouth bass put on a last minute flurry before winter,” explained Larscheid.
The fall bite in lakes and ponds shifts to the main part of the day. Fish are more active during the day and can be caught close to shore. Target areas of a lake where the water is warmer, particularly 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 during the fall like underwater brush piles, old road beds, rock reeks or weed lines.
Fish in streams will begin moving to their wintering areas in October. Stream flow is often lower in the fall; allowing better angler access. Channel catfish will move downstream from smaller streams to the deepest holes they can find in larger streams. Walleyes will move to the next deepest holes and pike to the next deepest.
Find a new favorite fishing spot this fall with the interactive Fishing Atlas available on the DNR website at www.iowadnr.gov/Fishing/Fishing-Maps.