Fall is a superlative time to go out onto the water in search of landlocked stripers. That's because seasonal temperature changes seem to put the big fish on the move. Personally, I love fishing for them because they are so feisty. They also make an excellent fall dinner. With that said, here's a peek at a few of my seasonal striper fishing tips:
Where to Look
In my experience, one of the best ways to locate landlocked stripers in the fall is to study a fishing area's hydrology and the weather. It is also important to understand a landlocked striper's biology. For example, certain bodies of water experience turnover in the fall. Turnover, which is influenced by wind, water and air temperatures, causes changes in the water's dissolved oxygen levels. As does the dying off of aquatic vegetation. Landlocked stripers are known to prefer dissolved oxygen levels in the 6 to 12 mg/l range and shun strong UV rays. Hence, landlocked stripers tend to congregate in areas where those dissolved oxygen levels and low light conditions are present. As such, I sometimes find them feeding close to the water's surface around dusk and dawn.
Water Temperature Issues
Water temperatures also influence a landlocked striper's behavior. For instance, when water temperatures drop below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, I have found that the fish become extremely lethargic and hard to find. Based on my experience, it is best to bust out the electronic fish finder once that happens. Furthermore, when the water temperatures reach a certain level, landlocked stripers are known to prepare to spawn. During that time, they tend to seek out deeper waters located near steady currents. They also tend to follow schools of bait fish. Great pre-spawn places to snag a striper include deep water humps, tailwaters below dams, bluff banks and deep water holes located near submerged timber.
Spawning typically occurs when the water temperatures are in the 55 to 68 degree Fahrenheit range. Any viable eggs released during the spawn generally hatch when the water temperatures are in the 65 to 68 degree Fahrenheit range.
Bait and Tackle Suggestions
In my experience, threadfin shad and gizzard shad make great bait in the early fall. However, I have found that using larger bait fish and lures tends to be more productive as the season progresses. Other bait and tackle set-ups that have been successful for me in the past include float rigs, prop baits, shallow water crankbaits, topwater lures and planer boards. As far as tackle goes, I'd suggest that you consider using a heavy or medium-heavy baitcasting rod with a mono or braided line.
Killeen Gonzalez enjoys fishing with her family. She has also traveled extensively.
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- Nature & Environment