Early fall fishing strategies and tips - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Early fall fishing strategies and tips

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CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) - September is already here, can you believe it? September is the month that our first cold fronts begin moving in and begins cooling down the surface temperature of our lakes, which creates a condition known as lake turnover.

For those of you that don't know what I mean by the lakes turning over, it is when the surface water becomes cooler than the water on the bottom. This causes the water on the surface to sink and the water on the bottom to rise to the top. You can tell when this happens in a couple of ways. It will bring up trash, leaves, and debris from the bottom and the schools of fish you had located in deep water during the summer will seem nowhere to be found.

When this happens you will find these fish in shallow water where they haven't been for months. The fish will then start to move into the backs of the sloughs and creeks following shad and other baitfish that are moving shallow with the lower surface temperatures, which makes it very easy for anglers to find fish feeding in the shallows.

As the water temperatures begin to drop the bass will begin schooling and feeding heavily on shad more than any other time of the year in preparation for the upcoming winter. Backs of sloughs and creeks with wood cover or grass are great places to search for bass in the fall. Topwater baits, rattle traps, spinnerbaits, and crankbaits are all good choices this time of year, as the fish will be aggressive and willing to chase larger baits during the fall feeding frenzy.

The cooling water of the fall also offers good crappie fishing. When the waters begin to cool down in the fall, crappie will begin feeding aggressively in order to fatten up for the winter.

Schools of big crappie can be caught easily during this period. Crappie love structure, so look for areas with cover. Shallow coves, stumps, points, fallen trees, and submerged brush are all great places to find crappie. Many anglers sink brush piles, tires, and even wooden pallets to create cover for big fish. A 1/32 or 1/16 oz. jig dropped into brush will produce fish if the conditions are right.

Try swimming a small jig through stump fields or along fallen trees to locate the crappie. When you identify the depth at which most of the fish are holding, try suspending a jig or minnow at that depth under a small floater. 

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