Fall Fishing Tips to Catch More Fish

Fall Fishing Tips to Catch More Fish

Fall is an amazing time to go fishing. As the weather cools down, fish become more active and start feeding aggressively to fatten up for winter. This guide will provide you with the best tips and techniques to catch more fish this fall.

Why Fall is an Excellent Time for Fishing

There are several reasons why autumn offers prime fishing opportunities:

  • Cooler water temperatures stimulate fish to feed actively and put on weight before winter. They have to consume a lot of calories to get through the cold months.
  • Baitfish and other forage migrate to different areas, and gamefish follow to take advantage of the abundant food source.
  • Weedbeds and vegetation start dying off, concentrating both baitfish and gamefish in the remaining cover.
  • Less fishing pressure after the summer crowds leave. You’ll have more peace and quiet on the water.
  • Beautiful scenery with fall foliage providing a picturesque backdrop.

Top Species to Target in the Fall

BassLargemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass gorge on baitfish and are very active in the fall. Target areas near shad schools.
CrappieCooling water triggers crappie to feed heavily before winter. Find them near structure.
WalleyeFall is a prime time to catch trophy walleye as they feed actively. Troll crankbaits.
TroutStocked trout become more aggressive in fall. Fly fishing with streamers is very productive.
Pike & MuskyUse big lures and target weed edges to catch these toothy critters feeding for winter.
CatfishChannel cats feed heavily in fall. Target baits in current areas and shallow flats.
PanfishCooler water makes bluegill, perch and sunfish active near shoreline cover.

Locating the Fish

In the fall, fish are on the move, so being mobile and covering water is key. Here are productive areas to target:

  • Main lake points and humps – ambush spots to intercept schools of shad and baitfish.
  • Creek channels and river mouths – natural funnels for baitfish migrating deeper.
  • Dying weedlines – concentrated food sources along the edges.
  • Rock piles – structure where baitfish hide.
  • Docks and piers – shady ambush spots for predators.

Watch for seagulls and other feeding birds diving over the water. This often indicates baitfish action below.

Productive Fall Fishing Techniques

Slow down retrievalsLethargic fish won’t chase fast-moving lures.
Downsize your offeringsMatch the smaller baitfish available.
Fish deeperUse crankbaits, jigs and spoons to reach bottom-hugging fish.
Try topwatersExplosive strikes to trigger reaction bites. Buzzbaits, poppers, walkers.
Switch to jerkbaitsExcellent for sluggish fish.
Keep movingCover water until you locate fish.
Use electronicsSide-scan sonar and down imaging reveal structure.

Top Fall Fishing Lures and Baits

  1. Crankbaits – imitate baitfish with a wide variety of sizes, running depths.
  2. Spinnerbaits and buzzbaits – flash and vibration to mimic shad.
  3. Jerkbaits – suspending hard baits trigger reaction strikes.
  4. Jigs – match the hatch by sizing down as water cools.
  5. Spoons – flash and fluttering action. Vertical jig or troll.
  6. Soft plastics – creature baits, craws, grubs match the forage.
  7. Topwaters – exploding strikes thrill anglers. Buzzbaits, poppers, walkers.

Fall Fishing Tips for Saltwater

The action doesn’t stop when fishing the salt in the fall. Here are effective tips to catch more fish inshore and offshore:

  • Target mangrove shorelines for snook, redfish and trout as the water cools. Fish move shallow.
  • Work docks targeting tarpon and barracuda before they migrate for winter. Slow-moving live baits work best.
  • Drift the flats and channels tossing soft plastics for laid-up redfish and other predators.
  • Head offshore for tuna, sailfish, wahoo and mahi as they feed in preparation for winter. Troll and drift live baits.
  • Inlets and passes hold baitfish so target with spoons, plugs and jigs for jacks, mackerel and bluefish.
  • Flounder get more active in fall. Bounce bucktail jigs along sandy bottom areas.
  • Look for diving birds working over baitfish to find feeding fish offshore.


Follow these proven fall fishing tips and techniques to fill your livewell with fat, healthy fish. The feeding frenzy won’t last long, so get out on the water and take advantage of this special time of year. Let us know how you do in the comments!

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Steve Momot

Steve Momot

Steve is an accomplished professional photographer and marketer who specializes in the Fishing, Yacht, and Boating industry. With a strong presence as an influencer and marketing expert in the Marine Industry, he has made a significant impact in the field. Additionally, Steve is the original creator and co-founder of Sportfishtrader. Prior to his career as a marine photographer, he gained extensive experience as a licensed boat and car dealer in South Florida.

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