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Fall River Smallmouth Strategies

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Fall River Smallmouth Strategies

Fall River Smallmouth Strategies

By Scott King, Blue Ribbon Pro-Staff


As our water temperatures continue to cool, opportunities increase to capitalize on aggressive smallmouth bass.  They’re easier to catch for awhile right now folks, so follow these tips until you put the boat away for winter.


Early to Mid-Fall

Fish will be shallow when the water temperature is in the low 60s. You can fish the banks if there’s something unique to it.  Riprap is good, as is any change from rock to sand.  I stay away from uniform looking banks.  Points off the bank are the best piece of structure.  Fish are often on the shallow portions of these points right now.   Connect with them by throwing topwater baits in the lower light hours, or if it's calm and overcast.  Rapala Skitter Walks are awesome walk the dog baits for these conditions.  During the daylight hours, fish may be a bit deeper around shad schools, and jerkbaits like the Rapala X-Rap work well. Smaller swimbaits on jigheads can really produce, too.  Try the Top Water Tackle swimbaits found at Blue Ribbon.  

Mid to Late-Fall

Smallmouths and their forage will be well off the banks again (like they were in the heat of the summer), relating to the bigger points in the rivers.  Use the areas where the points break into the deeper water. When bass are chasing shad, the topwater baits can still work into the low 50-degree water.  However, the swimbaits fished slower (often ticking the bottom on the retrieve) and jig/plastic combos often produce the most fish.  White and silver colors that mimic shad will get the most grabs.  The Rapala X-Rap produces into the latest weeks of the season, but longer pauses are often necessary.  Think slower and lower in the water column, as the temperature dips.  Live minnows can be the key at this time of year, too.  Dragging them on the rocky spots of these points is dynamite.  The crew at Blue Ribbon will hook you up with the live meat you need.


Keeping it simple on the rivers with these strategies will produce good catches for you this fall.  I look forward to it each year, and you certainly don’t contend with as much fishing pressure or recreational traffic on the water.  Good luck out there.  

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About the Author: Scott King, Blue Ribbon Bait Pro-Staff

Scott enjoys fishing in northern Wisconsin, Mille Lacs, the St. Croix, and various other metro waters. He has fished for trophy bass (both largemouth and smallmouth) for the past decade, participating in several bass tournament circuits from 2001−2006. He’s also fished muskies for nearly 30 years.

Ice fishing four or five days a week for crappies and walleyes on the St. Croix has given Scott his winter fix since 1998.

Another of Scott’s specialties within fishing is youth education. He relates well with kids, and has helped with several kids tournaments and derbies with the Cub Scouts.

Scott also enjoys writing, and has a few fishing-related articles under his belt, which include publications in Fish and Game Finder Magazine and Musky Hunter.

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