Bass fishing during the fall transition

Jayce Kadoun, Staff Reporter

With the fall season in full effect, any anglers looking to target largemouth bass will begin to notice fish habits changing as the temperature drops and will need to adjust their fishing styles accordingly.

There are a variety of tactics for effectively catching bass this time of year. Under the right conditions, fall fishing can yield some of the best results all year.

Austin Redding, a senior majoring in business and marketing, has been fishing around Ellensburg since the first day he arrived for freshman year.

“Fall can be a great time of year to go fishing, especially if you are trying to catch a big one. [Bass] have been out deep all summer and it’s time for them to start feeding and getting fat for the winter,” Redding said.
Redding said the great part about fall fishing is the water isn’t as hot as it is during the summer months. When the water starts to cool off, the fish start to get more active and it becomes a lot easier to catch them.
“There is one bait in general that I love to throw in the fall that I never throw in the summer months and that’s a big swimbait,” Redding said. “Like I said before, in the fall, the fish get active again because the water is cooling off and they need to fatten up before the winter. A big six inch or bigger swimbait is just the meal that the fish are looking for.”
Swimbaits typically come in hard and soft plastic versions that resemble the type of forage fish bass like to eat. Redding said the best places to fish these types of lures changes with the season.
“In my past experience, the best areas to target these fish are going to be mainly up shallow or right off the drops. When the water cools down, the bass should start moving out of their deep summer spots and work their way up shallow and then back down deep when the winter months come along,” Redding said.
Local bass angler Matt Kinne said some of the best places to fish in eastern Washington during the fall are within an hour drive of Ellensburg, and some are just outside city limits.
“Moses Lake and Potholes Reservoir are some of the best lakes around, but if I don’t feel like driving all the way over there, I throw my jon boat in the back of the truck and head to the ponds out Canyon Road. The fishing there can be just as good especially this time of year,” Kinne said.
Kinne’s favorite lures to throw this time of year include spinnerbaits, jigs and topwater baits. He said the spinning blades on the spinnerbait trick bass into thinking it’s a smaller fish and the jig presentation mimics a crawdad on the bottom.
“These fish are aggressive and hungry right now. Even though I have some staple baits that I like to throw, I experiment with different stuff when I’m out on the water to see what they’re hungry for,” Kinne said.
Alumnus Karsen Rogers who continues to travel east every fall to fish the lakes and ponds he did while still in college. Compared to lakes in western Washington, he said he prefers to fish bodies of water around Kittitas County.
“Some of my most productive days of fishing have been in September and October and I always make a trip [to Ellensburg] during those months. The fishing is usually off the hook,” Rogers said.
According to Rogers, now is the best time to fish if you’re just getting into the sport. He said the aggressive nature of the fish will allow for novice anglers to capitalize on more bites no matter what their skill level is.