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East Tennessee Outdoors… Fall Bass



Even though it is that time of year when many people turn their attention to hunting and hiking, a group of die-hard anglers know it is the perfect time to catch bass from our local lakes.

Fall can be a very productive time for fishing any of our lakes, and personally, it is my favorite time to fish because the bass are hungry and ready to fatten up before the colder months set in.

When the water temperature dips, something is triggered in our local bass that makes them leave the deeper water to the shallower hollows and flats. There they gorge themselves on shiners, bluegills and other bait fish.

If you are using the right technique and the right lure, you can take advantage of this fall feeding frenzy being conducted by the bass.

Here are a few things to remember about fishing for these bass.

– Check the water temperature, and when it dips below 70 degrees, look for the bass around wood structure or on rocky points. They have moved from the deeper water into water that is no more than 25 or 30 feet deep.

– Remember they have followed the baitfish into these areas, so you will not always catch fish in the same areas every time you go fishing. If the fish are not holding along downed timber or brush piles, then search for them suspended off these points and rocky embankments.

– Watch the water temperature closely, and when it drops to about 65 degrees or a little lower, expect to find the fish up in water that is 10 to 12 feet deep.

This may be up a creek channel or in the back of the coves. Still look for the structure, but now you are going shallower to find the fish. As it gets colder, try this shallow water, and wherever you find the baitfish, you will find the bass.

– Drawdown from summer power generation causes the flats to shrink in the backs of creeks during the fall, so try to key on whatever wood cover is left in the water.

– In our area Watauga Lake especially has no shortage of downed trees and stumps. Some of the best areas to fish are not even visible until this drawdown occurs.

– Weather always affects the movement of fall transition bass as wind and clouds tend to lure baitfish and bass to the shallows, while calm sunny conditions drive the fish back to standing timber along the channel drops.

– Start fishing shallow, but if you are not catching bass there, work your way out to deeper water and fish for suspended bass then.

– As I have said before in this column, the fish will feed more before a cold front. If you can endure the weather, you will catch fish.

– Fall is an important time for fishing on lake flats. Scattered bass can be found in the shallows of flats in early fall, but by the middle of autumn, large concentrations of bass move into these areas to feed on baitfish.

With the baitfish staying in these flats, there will be times you can catch bass in water five feet deep or less.

– By late fall the majority of bass have pulled out of the very shallow water and moved back to structure points. They will hold there through much of the winter, feeding on the schools of trout or other baitfish that swim within range of their structure points.

– They will move less and stay suspended more during this time because of the cold water. If you can find the structure and get your lure near, you will catch fish.

Fall is an exciting time to bass fish on any of our lakes in east Tennessee. Put the deer hunting equipment up for one day and give it a try.

You may get hooked!