By: Jordan Truttschel
As fall fast approaches there’s been only one thing on my mind more than Brewers post-season baseball and the Green Bay Packers, and that’s the Fall Turnover period. Fall fishing, as mentioned in my last blog entry, can be a time of unbelievable success. But, it can also become a time of very tough conditions, because fish may become scattered and very hard to pattern due to turnover. It’s a time of fast paced, water-covering fishing in search of hungry fish in various types of cover and water.
Many times in fall tournaments, it’s the person who puts the most baits in front of the most fish who comes out on top! It’s also the return of peaceful fishing since fall marks a significant reduction in boat traffic, which can become a great help in tough fishing conditions.
The properties of water are pretty amazing. The ability to change from a liquid to a solid without freezing from bottom up is a fisherman’s best friend. When water gets colder it gets more dense, which makes it heavier. But, as it changes from a liquid to a solid state, it expands and floats to cap the lake and trap heat inside. Fun Fact: during winter the temperature never will get colder than 39.2˚ Fahrenheit beneath the ice! This is because the water at the 39.2˚ mark begins to expand and float above the water beneath it, eventually adding to the ice cap on the lake stopping any further energy loss from the lake.
Water also has the ability to stratify. In fisherman’s terms, this is the ability to create layers within itself, like the Earth’s atmosphere. There are horizontal sections within a lake that are created by the differing water temperatures. The warmer chunk is on the top, cooler on the bottom and the thermocline is located in-between the two of them. This middle section is by far the smallest range, but is one of the most important areas for fishing because it attracts fish (Blog topic: Understanding Thermocline, coming soon!)Fall Turnover
Beginning mid-summer water temperatures are reaching surface peaks since it’s absorbing the maximum amounts of energy from the sun. Once the stratification is completed and the thermocline effectively creates a barrier of mixture, the deeper waters begin to get depleted of the oxygen base towards the end of the season. At this point grasses start to die, fish begin to suspend due to lowering oxygen levels and the dropping of temperatures commence. Now, once the fall turnover process initiates, the thermocline starts to disappear because of the churning effects of the convection currents.
There are several ways to know that turnover has begun:
Where to Fish and How to Catch Them
- Murky/stained water
- Lake has a distinct bad smell
- Fish tend to shut down feeding activity
- After, fish scatter to different areas and become tough to pattern
- Thermocline disappears
The first place to find fish during fall turnover periods is the shallows. Shallow water warms more easily which holds oxygen better. In turn, baitfish move into these areas who are followed closely by their predators. Also, shallow, wind-blown points are useful places to start because the waves oxygenate the surface water in shallower water better than in deeper areas.
Another rule of thumb during fall turnover is to follow the pan fishermen. At that time of year they tend to move towards shallow flats that the fish have moved up on, and the bass with follow them for feeding purposes. Flats that have 2-5 FOW (feet of water) that drop into 6-10 FOW further off the bank, are great in fall. Other key areas include outside edges of weed beds, river mouths and areas of current that keep the conditions relatively constant throughout the year.
Some of the most productive baits at this time of year are shad imitators such as crank baits and spinnerbaits. Whites, silvers and golds are the colors of choice for the waters I fish in WI. These are the primary colors for shad and other baitfish, but you really have to do your research and know what types of baitfish are in your waters. Topwater is definitely a great choice, as well! I prefer black buzz baits, Heddon Super Spooks and Spro Bronzeye 65 or Bronzeye Poppin’ frogs. I also prefer the 65 over the 60 in fall because the bigger profile matches that of the frogs at this time of year. Again, Match the Hatch!
Finally, if that doesn’t produce, jigs and craw tailors or Texas rigged baits work well if worked very slowly. Crawfish at this time of year begin to move slower so bass will not expect them to be rocketing across the bottom as they do from time to time in summer. As you can see, those three different types of baits cover the three sections of the water column. Being able to determine whether they are looking shallow, deep or in-between can help you key in on your pattern.
On your next adventure out to the lake be sure to keep these things in mind. Don’t be afraid to cover a lot of and different types of water, whether it is depth or structure, to find a successful pattern. Have confidence in whatever it is you’re throwing. When fishing is tough, pick up that one stick you’ve been catching fish on all year. In tough conditions throw what you’ve got faith in!
Good luck and go stick ‘um!
We have recently expanded the BMGOutdoors Team to include fishing strategies from local experts. This weeks blog is courtesy of Nick Berndt of Grafton, WI. Nick, is a close friend and a fellow graduate from the University of Stevens Point where he studied Fisheries. Since his graduation in 2009, Nick was able to travel west where he worked for The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources as a Native Fisheries Technician as well as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a Biological Science Aid expanding his knowledge of the fishing world. I've never met somebody with the same passion for fishing that Nick has. Welcome to the team Nick and we look forward to hearing more from you soon!
Autumn Giants in the Night:
Fall in Wisconsin means two things for me when I go fishing. I go shallow and stay late.....really late. For this is a magical time of year when big fish stalk the nighttime shallows and for those who are willing to stick it out, may just find the best big fish opportunities of the year.
Fishing in the snow
Most fisherman call it quits when the sun sets and the cold autumn wind is blowing all night but this is when I'm just heading out. Night fishing in the cold weather of autumn is one of the most overlooked fishing tactics in the Midwest. And it's not just stereotypical walleye that are active; crappie, musky, catfish, and bass are all on the prowl, and I've even caught giant northern pike and bluegill (fish that typically don't feed at night) at night when the moon is full. Strange stuff, but it all makes sense when you look at bait fish movement. Bait fish start schooling in the shallows the first few weeks of September and stay there until a few weeks before ice up. Sure you can catch fish in the daytime, but predators use the cover of darkness to thrash their unsuspecting prey into confusion. Then they use the heating of the day to rest so their cold blooded bodies can digest their night time meals.
Nick with a Dandy Walleye!
This kind of fishing is simple and works on lakes or rivers. Ideally, you want to fish (most times I'm wading from shore) in an area with a shallow hard bottomed shelf (1-4ft. deep), with a drop off or a river channel near by. Predators transition from the deeper water in the day and then herd bait fish in the shallows at night. Cover is not a factor because these fish aren't relating to cover like they do in the day time, their on the move cruising for prey. The best bottom is clean sand or rock with a light matting of vegetation.
The ideal rig I've found if there is walleye and crappie in the area is to rig a 1/16 or 1/8 ounce (as light a jig as depth and wind will allow) jig head on a crappie tube body with 6lb test, then tip with a crappie minnow or medium shiner. The reasoning for the tube is to give the lure a larger profile, while keeping the minnow smaller. Minnows are expensive! Simply cast as far as you can, then retrieve slowly with you rod tip high, giving it a little shake and fall every now and then. This takes the most of my fish. I've also had great success with larger soft plastics in the 3-5 inch range with no tipped minnow. If I'm targeting big walleyes or musky, I change my approach. Large shallow running crank baits are the ticket (4-8 in. for walleye) (8-12in for musky), blade baits, or anything that runs shallow and puts out some good vibration in the water to help a fish locate your lure, and separate it out from all the other bait in the water.
I know it seems odd to think that any fish could be active in that cold dark water on a blustery autumn night, but they are there, and they are hungry. So please give night fishing a try. You don't need a boat, expensive gear, electronics, or any of that other fancy stuff promoters are trying to sell these days. You'll most likely have the lake to yourself and may surprise yourself with the fish of a lifetime. I know I have! Oh, and if you happen to see a guy riding his bike at 1:30am with a minnow bucket strapped to his back, and a fist full of rods with only one hand on the handlebars, say hi! It's me!
AND PLEASE INTRODUCE SOMEONE NEW TO THE OUTDOORS! SPORTSMAN CONTRIBUTE MORE MONEY TO FISH AND WILDLIFE PRESERVATION THEN ANY OTHER GROUP! THE FUTURE OF FISHING AND HUNTING DEPENDS ON IT!
The rut is fast approaching and the deer activity is up especially with the cooler temps we’ve been experiencing. Over the last couple weeks I've kept my hunting to a minimum and decided to spend some quality time with the fiancé. You have to remember the important things in life like family and friends. This time of year is sort of a tough time for me. It seems every time I’m in the woods I’m thinking about my fiancé and every time I’m at home I’m thinking about being in the woods! Balance is key; but you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be spending more time in the stand over the next month!
One of the bigger rubs from this public land pig!
This morning was first time in a week I went out. I decided to try my luck on some public land around the area, and boy was I happy with what I saw. I’ve never been so excited about a stand, especially since I haven’t seen a deer out of it in the three times I’ve hunted there!!! The sign is incredible. After letting it rest for a week I was happy to notice 15 new rubs, and 4 fresh scrapes on my 150 yard walk from the stand to the car and I wasn’t looking too hard. Half of these rubs were on trees in the 6-10 inch diameter range. Needless to say I have a feeling there is a big boy calling this area home. The exciting part of hunting public land is that I have no idea what is out here. I don’t set trail cameras on public land in fear of them growing legs and walking away, and I discovered this spot only a month ago. I’m learning on the fly. I need to dedicate a morning to walking around the area to find another stand site however my work schedule is tough to work around.
The plan for the weekend is to head out to my fiancé’s hometown for a wedding which means I’ll get an opportunity to hunt a stand I hung last weekend. I put my trail camera out there and am excited to get a peek as to what’s been checking the fresh scrape I hung it near! After that it’s going to be a week of getting up early trying to catch a glimpse of the public land pig!
Happy hunting everyone from BMGOutdoors >----->
A nice annual rub line
Fall Fishing = Deep water, right? Wrong. A common fall fishing myth is that you have to bring out the DD22s, Go2 20+ and DT20s. Don’t get me wrong, there are still fish that’ll be schooled up on offshore structures and drops, but the most aggressive and hungry fish will be in less than four feet of water.
As the water begins to cool down from the chilly autumn nights, bass begin their journey back into shallow cover and flats are filled with baitfish. Along with cooler water helping fish to become less lethargic, bass become much more active because of higher oxygen levels in the water.
There are four important things to keep in mind when you hit the water for fall fishing:
- The metabolism of a largemouth will speed up causing them to eat more and more often!
- Follow Mike Iaconelli’s advice and match the hatch. Bass relate to the natural forage that are held in that body of water, and with that in mind you should be relating that information to the types of lures that should be thrown. Size, color and retrieve speed should be the main factors to look at.
- Keep in mind the importance of areas of deep water that are close to shallow water. Bass consider these to be comfort zones and they can migrate to and from depths that the air temperature affects in a positive or negative manner. Deep water holds stable water and shallow water is less stable because it can heat up or cool down faster. Fish will move into deeper water when cold/warm fronts move in.
- Areas where aquatic plants are available are great due to the fact they hold baitfish, block the sun (fish do not have eyelids so sunlight can be a factor) and help create ambush points.
Here are some of my favorite fall techniques and lures: Topwater
- Some of the biggest fall bass come off of topwater bites - try larger hooks for more hookupsLures:
Heddon Spooks, Rage Shad, Zoom Horney Toad OR Mann’s Swim Toad, Buzzbaits and Rapala Skitterwalk Spinnerbaits
- Slow-rolling them or running right below the surface to look like a breaking shad
- Try running them without a plastic trailer to create a smaller profile on tough bite daysLures:
shad colors with large willow blades is best Crankbaits
- Shallow, square billed crankbaits around schooling shad and cover
- Cranking deep divers on sharp drops with lay downs or other coverLipless Crankbaits
-Great for cold front daysLures:
Red Eye Shad, Super Spots and Rat-L-Traps
Try some of these lures and techniques based on the four concepts above to increase your fish-catching ability and success on the water! Oh, and don’t forget to mark all your fall catches on Fishidy.com
. It’ll serve you well next fall when you need to remember what you used, where you were and what you caught.
The last two weeks of bowhunting here in Wisconsin has been warm and with that the deer movement has been slower than usual. I have gotten out about 10 times hunting and filming. September 26th was a good day of hunting for Pat and I. When we got in our stand deer started to come out in the field. We decided that it would be a good day to shoot a doe or two if the opportunity would present itself. During the hunt we saw two nice ten points that put on a little show for us sparring. as the night went on a mature doe walked by I told Pat I was on her and he made a great shot. About 20 min later another doe came in and same result. I went out a few other time with not much luck. On October 3rd I went out after work and I was going to shoot a doe myself if I could get the shot on film. No such luck, I had a doe come out but I couldn't get her on the camera and get a shot. As the night went on I had 6 little bucks sparring and wheezing at each other with 50 yards. One of the neatest things I have seen.
Last night (October 7th) I went out with Pat and we were in doe mode once again due to the warm weather we figured that the bucks would not be moving until after dark, So I got to be the hunter and after sitting for about 2 hrs we had a few small bucks and fawns come out and about quarter after 6 a mature doe came out and stepped in to my shooting lane and Pat said he was on her and I made a good shot, With that my first deer of the 2011 archery season is down. This is the time of the year Pat and I like to harvest does before the rut. In a week or two we shift strictly to Bucks only. Once the rut winds down and gun season comes and goes we go back to doe mode just to manage the population and make the deer herd healthier with less mouths feeding on the available resources. for me thats the last two weeks in a nut shell, check back in to see the next update.
Duck and Goose Hunting
Since the early season of goose has concluded I have not gotten out to much, with deer hunting under way. I was able to get out with Jason, Mark and Ben a couple of weeks ago. We had got permission for a good field and saw a lot of geese. They didn't work like we thought but we still managed to get 7 geese, with that BMG is now at 65 geese for the year.
Duck hunting is one thing that I like to do on opening weekend maybe get a few wood ducks, but duck hunting is not one of my strong hunting interests but its a nice change when bow hunting is not going well. I like to take my mind off of deer and hang out with friends have a good time and shoot some ducks. Opening weekend was slow for Brandon and I , we managed to get two wood ducks but had multiple opportunities that we missed but it was still nice to get out. With the warm temps here I like to get out and walk or float the river with a canoe and get the ducks moving, that's one way to get numerous shooting opportunities.
Fall turkey hunting doesn't get as much hype as the spring season, its one thing that I like to get a tag and if I get a shot bow hunting for deer ill take it. A couple weeks back Brandon and I went to move one of my stands, so I took my bow because I have seen turkeys on a regular basis there. As we walked towards the woods I was starting to think that they weren't there, as we rounded the corner of the corn field I spotted a hen sunning her self on the edge of the woods. With the corn still standing I thought I could walk in the first row of the corn to within 30 yards and get a shot. After about 10 minutes of crawling through the corn I got where I wanted and got a shot. That was only my second turkey with a bow and got it all on film. A 12lb, 8 inch bearded hen. I couldn't have been more happy.
Information is still coming in but this could potentially be the new typical Wisconsin state record archery kill. Jeff Weber of Johnsburg WI arrowed this dandy on Wednesday night near Pipe, WI. The cool thing about this deer is that Pipe, is a mere 3 minute drive from our Team Member Jason Lisowe's land!! Some of the preliminary measurments include an inside spread of 22 3/8" with 15 scoreable points. The deer could go 200" which would break the current state record of 187 3/8". I think with deductions it will wind up just short but only time will tell. Congrats Jeff on a once in a lifetime buck!
The great part of this story is that Jeff, a long time gun hunter just picked up bowhunting in August.
BMGOutdoors would like to welcome our newest Team Member Jordan Truttschel. Here's a little blog he wrote up that tells more about his background. Jordan also publishes his blogs on Fishidy
so be sure to check him out there as well! Enjoy!
Hello blog readers! My name is Jordan Truttschel, I hail from the small town of Kiel, Wisconsin, population just shy of 4k.
I graduated in May 2011 from UW-Whitewater with a degree in finance and an emphasis in financial planning. I fished on the UWW fishing team and did so with some success. I have competed at the Regional Championship level twice, and the National Championship this past spring where my partner and I finished 16th.
I grew up fishing walleye and panfish, but got hooked when I “accidentally” started picking up these mean, green, fightin’ machines known as largemouth bass. My grandpa and I would go out fishing for gills until the other one would secretly cast out a worm and pull in a largemouth.
Here’s a little more about me:
- My favorite species to catch has to be smallmouth bass because the incredible fight they put up every time I get one on the line, big or small!
- My favorite techniques are swimming a jig, throwing a frog, and working a jerkbait.
- My favorite lake, probably because Tyler Netzer (my tournament partner) and I have done well there, is Lake of the Ozarks. It has BIG fish, tons of action, and it is completely different than most lakes around the Mid-West. Plus, I can crush ‘um on a Megabass jerkbait from sunup to sundown!
I’ll be contributing to the Fishidy blog as much as I can. Why? Well, because I’ve got a whole lot to say about fishing. It’s my life, it’s my passion and I like sharing it with my buddies!
Now, let’s talk a little bit more about college fishing.
That’s right, I said FISHING IN COLLEGE!
You can now go into a four-year degree program and become a collegiate fisherman. Now, obviously your degree program does not contain Largemouth 101 or The Art of Swimmin’ a Jig 244, but you sure learn the science of fishing much faster than ever before once you compete in the college ranks.
The FLW College Fishing Tour
was started back in 2009 and was sponsored by the National Guard. This small college series, divided into five regions, has exploded onto the national scene in a matter of months, and had 500 colleges and universities competing this year alone! I don’t think this sport is done growing either, especially with the amounts of winnings on the line for the school and the bass clubs. First place at any of the four qualifiers is $10,000 dollars, regionals is $25,000 and a Ranger
boat valued at $25,000, and winning the National Championship yields $75,000 and a Ranger boat valued at $25,000.
Ranger Boats with 250hp Mercury
engines are provided at the championship levels that the anglers operate themselves. This gives them the experience of being a professional fisherman for four days. The championships air on Versus, which means college anglers get to do TV and radio interviews, recorded weigh-ins, and have stories written about them. The best part, the series is absolutely free to compete in! Entry is free for all tournaments, expense checks are provided for driving mileage and it’s really easy to join. Collegefishing.com
has all the information you need to start up your own club at the college/university you’re attending.
The FLW College Fishing Series is a great way to network and meet other college and professional anglers. Most of the tournaments run alongside the Everstart series and weigh-ins are done in conjunction with each other. The pros are always willing to talk with the college anglers and share their knowledge and experiences about the sport.
The competitive nature between the different college teams is what keeps anglers coming back for more. Many rivalries have been born, friendships created and memories made. Nothing feels better than bringing in a good bag of fish to the weigh-ins and seeing your name on the leader board. Plus, this is as close to being a Professional Fisherman as you can get!**By the way, I’m fishing the Central Regional Championship right now! Watch the weigh-in live today at 4pm at http://www.collegefishing.com/ (we’re the 3rd boat so should be pretty early on in the weigh-in).
Are you one of those bow hunters that doesn’t hunt much in October because you think deer movement ceases until the rut picks up? I sure hope not! October can be a frustrating month or a very successful month for bow hunters depending on how it's attacked. Here are some things that I like to do to make October and the rut a more productive experience.
Fresh Public Land Scrape
Hunt near Acorns
Many of us spend the first few weeks of the season hunting over or near food sources such as soybeans, corn or food plots. This can be a successful tactic in the early season as the deer are patternable and find those foods attractive. As the calendar turns to October I shift my focus to ridge tops or oak flats loaded with acorns. The deer may still be making there way to the big fields to feed on the food plots and agriculture crops; however given a choice between traveling a great distance between bedding/security and feeding areas, or simply hanging out in a secure area with all the food you could eat, there's little reason for the deer to put themselves in potential danger by going elsewhere for food. The acorn is low in protein content, but very high in fats and carbohydrates. They are easily digestible, their nutrients are readily absorbed, and they are processed and passed through the body quickly. The deer use these magical nuts to pack on the weight prior to the rut and winter.
Scout, Scout, Scout
Many deer hunters think that every free second they have needs to be spent in the stand hunting. I too catch myself doing this year after year. Just last season I hunted a spot I thought was a hot spot during the rut on a yearly basis. It wasn’t until after the season ended when I was assessing the property I noticed all the sign shifted 100 yards to the south. It might not seem like a great distance but it’s so thick I couldn’t hear or see any of the action I was missing.
You scouted all summer and patterned the deer down right? Guess what, more times than not the deer have shifted their patterns since those summer or early season scouting trips. To keep up on the top areas for sign, freshest scrapes, rubs and trails you need to devote a couple scheduled hunting trips during October to scouting your property. Move your set-ups to where the deer are, don't wait for the deer to come to you! Most Importantly don’t forget to bring your bow on these scouting missions as you never know what you may sneak up on!
Wisconsin has a new deer czar: Dr. James Kroll aka Dr. Deer. In an article recently released by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Paul Smith, states how Dr. Kroll was hired by Governor Scott Walker to better manage the Wisconsin deer herd, something that’s been a hot topic for as long as I’ve been hunting. He will be receiving a salary of $125,000. Dr. Kroll is a very knowledgeable person when it comes to managing white-tailed deer. I think that a fresh set of eyes will be key to successfully managing the current deer heard.
Ever since I can remember the Wisconsin DNR has taken a lot of heat for not doing their job; mainly because their job, as mandated by state law, is to manage the herds to goal. They failed by letting the herd get as large as it got. Then, when they got within a sniff of actually getting herds to goal, everyone screamed because they finally realized what 35 deer per square mile really is, not a deer under every tree.
I hope the new “deer czar” will help the Wisconsin deer population become a healthier heard. However no matter what Dr. Kroll or the DNR do or don’t do in the future, hunters will always point fingers at the DNR for their inability to harvest a deer. Did you ever think that it could be the lack of skill, time and effort you put in as a hunter that limits your success?
I’d love to here what you think. Leave a comment, or let us know on our Facebook page
Here’s a link to the original article: http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/sports/130983078.html