Fall Bass Fishing
There is always a time in the summer where I start to realize that it is getting darker earlier. It is that time where we all start realize that those endless summer nights are going to eventually come to an end. Even with George W. Bushes crowning presidential achievement of extending day light savings for another week or two it still does come to an end…
No matter how late summer arrives the angle of the sun and length of days starts to shift at the same time each year and for bass species this is a HUGE natural signal that fall and winter are coming. It never arrives like a pack of white walkers, but more like a subtle shift that one must be attune to. Like most things in nature the subtle to us humans is usually an obvious flashing neon light to the more in tune animals and fish of this world. Bass, especially, realize that temps are going to start to drop, as the length of night is increases water temps began to drop as the world lives in darkness for longer each circle of the earth here in the northern hemisphere and the sun beats down on the water for a shorter amount of time.
This means they need to CHOW!!! Like a bear packing on weight for hibernation bass species strap on the feed bag during the late summer and fall to prepare for what usually is a thin winter. This is most prevalent in my experience with regards to largemouth and striped bass, cold water bass like spotted bass and smallmouth bass will go on a fall feeding binge but also eat well throughout the winter usually in our are of the world as our winters are fairly mild.
Most causal fly fishermen think of bass fishing as a spring and summer evening affair and ounce late august hit start thinking beads and salmon redds for BIG tailwater trout and steelhead. I have been there and done that many seasons, but as I have aged, the crowds that show up for fall steelhead/trout have become less and less my thing.
There is no more crowded rivers in Northern California than the Lower Sacramento, Feather, or Lower Yuba River in October and November. Every guide with a drift boat or angler with a set of waders congregates on these waters…yes there is a reason, the fishing can be silly good, but it can also be silly crowded. Most years I usually find myself sneaking out on a weekday evening to get in some licks on the steelhead of the feather river and trout of the lower yuba but the more I fish for bass species the less attractive this is.
Personally, I stuck my two largest stripers last year in September in about 35 minutes of each other sneaking out one afternoon…and no one was around. Furthermore, ounce the rains come and rivers blow out many anglers pack up their stuff and wait for spring. Last year I fished ALL winter when most rivers were at flood stage with my two boys, wife, and clients on Lake Oroville for spotted bass, Chuck fished Bullards Bar and Englebright and our buddies John Fochetti and Aaron Grabiel pounded spotted bass on Lake Shasta while many Redding Area guides were at home on the couch.
Maybe this year try something different…get your licks on the sac, yuba, feather, and even American but if you get an afternoon or an evening try a local pond, lake, or any of those tailwaters down lower for some fall stripers and bass.