The Northeast is just emerging from the summer doldrums with cooler temperatures and shorter days prompting fish and fishermen to get ready for fall. From Allegheny Bait and Tackle in Pittsburg, Matt DeMiehele said that fishing on the Allegheny River has been slow but anglers are starting to catch more smallmouth bass with tube worms or live shiners. Dave suggests fishing the shiners on a No. 6 or 4 hook and a splitshot or simply hooking them to a 1/8-ounce jighead and dropping the bait to the bottom. He says that the hottest color for the tube jigs has been green pumpkinseed. While the hot weather lasts, Matt says that the best smallmouth action has been in the deeper water below any of the area dams. The same areas will host the season’s first walleye and sauger. Matt says that the fish will fall for a chartreuse jig and grub tipped with a fat head. As the water levels in the river rise, Matt says that the fish will move to the creek mouths where anglers will catch the biggest walleye with Husky jerks. “Fishing should really start to turn on in the next couple of weeks,” he says.
All across the Southeast, cooler temps and higher water levels announced the start of fall and the beginning of the crappie run. Kenneth Pertillo at KC Bait and Tackle in Macon, Georgia reports that crappie fishing has really turned on under the Little Thomaston Bridge. Anglers who tie their boat off to the bridge and drop a shiner on a jig in 12 to 15 feet of water will catch limits of crappie. Most of the southern rivers and lakes will see an abundance of crappies in deep water and around structure. The key is to find the fish on the fishfinder, then anchor as close to the structure as possible. You’ll want to take plenty of bait, because once the bite starts, you will never forgive yourself if you run out. Kenneth suggests fishing early in the morning or just before dark for the best chance at catching a mess of crappies.
Following hurricanes Ike and Gustav, the FLW redfish tour is blowing through Venice, Louisiana this week. As the water calms and the weather clears, anglers are finding some great redfishing at the edge of the Mississippi Delta. Local redfish guru Captain Ryan Lambert at Cajun Fishing Adventures (www.cajunfishingadventures.com) brags that catching limits of reds has been easy. “We were finished fishing by 9 this morning,” he says. According to Ryan, the fattest reds will move toward the edge of the Gulf as the water rises. Ryan was amped that the spotted seatrout have started to move into their fall pattern. He is already finding the fish are swarming over the local oyster reefs in the back bays. He’ll start targeting reds and trout with fly gear this week. To fool the fish, Ryan suggests using an 8 wt fly rod and a crab or shrimp pattern. “When the water is warm, use a crab pattern, then switch to the shrimp when the water gets cooler.” Ryan tells us that teal season has opened and he’ll be hunting birds each morning and fishing for trout and reds in the afternoon. “You can’t beat that,” he says.
On the other side of the country, the FLW Walleye Tour is holding its championship in Bismarck, North Dakota this week. We called Wade Anderson at Dakota Tackle to get the latest report on the walleye action. He told us that the best fishing has been at Beaver Bay on the Missouri River, 50 miles south of Bismarck. The FLW crew has descended on the area where they are drifting down the river while bouncing jigs and Canadian spinners. Wade says that most anglers will be using worms, but the walleye have recently started to key in on minnows. He says that the fish will be hiding behind sandbars, holes, and levees. To catch the biggest walleye, Wade suggests throwing crank baits to cover the most water and locate the schools of fish, then anchoring up and jigging with live baits. Walleye anglers don’t need a fancy boat or expensive equipment to catch enough fish for dinner. Wade says that there has been a good run of fish close to the shore at Kimbell Bottoms south of Mary College. He suggests shore-based fishermen use a Carolina rig with a no-roll sinker and a floating jig tipped with a worm, minnow, or leech to get in on the walleye action. He expects anglers to experience world class walleye fishing into the late fall.
After reading Earnest Hemingway this week, I couldn’t help but wonder what’s biting on Papa’s old stomping grounds. So we called Blake Schnebly at Lost River Outfitters (www.lostriveroutfitters.com) for the report from Ketchum, Idaho. Blake told us that the Big Wood, Big Lost, and Silver Creek have been producing good numbers of fat trout. He said that he has been fishing red quills on the Big Wood in size 10 or 12 and catching healthy rainbows. On Silver Creek, rainbows and browns are responding to fall baetis in sizes 16 to 24. “The fish are biting best anytime there is cloud cover or late in the afternoon and early in the morning,” he said. On the Big Lost River, Blake is throwing stoneflies, crane flies, and tricos. To fish Silver Creek, Blake suggests parking at the Nature Conservancy Preserve and walking to any of the access points. He said that he Big Wood can be reached between Ketchum and Hailey while the Big Lost is best fished from the town of Mackay. Blake pointed out that this is a great time to fish, “There aren’t as many fishermen,” he said, “but there are just as many fish.” We’re sure Papa would be right there with them.—Ric Burnley