Fall Fishing Tips and Destinations
Although many anglers plan their fishing vacations during the spring and summer, fall fishing can be some of the best of the year. The water temperatures have cooled, and your favorite game fish are packing on weight to prepare for the cold winter months ahead. There is plenty of exciting fishing to be had every autumn if you know where to look for it.
After a summer of fishing fun, you may not be ready to pack up your fishing gear just yet. So, why not plan one last fishing trip this fall? There are tons of great fishing spots across the country, depending on what type of fish you have a taste for. Here are a few fishing destinations you may want to check out this fall, as well as some fall fishing tips that will help you get a good bite.
5 of the Best Fall Fishing Trip Destinations in the U.S.
Spring fishing gets all the hype. After all, that’s when the fish are especially active, spawning after winter’s chill. But if you want to explore deserted locales and reel in some fat fish, autumn may turn out to be your favorite fishing season. Not sure where to go? Here are five destinations in the U.S. you should check out this fall:
- Montauk, NY: Early fall in Montauk is not only beautiful — as you enjoy cooling temperatures along the New England coastline — but it’s also an excellent opportunity to catch some New England stripers. These fish migrate south every fall, and by September, they pass right by Long Island’s eastern end. Imagine an early morning blitz, which causes the salt water to boil with hungry stripers.
- The Chesapeake Bay, MD: The Chesapeake Bay is one of the top fishing destinations in the U.S., no matter what time of year. However, the fall may be one of the most pivotal seasons for striped bass. They move about freely throughout this area, feeding and preparing for their spring spawning season. Set up along the beautiful shoreline and reap your rewards.
- Gatlinburg, TN: Fall stands for trout fishing in Gatlinburg. This region, which sits right on the edge of beautiful national parks and the famed Smokey Mountains, has more than 900 miles of rivers and streams. Plus, if you’re willing to travel to other nearby lakes and reservoirs, you can take in some smallmouth bass, walleyes, crappie and more.
- Colorado: It’s hard to choose just one location in Colorado for excellent fall fishing. From the national parks to the reservoirs, rivers and streams, there are tons of fishing goldmines throughout the state, especially for bass, rainbow trout and walleye. If you need a place to start, be sure to check out the Upper Colorado River, Rocky Mountain National Park and Chatfield Reservoir.
- Lake Michigan: As the third largest of the Great Lakes, Lake Michigan actually borders five states. For the purposes of our list, we encourage you to check out the fishing scene in Michigan and Wisconsin. Stay along the shoreline to catch some migrating salmon or head a bit inland to enjoy the fall salmon run in the nearby rivers and streams.
Tips for Fishing in the Fall
Even if you’re an experienced angler in the spring and summer, fall fishing has its own distinct personality. If you’ve never enjoyed the thrill of fishing amid the changing leaves of autumn, here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Wade vs. Float Fishing: Many of the locations we’ve pointed out have ample opportunities for those who enjoy both wade and float fishing — that is, actually getting in the water versus sitting in your boat. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, but ask the locals wherever you go, which they feel is better for this environment.
- Fall Fish Are Hungry: Fish are hungry all year, but in the fall, they’re thinking more about eating and less of spawning as they do in the spring. Use this fact to your advantage, and you’re sure to bring in a large haul.
- Know Where the Fish Are: Fishing requires that you move where the fish are. Although it’s not a hard and fast rule, cooler water temperatures send fish into the shallower water, where they’ll find the insects and baitfish to help them bulk up for winter. However, you’ll sometimes see them farther out in open water. Look for baitfish skimming along the top of the water or birds circling and diving in search for their next meal.
- Choose Your Bait Wisely: It goes without saying but depending on what you’re catching, you should choose your bait accordingly. However, the bait you use in the spring may not work as well in the fall. Many fish prefer larger, slower-moving bait that mimics the movements of their favorite autumnal snacks.
- Understand Local and State Regulations: Each state and even specific locales have their own fishing regulations. Be sure you understand them before you pack your tackle box. This includes the need for any licenses, catch and release laws, the type of bait you can use and more.
Make KOA a Part of Your Fall Fishing Experience
No matter where you decide to go this fall for your fishing expedition, there’s bound to be a KOA nearby. With more than 500 locations in North America alone, we provide outdoor lovers with a comfortable home base for any adventure they’ve got planned. From Tent Sites to Camping Cabins, you’re sure to find a camping experience you’ll love. Make your reservation at a KOA campground today.