Sunday, April 18, 2021

October Fishing

by Mike Howe
| October 15, 2020 12:00 AM

As we move deeper into autumn, with rapidly dropping water temperatures and much shorter

daylight hours, the evidence of our changing world surrounds us, quite visually in fact.

The changing colors of the hardwoods, the drying out of grasses, the leaves dropping and even our human wardrobe, as we add a layer most mornings. Evidence is everywhere that hard times

are coming to the northern climes.

Well, it isn’t much different in the fish’s world. Shorter days for sure, as the available sunlight diminishes. Inflow into lakes and some rising of streams as fall moisture gets more prevalent and a changing of the size of baitfish, as young of the year fish are preparing for their first


We as anglers need to adapt to these changes, as fishing like it is May or June will almost always leave us actionless, or at least disappointed in our successes.

For the lake angler, especially those chasing more predatory fish, shallow windswept areas can be a good choice as winds will concentrate bugs, which concentrate baitfish, which attract the big fish.

Northern pike, large and smallmouth bass, lake trout and walleye are all looking for the same bang for their buck. Find the shallower feeding area where insect life congregates either by choice or by nature and you have found your hot spots.

Larger, more predatory fish will often feed out in the open water, where the smaller fish will often go when pushed out of cover and then vice versa. Put that in your memory banks as that info will always help locate fish.

Edges of cover, especially if there is a bottom transition there, adjacent to deeper water will almost always provide in the fall, more so than any other time of year.

Most panfish, by nature, love to suspend out over deeper water, especially when sufficient cover is unavailable. Often when they do this though, they are in a holding pattern, not necessarily feeding. You will want to simulate prey escaping cover to try and turn a bite on again, which in a late morning situation after a good feed, will almost always bring a bite or two. You late arrivers should keep this in mind!

In a river or stream system, many areas hold fish, but is it a cover/holding situation or a feeding opportunity?

River fish are almost always looking for an ambush situation, food floats by, fish grabs food. Banks and edges where insects can fall into the water, concentrations of faster flowing water that tail into small pools and any back eddy will all focus food, giving these river fish easy access to fall nutrition. Target those areas.

Of course, hunting takes center stage over the next 60 days or so, and it is always a great idea to have a rod or two along, rigged and ready for any waters you may encounter. Some of my

most memorable days of chasing bugling bull elk involve moments of multiple last casts as the bulls were moving into position for their dusk adventures.

Our guides continue to fish the Flathead every day, scoring on incredibly tasty, shrimp-fed deep

water lake trout. If you like to smoke fish, these are the ones and a cooler full is the norm.

Our Gerrard rainbow trout trips will be gearing up as well as some great perch and pike fishing trips through the end of October.

If you need a good reason to get out there with us, I suggest you read this article again from the top!

We will see you on the water!

Howe is the owner/outfitter at Howe’s Fishing, A Able and Mo Fisch Charters. Call 406-257-5214 or at