Utah Stories

Fall Fishing is the Best—Now is the Time to Enjoy a Quiet Day on the Water

Get hooked on fall fishing.


Many anglers fish during the spring and summer months, and some even ice fish during winter, so avoid the crowds and enjoy fishing in the fall.

Because they are cold blooded, most fish ramp up their feeding as the waters warm in the spring. But unfortunately, that is also when most species spawn, and are often found “lock-jawed” in schools in relatively small areas. The problem then is that individuals participating in an orgy are not necessarily as interested in food, often making those spring and early summer spawners more difficult to catch.

Due to the cold fall temperatures, many of the more difficult fish to catch are much easier to catch. For example, many Utahns consider walleye to be uncatchable, and only pursue them in the spring when they are more difficult to catch. Fishing walleye waters like Utah Lake, Willard Bay, and Starvation, can be truly memorable when fish are willing to take virtually any lure or bait, even in the middle of a fall day.

Female walleye and other spring spawning fish are more aggressive in the fall as they attempt to fatten up before the temps drop and their feeding slows. Fishing for trout in our many local reservoirs really improves in the fall, day or night. As the water cools in the fall, most fish move to shallower water, making them easier to reach and catch.

One approach I really like is to fish on a calm night with whole night crawlers suspended only a couple of feet beneath a lighted float.

Some of my buddies and I like to build a small fire (if allowed), cook hotdogs and tell stories while we wait for our lights to disappear under the water, signaling a take.

Panfish like bluegill, yellow perch, black crappie, and white bass can be caught in huge numbers if their schools can be located. Most bass anglers practice catch-and-release, and both small and largemouth bass can be readily caught and released near structures in the fall, even on a fly rod.

My pheasant hunting buddy and I “double-up” by hunting in the morning and fishing for white bass, walleye, and channel catfish later in the day. We have caught awesome stringers of fish after striking out on birds. So even if you are heading out to hunt, you might as well throw your fishing tackle in the vehicle, too.

You never know when you might stumble upon a truly awesome opportunity to harvest some good tasting fish to fry over the evening fire or to fill the freezer.


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