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Written by Dean Rojas   
Friday, 04 March 2011 16:50

It's all in the little things. That's my best tip.

Fall can be one of the best times of the year to fish the Colorado River and other river-run reservoirs throughout the country. Bass tend to group up and feed quite aggressively on abundant and active baitfish and crawfish. It makes for some very fast action, provided you can locate the fish and discover the right presentation.

It's not always easy. To find these groups of fish, you often have to try a lot of different things. The bass can be way back in coves, for example, or along bends in the creeks, out in the main river or in a number of other places. So you must pay attention to EVERY little detail. Watch for herons and other fish-eating birds that reveal baitfish-rich areas. Also look for clues that reveal spots with subtle differences, whether it's depth, bottom type, vegetation or current. These are the areas most likely to hold fish.

Detailing Difference

A good example would be a long row of tules along the main body in a reservoir. From a distance, they all look essentially the same. Look closely, and you might discover one little clump that's a darker tone of green. These tules might be in deeper water. Maybe it's just a foot or two deeper, but nevertheless, it's a subtle difference. The stalks are probably just a little bit bigger, too, and might therefore create more of an eddy. Hit that area hard. The fish are likely to be there.

It's also critical to pay attention to weather conditions and keep an open mind about what the fish will be doing. Conditions change quickly during the fall, and bass behavior can change just as quickly. The fish might be feeding well on crankbaits and spinnerbaits away from any cover on a cloudy day. The next day, they're gone. With the sun shining brightly, you might have to flip or pitch into nearby brush or grass to catch those same fish.

At times, the change in bass behavior can't be traced to anything specific. You just have to experiment, adjust and pay very close attention to what the fish reveal. Bass may hit a buzzbait for a while, for example, then ignore it completely. They might still be there, but now, they'll only hit a spinnerbait. On the other hand, the baitfish school might have moved, and the bass have moved with it. Or perhaps the fish didn't follow, but stopped their aggressive feeding. Keep trying until you find what works and where.

One great thing about fall on these types of reservoirs is that the fish often feed really well on the surface. The baitfish schools can get really thick, and the bass will push the bait way up into the backs of the creeks. You might not even see fish breaking. Instead, you might just notice a lot of baitfish rippling the surface. When this happens, you can really have fun with a topwater lure.

Current Can Matter

If you don't find fish in the backwaters, turn to the main river. Among the best things about rivers and river-run reservoirs is that you can almost always find some fish out in the main river. You may choose to make your main-river fishing a backup plan while focusing on waters well up the creeks, but it's good to know that backup plan exists.

On the open river, the fish might be along channel bends, on chunk-rock points or some other kind of structure. Two important keys are to locate something that breaks the current, then find deep water nearby. "Deep water," of course, is very relative. But it's extra important for tournament-fishing situations because you need areas that can replenish themselves after you take bass off them. For example, I had an area like this in the recent the Bassmaster Classic on Lake Wylie. The water dropped fairly quickly to six or seven feet, which was very deep in that setting, and I was able to catch fish off that spot all three days of the tournament.

Out on the river, the rate of current flow is also a very important factor, and a detail that anglers really need to pay attention to. The bass can turn on and off with the water flow, which can change by the hour in many power-generation reservoirs. Sometimes the bass shut off completely. In this case, just keep returning to the area and hope the water comes back on. Often, the bass just position themselves differently, or possibly move a little deeper, and feed a little less aggressively.

Again, the secret for fishermen is to pay attention to every detail--from the weather to the movement of the baitfish to the amount of current flowing through the river. These little things make a big difference, and during fall, putting all the details together can lead to big success.


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