Taking advantage of nice fall weather conditions

Al Smith - Guest Columnist

When Mother Nature smiles on us and offers some Indian Summer days or extends nicer fall weather into November, take advantage of the waning time we have left until Old Man Winter approaches.

It isn’t often when you have days in November where you can fish in shirt sleeves or you encounter a day like last Sunday when it was downright warm. Hunting can wait for colder weather as final fishing flings beckon.

Grabbing a few fly rods and heading to a couple of different bodies of water proved enjoyable and yielded catches of bass, bluegills and crappies and a few perch lately. What provided more fun was using a variety of flies to get these fish to bite. They took a woolly bugger, woolly worm, wiggler fly and a small black/orange, black/blue, black/ green and combos. As an enticement, I tipped these flies with a waxworm.

An additional plus was the fact that some of these bluegills were among the biggest I caught all year. Even in cooler water, a 9-10-inch bluegill shows off its feistiness.

Patience and persistence were virtues.

Finding the fish was not always easy. On one body of water, I tried at least 6 different spots before I could find fish somewhat congregated. Experimenting with flies and either a sink tip or floating line took time. Putting up with leaves on the water was bothersome. Some fish bit on both lines and different flies. Crappies liked the wiggler fly and white woolly worm best while bass liked a black woolly bugger mostly. Bluegills liked the smaller black/orange, black/blue and black/green combos the best.

The fish bit at different depths, too, which made using the countdown method essential. Some times they would bite on a countdown of 10 and anywhere between that and 30. The sink tip line appeared to sink too fast and patience prove critical using a floating line that took a while to sink. The bite also could be subtle. But the pull of the bluegills was typical - at strong right angles.

The bite was better on overcast days vs. ones with a bluebird sky.

It’s outings like this that make me fish late into the open water season. Fish can be caught until ice up. A few years ago, a mild fall had me (and others) open water fishing into late December. That year my final day of fishing was Dec. 20. And I caught some crappies on that trip.

If you are an ardent angler, I urge you to get out as long as there is open water. I plan on it.

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The world certainly can be a small place. On one of my recent outings, a guy saw me fly fishing and asked if there were any trout in the lake. I could tell from his accent he was from Canada. I told him there were few trout waters in Ohio and we chatted about fishing.

I mentioned I used to muskie fish in Canada. He asked where and I told him a couple of lakes on the chain I fished. He laughed and said he had a place on one of them.

Lake Erie can be productive well into December. If you have an opportunity, it may be worth a trip there for either perch or walleye.

Perch fishing has been good, according to the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s Lake Erie report. Water temperate is 53 near Toledo and 58 near Cleveland.

Best catches have been nearshore to Wild Wings Marina, off Lucy’s Point of Middle Bass Island, near Gull Island Shoal, all around Kelleys Island and off the Marblehead Lighthouse. Using spreaders with shiners fished near the bottom has been the most productive method.

The best walleye fishing has been between Cedar Point and Vermillion, primarily offshore in 40 feet of water and deeper. Most fish have been caught by trolling with crankbaits.

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According to Wild Ohio Angler on Facebook, Indian Lake is the November lake of the month.

The Limaland lake in Logan County is well known for tournament bass fishing including some of the Walmart FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) circuit.

The lake, which originally was a group of small kettle lakes and marshland formed along the Great Miami River when the last glacier receded across Ohio, also features a variety of panfish including black and white crappie, bluegills and yellow perch. Saugeye are stocked there annually. Channel catfish, bullheads and carp also are featured in the lake.

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The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) will hold an open house for an update on the Catawba Island State Park boat ramp renovations on Tuesday (Nov. 15) at the Lake Erie Shores and Island welcome center, 770 SE Catawba Road (Ohio 53) in Port Clinton. The public is invited to share their feedback at the open house.

Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL


Al Smith

Guest Columnist

Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL

Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL

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