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Season of change

Lake Amador Lucas Taylor
Fishing during the months of October and November can be feast or famine for a lot of local anglers. Fish, like us, are in a constant state of change. Water temperature is one of the biggest influences on their behavior. As the nights are now longer and the season starts turning from fall to winter, a fish’s instinct is to feed in preparation for the winter. I consider October as being the middle of the fall and November being the beginning of winter. There are very few species of fish that can’t be caught between now and the end of November, which makes it a great time to get out fishing.

Lake Amador Stanley VanMuyden
The Lakes:

If you’re just looking to get a bite, there are a lot of smaller panfish still in the shallows that can be caught. There are very few baits that get bit as much as the traditional live worm fished under a bobber. The biggest mistake I see a lot of anglers make is either having too big of hook or putting too much of the worm on the hook. As far as hook size, a size 8 or 12 is preferred. For bass they are going to be following the schools of bait. You can still beat the banks and find a fish here and there, but for numbers of fish I’d much rather seek out those fish that are actively feeding on schools of bait. Unless the schools are being brought up to the surface, having a fish finder is a must. Once finding the schools of fish, most small plastic baits or metallic jigging spoons can be dropped vertically through the schools of bait. By this time of year, the kokanee have stopped biting but like clockwork the trout start making their way back towards the surface and can also be found feeding on schools of baitfish. Traditional trout lures work well this time of year. It’s hard to beat a Triple Teaser, chrome with a hammered finish. A lot of lakes also resume their trout plants making it easy for those fishing from the bank. For planted trout, I’ve always done well with yellow Power Bait fished about 12 inches off the bottom. 

Delta Fishing Charters Steve Nicholas
The Delta:

October through November are arguably some of the best months to be out fishing on the Delta. The water is just cold enough to keep a lot of the pleasure boaters home, yet still warm enough for the fish to remain active. My birthday is in October, every so often I get to go fishing on my birthday and the Delta has yet to disappoint me. For those fishing for bass they can be caught on a lot of different baits. For numbers of fish it’s tough to beat a chrome and blue Rattle Trap fished along the rip rap levees. For those that are looking for a big fish, flipping Senko’s and punching floating cover like hyacinth has caught some of the biggest fish during the months of October through November. A lot of anglers will also be out fishing for the schools of striped bass that make their way through the system while feeding on the schools of shad. I always have a topwater bait tied on and ready just for that reason. It seems like when you least expect it, a school of actively feeding striped bass come to the surface. There are many techniques that anglers use to target striped bass in the fall. Some prefer live bait like mudsuckers, shad or bluegill. I prefer the bluegills since they don’t require me to visit a tackle shop before heading out fishing. Drifting a live bluegill during an outgoing tide is one of my favorite things to do during the fall. Just be sure to let the fish run with the bluegill for a while so that it can swallow it headfirst. For those that prefer to fish with artificial baits, I’ve always done good while trolling broken backed deep diving Rebels and Yo-Zuri minnows. Like a lot of anglers, I also like to add a white trick worm to the last treble of the bait to give it that extra action.

No matter where you go locally, this is the time of year a lot of anglers like me look forward to. The weather is usually great, the fishing can be amazing and the days are just long enough to where I can fish all day and still get home in time to watch an evening football game.