Au Sable River
Salmon, trout, bass and pike
Last Chance for the Fall Frenzy
by Brett Riser
Copyright 2015 James Marsh
Fishing Journal
October, 2015 Issue
S
teadily falling water temperatures have fish worried about getting fattened up for winter. Smallmouth will be keyed up
in rivers where they once were buried in woody debris now look for fish in runs, behind boulders mid channel, and
Brent Riser fly fishing guide
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sitting behind grass. Bass will also pursue minnows in shallows otten busting them in a few inches of water. Fish that have the
availability to seasonally migrate toward wintering locations may not be found where they once were during summer. It just
depends on your particular body of water, so keep that in mind.

Lakes and reservoirs are turning over and with mixing water temperatures fish will move shallow. Often times staging on weed
lines and flats in the 4 to 10 ft range. Largemouths can provide some intense mid-day action in October with some mild
summer like days. I like to fish from about 9am until mid afternoon. Partly sunny days and a little wind seems to work best. The
warm sun rays keep bass active this time of year unlike the summer when they scatter for shade, cold springs and cover.

Fly fishing for panfish can be productive and surprisingly sunfishes key in on minnows. Young of year have had a chance to
grow to larger sizes from the spring and adult sunfish appetites have adapted to their growth. Use a 3 or 4 wt that you would
use for trout. The nice thing is that floating line and your leftover trout tippet works great for gills. Fish sunny afternoons just
like you would for bass. I can recall fishing a fall October day with not another single boat on the public lake that I live on in
Michigan. The fish were feeding heavily on a long grass flat and the only ones taking advantage of it was me and a flock of
bufflehead, migratory diving ducks which probably were feeding on whatever fish the bluegills were eating. Bluegills are
opportunistic and any small offering that slightly sinks should work. Nymphs, very small streamers, and foam flies work. The
primary diet of a sunfish consists of aquatic macroinvertebrates, most likely Odonata ( dragonfly) and anisoptera (damselfly)
larvae, so any fly imitating these will trigger a strike whether or not they are abundant this time of year.

If you have brown trout or brook trout in your river or lake systems they will be seasonally migrating toward spawning
locations. These locations will be riffle and runs that have flowing water keeping gravel free from silt and sand that will
suffocate and kill the incubating trout eggs. The shallow depression or redd is where the female deposits her eggs the male
them fertilizes the eggs which our covered back up with gravel. Inevitably some of these eggs become dislodged and tumble
downstream. In our anadromous streams trout can be caught feeding on salmon eggs or eggs from other browns.It is
somewhat unethical to fish for spawning fish but there should be plenty of fish in the darker water behind spawning gravel.
Browns get very aggressive this time of year more so than bass. Trout actively feed in colder water than bass which can be
sluggish and non aggressive. This can be a good option when the cold fronts have bass on lockdown. Egg flies, nymphs and
steamers are my favorite choices. Medium size streamers 2-3 inches with dumbell eyes or a weighted cone head to large 5-7
inch articulated streamers that imitate a minnow or small brown or brook trout can be very effective.

Don't forget about pike and musky. Slower backwater areas of large rivers and flowages and points and grass flats on cloudy
windy days in lakes can produce. Large colorful streamers very similar to the same ones that you throw for trout should work
for pike and musky.

Take advantage of the unusually quiet time on the water now that hunting season has the majority of outdoorsman sitting in
tree stands, bird hunting or watching football. Just think, because before you know it it's going to be winter and we're all going
to be wishing for warmer temperatures and spring. Take advantage of the time we still have left and go fishing.
Brent Riser
October on the Au Sable