column and photo by Josh Boyd:
South-central Kentucky weather appears to have hit its stride in recent weeks. Overbearing heat has given way to brisk mornings, and beautiful room temperature afternoons.
As the area's weather nears perfection, it is only natural for outdoorsmen and women of the bluegrass to seek a reprieve from life's stresses as they venture out for some quality time in the woods and on the water.
Many south-central Kentucky sportsmen have been taking advantage of fall's onset by making their way to a waterway of choice in order to wet a line. Not only does the month of October feature weather that is kind to those looking to spend the day in nature's tranquility, but it also historically offers some of the state's best fishing opportunities for a variety of species.
Fall is notorious for producing quality fishing for a number of reasons. Falling water temperatures, changes in the thermocline, and the predictable schooling of baitfish are just a few reasons why anglers find much in the way of luck during the fall of the year. After months of lethargic behavior, fish are now beginning to feed with a vengeance as the correct conditions align.
Bass can be caught in abundance during the fall of the year as they feed heavily on schools of shad. Creek mouths, points, and ledges are key locations to focus your attention when attempting to fill your livewell with sizable bass.
These notable locations become even more productive if they are found in conjunction with additional structure such as downed trees and brush piles. Crankbaits of various sizes and configurations are well known for their value when fishing during the autumn season.
Crappie can also be caught in excellent numbers during the month of October. The fall season usually sees crappie feeding heavily as water temperatures drop. However, this can be a double edged sword of sorts.
As water temperatures drop, a waterway's oxygen content rises. As this sequence takes place the thermocline, or area of vast change in water temperature and oxygen content, begins to dissipate. As the thermocline dwindles, crappie are now able to suspend at deeper depths and spread across larger portions of a body of water. As a result, an angler is tasked with locating ever moving schools of crappie during this transition period.
An angler can follow the movements of baitfish schools into the mouths of creeks to pinpoint crappie. Once located, minnows, jigs, and small crankbaits can be used to entice hungry crappie to take the hook.
Catfish are yet another species of fish targeted by fall anglers. As water temperatures begin to cool, catfish transition in depth, feeding heavily as they do so. The key to filling a stringer of autumn catfish is discovering the depth at which they are holding.
The use of multiple poles can be helpful in efficiently locating transitioning fall catfish. When using a multiple pole approach, an angler can fish varying depths with each set up, in order to quickly rule out areas void of fish.
Live bait such as bluegill and shad are typically the go-to bait of choice when fishing for flathead catfish, and this is no exception during the fall of the year. Anglers specifically targeting channel cats can find success with the use of nightcrawlers, chicken liver, and store bought stink baits.
As temperatures begin to dip, and leaves continue to fall, venture to a body of water near you to take advantage of the bluegrass state's numerous quality fall fisheries. With heavy stringers, smiling faces, and memories made, a day on the water is sure to be a worthwhile endeavor for all willing to seek its splendor.
Note: the thoughts and opinions expressed by Edmonson Voice guest columnists and authors of submitted articles are their own, not necessarily those of EdmonsonVoice.com