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Alexandria Area Report: Following the School

It's like turning on the light switch this time of year when summer comes to a close and kids go back to school, then fall comes and the cooler temperatures start to transition everything. It's quick too and before we know it the snow will be flying, but before that fall is here so we should enjoy the time we have with this short season. Which brings me to one of my favorite times to fish is in the fall.

Last week I talked about the transition that has started and the panfish were in 12-17FOW and now they are in 17-25FOW or deeper. What a difference a week makes with cooler temperatures. Water temps. were 68 degrees last week and now are 65 degrees and the the fish have definitely migrated deeper. Here are few things to help target suspended fish in the deeper water.

1-Location and locating schools of fish can be tricky unless you know how to follow them. I'll use the big motor and slowly scout around until I find the right school that I want to fish. Once you've located them, get the trolling motor down and slowly troll with them. Now some schools will be small and

some bigger. And the bigger schools are the ones you'll want to concentrate on and will give you a better chance of catching fish. Now, I look for the bigger schools, but the one thing I look for is the high risers. If the school is in 25FOW, I'll look for the fish that are suspended in 10-14FOW and those are usually larger fish. I don't target the deeper fish because of the risk of not being able of releasing them.

2-Presentation is key to success. The jigs that I've used are Tungsten and because of how quickly you can get your presentation down to those fast moving fish. And yes, following the school is all about staying on top of them before you have to find them again. At times, it feels like your looking more for the schools than fishing, but that is the fun part about this way of fishing. The color that was anything bright like yellow and white,pink and white or just white. The two jigs that I really like using are the Clam Outdoors Duck-Bill Jig and the Northland Fishing Tackle Mitee Mouse Jig. Both are Tungsten and by using a plastic tail to tease those crappies and gills is money in the bank.

3-Type of Rod- The rod that I'll use is the St.Croix Rods Panfish Series and the reason is of the soft tip. The tip is like spring bobber and really helps with the bite. Crappies will take your jig, but it can be so tough to know until you lift slowly to see the bend in the tip. If you see that, set the hook! This weekend was a light bite because of the weather and with a good rod you'll be successful catching the light biters.

As we get more in the fall season, look for the schools to get tighter together as more fish search for warmer water and food. Keep in mind to search for the higher fish in the school which will be bigger fish, but are the ones you'll be able to release without difficulty. If your looking for a meal of fish, great, but when I fish in deeper water i'll look for the fish in the schools I can release.

Remember, practice selective harvest and take a youngster out the next time you head out in the outdoors. Until next time, be safe and we'll see you in you the outdoors.

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