While the return of cool, crisp fall weather has me preparing for the coming hardwater season, it is also a great time to hit the shores for the return of the shallow water bite. As fish put the feedbags on with the water cooling, they return from their summer haunts in deeper water and move closer to shore, taking advantage of high oxygen levels in and around weed growth and of their prey moving back into the shallows. It's a great time to catch fish from the shore again.
I had a few hours to kill before work, so I decided to see if there were any trout or pike hanging around in Jenny Gulch at Pactola Reservoir. It was an excellent morning on the Gulch and not only because the air was crisp, and the view was serene, but the trout bite was hot, hot, hot for a while!
The weeds in the Gulch were thick and just a foot or two under the surface. Preferring to use my favorite trout lure, Northland Tackle's Buckshot Rattle spoon in 1/4 oz., I had to start reeling the lure back almost as soon as it hit the water and retrieve it at a good clip due to its fast sinking nature, but I was rewarded for the efforts.
The rainbows that were around were keeping close to open areas in the weed growth or along its edges and they were extremely aggressive. As I walked up and down the shore, targeting open spots in the weeds, I caught over a dozen trout, most in the 14"-16" range with some 18"s in there as well. After the sun got higher, the bite dropped off, so I moved to the south side of the lake and managed one more decent rainbow before leaving for work.
As fall weather (and some wintry weather now) has arrived, the bite in the Black Hills has picked up steam with other species being caught regularly now. Be sure to take advantage of the weather and a little free time to explore the shore bite again now that water temperatures are dropping. Take advantage of putting some crisp, fresh air into your lungs wherever you are. It does wonders for your soul and catching a few nice fish while you're enjoying it doesn't hurt either!