Fall Fishing in Indiana: Three Great Opportunities

Website design By BotEap.comHunting is the main activity on the minds of many Hoosiers during the fall, but for anglers willing to put down their gun and bow, the fall months offer some of the best fishing of the year.

Website design By BotEap.comAfter the shorter days and cooler nights of September leave the late-summer doldrums behind, Indiana angling takes on a whole new look as the fish become more active. In many cases, some of the biggest trophies of the year will take place during the time traditionally dedicated to deer, duck and small game.

Website design By BotEap.comBefore you put away the fishing poles and put the boat cover on for the last time, consider some of the great fall fishing opportunities Indiana has to offer:

Website design By BotEap.comSalmon

Website design By BotEap.comThe world-class salmon and trout fishing available along the southern edge of Lake Michigan is arguably the most productive fall fishing trip for Hoosier anglers. Less than two hours from north central Indiana, it’s easy to fall in love with the abundant, muscular fish of our inland ocean.

Website design By BotEap.comTen months out of the year, salmon fishing requires a sturdy boat, extensive tackle, and excellent seamanship. However, when the fish make their annual spawning run up the streams that flow into the big lake, even the inshore angler has a good chance of bringing home a trophy king or rainbow trout.

Website design By BotEap.comBeginning in late September, large Chinook (or King) salmon congregate at the mouths of rivers, streams, and harbors. As September turns to October, the most abundant coho salmon arrives, along with rainbow trout and brown trout. The harbors and creeks of Lake Michigan become watery reservoirs teeming with aggressive salmon and trout, ready to be intercepted by adventurous anglers.

Website design By BotEap.comFor the pedestrian angler, the plan of attack is to stake out position along a jetty or dock and start casting endlessly into the lake. This type of fishing requires not so much finesse as dogged determination. Whereas a boat angler could effortlessly troll for half an hour to find a fish, the stationary angler must cast many, many times to cover the equivalent distance of water.

Website design By BotEap.comRegardless of the fishing method, heavy trolling gear or level wind reels are not required. Although a good salmon may weigh 25 pounds, a sturdy fishing rod with a high capacity reel filled with 12 to 15 pound line will catch most fish. If you’re worried about losing a lunker, a lightweight saltwater spinning rod with a 15lb fresh trial line will subdue pretty much anything on the lake. A long-handled net is also very useful.

Website design By BotEap.comBoat anglers mainly use crankbaits and diving spoons. A popular lure is the Rapala minnow, but just about any intermediate, medium-sized, fast-moving dive bait can be productive. Regardless of the lure, bright colors are the rule. The “Firetiger” paint scheme is very popular, along with fluorescent orange, green or yellow, while blue and silver are also very productive.

Website design By BotEap.comShore anglers often use natural baits suspended just below the surface on a float. The most popular natural bait is a spawning sac, while night crawlers, individual salmon eggs, minnows, shrimp, and even crayfish are also popular. The local bait shop is the best source of good local advice and tactics for such fishing.

Website design By BotEap.comPopular spots for shore and boat anglers include the Michigan City Harbor and Jetty, along with Burns Ditch and any of the marinas that line the southern edge of the lake.

Website design By BotEap.comsmallmouth bass

Website design By BotEap.comSmallmouth bass don’t get their due in the fall, which is unfortunate. For those looking for trophy bronze loins, late September and October are the best time to hook up with a monster bass.

Website design By BotEap.comFishing in streams during these months can be difficult as the water is usually much shallower and clearer than at any other time, making fish spook easily. Leaves that float on the water also make it difficult to use artificial baits.

Website design By BotEap.comThe best bets for smallmouth fall are our state’s largest rivers, especially the Tippecanoe River. Shafer and Freeman lakes along ‘The Tippe’ also offer good smallmouth fishing for those with boats. Regardless of location, anglers looking for smallmouth fishing will typically concentrate on rocky areas with access to deeper water. Crayfish imitation crankbaits, tubular jigs, and inline spinners are popular baits.

Website design By BotEap.commusks

Website design By BotEap.comPerhaps one of the best kept secrets in the entire angling world is the excellent musky fishing of Northeast Indiana, specifically the natural lake area around Kosciusko County. Lakes like Tippecanoe, Wawasee, Webster, Dewart, Chapman and Barbee Chain are packed with huge musks that would make any Minnesota or Wisconsin angler proud.

Website design By BotEap.comIn 2002, a 50-inch musky caught on James Lake broke the state record. As James is actually part of Tippecanoe Lake, it is the focus of many trophy hunters, although Webster Lake comes second with many anglers. Regardless, the lakes in the area are stocked with heavy muskies that are virtually ignored except by a small group of dedicated anglers.

Website design By BotEap.comThese natural lakes are similar to Canadian lakes, with clear water and plenty of mid-lake structure, so a boat is necessary. Although some anglers will target muskies during September, the fishing gets much warmer when the weather turns cold in October and November.

Website design By BotEap.comLocal anglers use classic autumn musky techniques to target humps and tips with large crankbaits and jerkbaits. Popular colors include classic black and silver, brown and white, perch, and gray on white. Surface action is less successful due to the abundance of boat traffic on these highly populated lakes.

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