Freshwater Fishing: Fall Madness

By Tom Keer

Sep 09, 2015

I love freshwater fishing in the fall because in a lot of ways I am similar to the fish. I eat more in anticipation of the cold winter.

I love freshwater fishing in the fall because in a lot of ways I am similar to the fish. I eat more in anticipation of the cold winter. Football was my #1 sport, and the cooler temperatures made me more aggressive. And there is a shot at catching a big fish, which resembles me after I pack on some extra pounds. Some fall fishing tips to catch more fish when the leaves start to change:

  1. Go big. Trout in rivers know they need extra calories, so they'll find them in high-fat bugs and in big mouthfuls. Hoppers along a field work well as do big streamers in a pool and big stoneflies around the rocks.

  2. Move around. Ponds and lakes are turning over so finding the right strata when fishing in the fall is critical to success. Probe the water column until you find their level. Knowing exactly where to fish in the fall takes practice so...start practicing.

  3. Rig up. Fall fish hit hard, so the same small diameter monofilament that you used during clear, low-water levels in the summer won't work now. You'll pop fish off, so increase your leader's strength to put more fish in the net.

  4. Bouncing barometers. Winds shift back and forth from the South to the North, and they can gust pretty good. When fishing in fall, match the wind and current directions to find the edges where the fish will hold.

  5. Noreasters bring rain, and they fill up the rivers that feed into ponds and lakes. After a good, soaking rain, head to the inflows and outflows to find concentrations of fish.

  6. Bring a camera. Fall fish change colors and they'll be among the prettiest of the year. A few pictures taken while fishing in the fall will carry you through the winter, and you can stare at them when you're in a shanty on the ice.


If you've had a tough time catching 'em this summer then get after it by fishing in fall. The fish will be less spooky and easier to catch, and you'll end your freshwater fall fishing season on a high note.

Tom Keer
Tom Keer
Tom Keer is an award-winning writer who lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  He is a columnist for the Upland Almanac, a Contributing Writer for Covey Rise magazine, a Contributing Editor for both Fly Rod and Reel and Fly Fish America, and a blogger for the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s Take Me Fishing program.  Keer writes regularly for over a dozen outdoor magazines on topics related to fishing, hunting, boating, and other outdoor pursuits.  When they are not fishing, Keer and his family hunt upland birds over their three English setters.  His first book, a Fly Fishers Guide to the New England Coast was released in January 2011.  Visit him at or at