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Most gamefish are holding in deeper water during this season of the year. Unless there is a warm water discharge in the vicinity, the fish will be deep and very sluggish. They will not move far or fast to feed, and successful anglers know that small baits, fished very slowly, are the better choices. “Dead-sticking” is one of the better techniques at this time of year. This involves casting a grub or jig ‘n pig and allowing it to sink to the bottom. Once it hits bottom, it should be allowed to sit with no motion for as long as the angler can stand it. After the initial wait, move the bait very slightly and let it sit again. Self control and patience are required, and the slower the retrieve, the more successful the angler. One trick that is practiced by veteran anglers is to cast a small, plastic grub, saturated with fish attractant, into 15-20 feet of water and set the rod down. Leave the bail open and use another rod to work a different lure. Keep an eye on the spinning rod, as the line should start peeling off in 5-10 minutes. This technique is not only used for bass, but for any gamefish located in the area. Small baits, such as 1-3 inch plastic grubs will take largemouth bass, crappie, yellow perch, catfish, walleye and pickerel. Baits like the jig ‘n pig will result in bass being caught. When the line starts peeling off, pick up the rod, take up most of the slack and allow the fish to take up the balance. Raise the rod tip sharply when the fish is felt and retrieve the line. Do not expect tackle busting fights at this time of year, as the fish are quite sluggish. Good fish may be taken during this season, however, if anglers are patient enough.
Largemouth bass may still be caught in 3-4 feet of water on Speed Shads and square billed crankbaits. A stop-and-go retrieve is working best.
Crappie are hovering around deep brushpiles. Vertical jigging minnows over the brushpiles will produce the better fish.
Striper fishing picked up, with most of the fish being taken downlake, trolling Cordell Redfins and free-lining live shad.