Late Fall in the Mountains

By Capt. James McManus

Nothing quite compares to late fall in the mountains. There is still lots of color, with oaks turning last, so deep reds along with evergreen give us a color palette of holidays to come. Most lakes have turned over and fish have returned to the banks and points ready to put on pounds for the winter. There should be some top water action as well, so everything is in play bait-wise.

On Fontana, I like to fish the mid portion of the lake, and although our lake is never crowded, there are beautiful days when you won’t see another boat all day. Even weekends are peaceful because of football games and usual holiday gatherings.

Not sure about other lakes, but here we have tons of bait close to the lake headwaters. Although there are always fish there, sometimes it seems they aren’t as eager to bite. The old saying, “find the bait, find the fish” is true, but if they won’t bite, what good is it. Down lake there isn’t as much bait, or really as many fish, but to me the ones there are usually more willing to eat. I also think the size is better, but that’s probably because of less pressure.

Always like to catch them on jigs but was taught something this past week. We have been trolling and doing really well with lots of fish off of points. My client caught some, but he pulled out a pack of worms (can’t disclose exact brand, was sworn to secrecy) and asked if we could pitch some just to see if they would work. I told him sure, but the fish weren’t on the banks yet. He wore me out. I stayed with my swim baits until giving in and borrowing one of his baits—I am never too proud to beg. It reminded me that fish don’t always stick to a singular plan.

Well, enjoy the holidays and thank God for our beautiful country. Get out, up off the couch and catch you some fish.

Later, Capt. James.

Capt. James McManus owns 153 Charters. Give him a call for a great day on the water at (828) 421-8125