Shore Fishing In The Fall: 4 Freshwater Species To Target From The Bank

Whether your favorite fishing spot is a lake, pond or river, fall is the ideal time to fish your spot from the bank.

The cool weather of fall causes water temperatures to drop, which triggers baitfish to move into the shallows. Predator fish such as panfish, bass, trout and catfish also move to the shallows to feed on the baitfish. All the fish activity in the shallows gives bank anglers easier access to present their baits to game fish foraging on their prey. 

Going Deep


The key to catching game fish from the bank is to find a spot near deep water, which allows the fish to move up quickly near the bank when weather conditions are favorable and then the fish can swiftly retreat to deeper water when a cold front passes.  Shallow flats near creek channel bends are good spots to try when fishing the bank of a reservoir. Prime spots to try on a river are a rock riprap bank where a slough enters the main river and the shallows behind a wing dike. 

Targeting Bass From The Bank

Baitfish Activity: Bass

Black bass and white bass gang up on shad along shallow flats so you should trick these fish with a variety of shad-imitating lures. You want to select a bait you can throw a long distance because the lure will allow you to cover more water close to the bank and farther away from the shore. The best lures for making long-distance deliveries include Zara Spooks, lipless crankbaits, square bill crankbaits, spinnerbaits and buzz baits. 

Crappie Bank Fishing In The Fall

Crappie also move to the shallows in the fall but they relate more to cover than bass so you need to throw around targets such as laydown logs, brush piles or boat docks. Throwing a 1/16-ounce jig on a weighted bobber will help you reach those pieces of cover farther away from the bank. 

Trout Fishing From Shore

casting bubble trout

Trout in streams usually move to the shallows to feed on terrestrial insects such as grasshoppers, lady bugs and beetles that frequently land in the water. Fish any flies or small crankbaits that imitate these bugs by making parallel casts close to the bank or throwing into the eddies of the stream for best results. 

Catfishing From The Bank In The Fall

Standard procedure for catching catfish is to throw your bait as far as you can to deeper water, but you have to remember catfish will also move around in the shallows to feed on baitfish in the fall. Rather than throw your bait a long ways from the bank and tight-line the bait on the bottom, you should set your bait about 1 to 2 feet below a bobber and toss it out to depths of only 6 to 8 feet. Blood or stink baits are less effective in colder water so you should bait your hook with cut shad, bluegill or nightcrawlers to catch catfish from the bank. 

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