Fall Fishing The Coosa River / Weiss Lake
Fall Fishing The Coosa River / Weiss Lake
By Reed Montgomery
The bass of Weiss lake go through many changes each season. Moving shallow each Fall, is common with these fish, for Weiss Lake has plenty of water less than 5 feet deep. Even with lake drawdown, the bass remain in shallow water for longer periods with each passing week, due to cooling water temperatures and baitfish and crayfish constantly being shifted around. As September and October months roll in so does the Power Company's yearly lake drawdown.
Weiss lake can be dropped 4-5 feet for Winter pool and remain low until mid-April. Its all according to the Power company's needs for electricity and flood control. This creates a much smaller lake and the bass and baitfish become bunched-up in specific locations. This Summer, grass was a big factor, but that will be gone with drawdown. Shallow piers and boathouses in the backs of cuts, pockets, creeks and along shallow flats, will be totally dry during Winter Pool. The backs of feeder creeks and rivers (of which are excellent Fall fishing holes) will be all but dry, and hazardous to navigate safely.
Of which brings another factor to mind. Boat damage and lives are at stake for the next 6 months, when navigating during low water. Weiss Lake has its share of mishaps each Fall and Winter with unaware boaters. Channel markers should be kept to your left and right when running. Look for shallow water warning buoys, to avoid running aground. Depthfinders are a must and even a little map study will help the novice angler when navigating this huge lake. Never leave anything to chance, especially when lives are at stake. Places you fished this Summer, will be totally different looking when you return this Fall, so be aware and be safe.
As for the fishing the bass will be bigger and more in abundance than the last 3 months of hot Summer days we've had, when fishing got slower as the Summer drug on. Flats are a big factor (year-round) on Weiss Lake when targeting these shallow water largemouth’s. As the water level falls, bass that cruise these flats with regularity, will not leave the area but bunch-up in key locations. Exposed stumps can hold many bass, especially many of which now border shallow-to-deep drop-offs. In stained or muddy water conditions, these bass will hold near any little stubble of stump left from years of erosion.
In clear water, like mid to downriver, the bigger bass prefer not to be seen and will hold tight to the bigger stumps, especially ones with large, exposed roots for hiding from unsuspecting prey. Brush piles are everywhere on Weiss lake. Locals that live on the lake plant Christmas trees, sink hardwoods, pile up rocks and bricks, and even sink tire reefs all around piers, boathouses, marinas and on nearby flats. An angler's watchful eye will reveal this now exposed brush and wood cover, some of which show only a few twigs or limbs, while other man-made cover is completely out of the water. Bass will still inhabit this shallow water cover, but will be very spooky with their new surroundings. Stealth, long casts, very quiet presentations and tackle downsizing, may be needed for success.
There are deep water bass on Weiss lake, many of which have been deep all Summer. Not all Weiss lake bass forage shallow as the lake is drawn down and waters begin to cool. These bass should be approached as you did during hot, Summer days, only they will feed in nearby shallow water for longer periods, often schooling on top during Fall.
The lake has a lot of rip-rap around bridges, causeways and both lower lake dams. Bass can be caught on crankbaits, spinnerbaits and jigs fishing from shallow to deep water, along these man-made rocks in the Fall. Long points, protrude far out in the main lake and many drop right off into deep water. These shallow-to-deep drops, hold both largemouth's and spotted bass that feed as water is generated along these current breaking areas. Many of these points can now be visibly seen and are closer to deep water for the security of the retreating bass. Humps, submerged islands, exposed islands, long bars and other bottom irregularities, are also in this category, when looking for bass in or near deep water.
Many piers and boathouses border deep water on Weiss lake and have schools of bass that travel and stop here regularly. Catching a few often means returning later, for other bass quickly replace any bass taken from these deep water hangouts. Although these normally, deeper-oriented bass are not as affected by falling water levels as much as shallow backwater bass, many will hold in the same areas for weeks at a time, until water levels stabilize or until they are caught. Main lake and deeper creek ledges, drop-offs and old river channels are attractive to bass retreating to the safety of deep water, if the lake is drawn down. The same lures that you used all Summer will take these bass. Everything from topwaters, crankbaits and spinnerbaits to worms, lizards and jigs, will take these Fall-oriented bass, fishing from shallow to deep water.