Fall Fishing Tips and Techniques

Big Bear Lake - Big Bear Lake, CA (San Bernardino County)

by Big Bear Sporting Goods

Big Bear Lake offers one of the best opportunities of the year for trout fishing and those who take advantage of this season’s pre winter window can enjoy some exceptional fishing, comfortable temperatures and beautiful scenery.

Big Bear Lake’s Rainbow Trout spend most of the summer months suspended in deeper waters away from the shoreline in an effort to avoid the warmer water temperatures and seeking optimum Dissolved Oxygen levels.  This makes a tough go of it for the Bankies while those on the Troll have to find the “sweet spot” in the water column where the fish are holding.  Either way, the fish are lethargic and slow to bite.

However, Fall offers a reprieve to anglers in general but especially to those land locked shoreline anglers.  The Rainbow Trout start to move toward the shallows to feed and prepare for winter and the spawn.

As water temps begin to drop Big Bear’s Trout population begin their migration from deep water holding areas into the shallows.  This pre-spawn movement tends to result in large numbers of fish holding in specific areas that meet their feeding and environmental needs.

Anglers need to be aware that shallow water fish activity can change on a daily basis.  Weather plays a significant role in the fish activity and productivity. Cloudy days tend to keep the Trout closer to the shoreline, Windy days stirs up silt and they will pull away slightly, Sunny warm days will also cause the ‘Bows to pull out, temporarily, to slightly deeper, cooler waters. Usually just suspending beyond the shoreline shelf and periodically darting back to the shoreline when a feeding opportunity arises.

Throughout this pre-spawn period, Trout are concentrating on feeding in preparation for the annual lake “ice-over” and to bolster their larders for the spawn. Their peak feeding activity occurs during the early morning hours (before the winds kick up and temps are still down) and then again in the late afternoon and evening hours (after the winds settle down and temps begin to drop).

Traditionally, the most productive Fall baits tend to be those in bright color patterns. Rapala’s “Fire Tiger”, and the YoZuri Pin’s Minnow in Pink do well. The “Go To” spoons are Copper, Gold with a splash of red or orange highlights as found in Needlefish, Kast Masters, and Thomas Bouyants. Brightly colored jigs in weights from 1/8th, 1/16th; 1/32nd, and 1/64th of an ounce, produce some very nice brood trout near the rocks and boulders found at the west end of the lake near the dam.
Shoreline anglers who wish to use live bait like Nightcrawlers should try and fish near inlets where rain and snow water run-off occurs. Dough Baits do best in colors such as Chartreuse, Rainbow and Fluorescent Orange.

Boaters on the Troll (Boats are allowed on Big Bear Lake until November 30th) should be 1 to 3 colors in depth ( 4 to 12 feet) will do well with spoons hitting the circuits on the south shore, Trout Alley or running west from the M.W.D.’s West Public Launch Facility west to the Buoy Line near the Dam.

Anglers should bear in mind, though this article specifically mentions techniques to successfully catch Rainbow Trout, other fish species such as Large Mouth and Small Mouth Bass, Panfish and Catfish also put on the “Ol’ Feed Bag” prior to winter temps causing Big Bear Lake to ice over.

Fall and Winter are Beautiful Seasons in the Big Bear Valley. Snow capped peaks, the smell of smoke from chimneys wafting through the crisp morning and evening air. Watching a Bald Eagle swoop down on the lake and grab a Trout for its next meal…the majesty and beauty of nature is only a couple hours away from most cities in Southern California.

Another great reason for coming to Big Bear in the fall is the Upland Game Bird season begins September 1st with the Dove opener! So if the fishing is slow then grab the Ol’ “Scatter Gun” and head off into hills on the backside of Holcomb Valley or take a short drive down into the high desert for some Dove and Quail action.

Contact the "Fishin' Guys" at BBSG for the latest on the Catchin' Action

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