October can be a strange time, not because of Halloween, but the wintering habits of bass. Some say it’s like trick-or-treating, angler style, with bass easily found in the shallows one day and gone the next, further adding to the elusiveness of October bass fishing.
As a rule of thumb, bass can be tracked down in aquatic foliage, within fallen logs and stumps, or around docks. From Lake Okeechobee to the California Delta, here’s a compiled list of the best destination for October bass fishing.
1. Lake Okeechobee – Florida
Known as Florida’s inland sea, Lake Okeechobee offers endless opportunities to rack up the bass counts.
The fishery thrives at any given time of the year, even hosting numerous fishing tournaments. However, the fish are hungry and ready to bite with cooling water and air temperatures. Anglers will also appreciate the reprieve from the intense summer sun, making October bass fishing on Lake Okeechobee some of the best of the year.
As for target species, load up on the gear for the largemouth bass, although black crappies are just as popular. Oh, and don’t be surprised if you hook onto a catfish too.
2. Lake of the Ozarks – Missouri
Revered as a catfish haven, Lake of the Ozarks is also a top-notch destination for bass fishing. So much so, it made the list of Bassmasters Top 100 Bass Lakes in the US.
It should go without saying that fishing on Lake of the Ozark will provide grin-worthy nibbles on even the worst of fishing days. Yet, when it comes to October bass fishing, Lake of the Ozarks can present some challenges.
Firstly, anglers will quickly notice that open-water fishing will result in hit-and-miss line strikes. More so, this is because the shad that the bass feed on are scattered everywhere. Instead, head into the rivers and creeks for more consistent hookups and target largemouth bass, white bass, striped bass, or spotted bass.
If you’re not one for the muggy summer heat or chilly winter air, consider heading for a fishing trip to Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks for some October bass fishing. And ogle at the fall foliage while you’re here.
3. Chatfield Reservoir – Colorado
Any quick search of top bass fishing locations in Colorado will tell you that Chatfield Reservoir is a consistent hot spot throughout the year. Thus, found just south of Denver, Colorado, the area is easily accessible.
While October bass fishing can be an odd time as the temperatures cool and many are eagerly awaiting the start of ice fishing in December, the bass are still biting.
But why Chatfield Reservoir is of particular attraction to anglers is the surprise of what can end up on your line. When targeting smallmouth or largemouth bass, it is possible to land a trout in October. So, regarding your set-up, be ready with a slightly heavier-than-normal test line.
4. Cape Cod – Massachusetts
For all the striped bass fans out there, this is for you! And the dream of snagging a 50+ pound striper is a possibility when it comes to October bass fishing in Massachusetts.
Why is this? It’s because the striped bass are at the end of their migration, and October presents a prime time for hauling in a trophy. Not a lunker, but, indeed, a true trophy. Therefore, anglers are quick to hop in a boat or to rent a charter in pursuit of this much sought after target.
Nevertheless, try fishing spots like Vineyard Sound, the Elizabeth Islands, and the coast from Woods Hole (pictured above) to Chatham.
But the bluefish are just as hot, so be ready for non-stop action, especially when using live bait. Oh, and a word of caution, the bluefin tuna are starting to move in, so don’t be surprised if you land something slightly larger than intended.
5. California Delta – California
Dip your rod into the California Delta when searching for a place with pleasant temperatures and endless water to cast your line. With over 1,000 miles of a watery playground, the chances of stumbling upon a productive fishing hole are excellent.
Hence, October bass fishing in the California Delta is like no other time of the year. The bass are enormous, and the bass are hungry. And like most of the traditional fall bass fishing baits, the crankbait will be your best friend here.
However, if you want to complete a bass grand slam, head to the San Joaquin and Sacramento Rivers for largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass.
The Last Word
Once September rolls around, some anglers quick to pack it in for the season. This is a huge mistake! While it’s true, some states face drastically dropping temperatures, and bass can be few and far between, other bass fishing destinations are waking up to non-stop action.
This makes October bass fishing a prime time to dip your line. From largemouth, smallmouth, spotted bass, white bass, and the much larger striped bass, October bass fishing is a must and should for all anglers during this lucrative time of year.
Where have you been successful in October bass fishing? Please let us know in the comment below!