The weather is wonderful, the fish are biting, and it’s as good as the world gets for anglers in Alabama.
Just a few months ago, we anglers in Alabama thought the summer heat would never end. We thought the crowded ramps and marinas would never clear out. However, the fishing in October displays just how good fishing the lakes of Alabama can be- it’s just a matter of good timing.
Bass on the big lakes are starting their fall patterns of chasing shad. Crappie are schooling up and making their way into creeks and deeper docks where they can be caught. Even bream anglers are finding great fishing in October.
October weather tends to be as good as it ever gets in Alabama, except for when big tropical storms rumble through. Even if tropical weather affects the coast of Alabama most, some very bad weather in the lakes country of central northern Alabama can occur when tropical weather systems visit. Anglers should be aware of major weather systems that come ashore and plan fishing trips around the bad weather if it comes.
Even though the weather is very nice in Alabama in October, sunburn can still something to keep in mind. Anglers will need to keep up their program of sun block and protective clothing.
Of course, good well-fitting PFDs for each person aboard the fishing boat are necessary. It only takes one slip at the wrong time for a great trip to become awful. Get PFDs and use them.
Now, let’s see what some of the best anglers in Alabama can tell us about the great fishing on Alabama’s lakes.
Our buddy Captain Lee Pitts enjoys fishing on Weiss and the other Coosa River lakes in October because fish of all kinds are getting very active.
The Coosa River lakes spotted bass, in particular, will be hot in October.
Anglers looking for spots should focus on main lake humps and ridges.
Shad are the main food target for October bass, so any kind of lure in silver/shad patterns should work.
Captain Lee says,” October is a magical time for fishing on Weiss. Bass, crappie- everything is biting. Lake Weiss water is being drawn down to winter level in October, and this can make lots of good fishing-places easier to find that have been hidden all summer. Flats, humps, and other solid stuff are exposed during winter lake levels. Shad will get up in the backs of creeks, and the bass will find them and devour them.”
“Shad will get up in the backs of creeks, and the bass will find them and devour them.”
Bass anglers should look for any kind of shallow place with structure- the shad will be there and the bass won’t be far. Solid wood underwater stuff is the key. When the wind moves bait over flats, look for rocks and rock piles where the bait will be gathered.
Top-water lures in silver with orange or chartreuse accents work very well.
Captain Lee says,” Anglers cannot fish too shallow. Stumps are good places to work, and sometimes bass in October will be feeding in less than a foot of water. Spinner baits can be good. Cast the spinner past the stump and retrieve it as close to structure as possible. The bass will hit as the spinner passes the stump.”
Weiss October crappie should be very good. Jigs and minnows will both be good. Look for shad and the crappie will be close.
As October moves along, catfish anglers at Lake Eufaula will have much more comfortable conditions and much more eager-to-bite catfish on the big eastern Alabama lake.
Catfish-chasers should look at creek channels and main lake drop-offs for good catfish action. Cut shad always works well here, and fishing with jugs can be a very effective way to fill an ice chest with cats.
Crappie anglers should explore deep docks and bridge pilings on the main lake. In October, the schooling crappie can be found at various depths, depending on the shad. Find the shad and the crappie will be close by. Captain Sam Williams recommends crappie anglers try open water trolling for October crappie at Eufaula
There should be a very good top-water shallow-water bite for most of October. Any kind of cover which produces shade such as lily pads and blowdown treetops can be very good. Captain Sam tells us that most of the bait will be up under the cover, and bass will be there also.
If the midday is warm and sunny, anglers will want to fish ledges and brush piles in deeper water out in the main body of the lake.
If it’s October, that means that it is top water frog and rat time at Guntersville. The big north Alabama lake is world-famous for its explosive bass strikes on top water soft plastic lures, and October is just about the best month of the year for great top water action.
As the month progresses, the top water bite will last longer in the day, and on cloudy days, the bass may bite in the weed mats on top all day long.
A good idea for anglers who want to find some truly great bass action is to find the thickest mats of weeds possible and work dark colored frogs over the weeds. Captain Jake Davis tells us that anglers using good top water frogs such as the Pro Z Baits frog in Scooby-Doo color pattern will catch some good bass. Punching through the thick weeds with a Missile Baits D-Bomb will also work well.
Crappie will start to get more active in October as they school up looking for smaller shad running in big schools in open water. Toward the end of the month, crappie will start moving into the creeks as the weed mats start to break up.
Stripers and hybrids will be schooling up both above and below Guntersville Dam.
Some great catfish will be caught in October at Guntersville by anglers who fish creek channels and main lake drop offs.
Catfish anglers need to think about taking a trip to Wilson Lake in northern Alabama this month. Some world-class fishing for cats, both eating size, and massive trophy size occurs in October.
Captain Brian Barton says, “October can be the best month of the whole year for trophy catfish on Wilson Lake.”
Anglers should look for catfish food if they want to find catfish. Shad will school up in large bait balls in open water. The catfish will suspend under the bait balls.
Captain Brian adds,” Look for bait over channel ledges, humps, and bluff lines where cats will be hanging out. Cats can be as shallow as 10 feet in the upper sections of the lake to over 90 feet near the dam.”
He continues,” I drop large pieces of fresh cut bait on a Carolina rig and suspend it at the depth I see fish on my electronics.”
Anglers should remember that 69 lb. or bigger cats are possible at this time.
“Look for bait over channel ledges, humps, and bluff lines where cats will be hanging out.”
Captain Brian advises anglers going after the big cats to try a BnM Silver Cat series rod paired with an Abu 6500 C3 reel. Braided line is preferred for this heavy-duty fish. A 7/0 to 10/0 Daiichi circle hook completes the trophy cat rig.
Anglers should try the upper parts of the lake- Hog Island and Town Creek flats and on the lower portion- which is best for bigger cats- around Shoal Creek and the deep-water bluff ledges.
In October, the cats will tend to be very aggressive on the feed, and by trolling slowly at .5 to .7 mph, cat hunters can cover a lot of water to find the best feeding fish.
In October, anglers on the big western Alabama lake can expect to find some very good fishing, but it may take some looking to find the best concentrations of fish.
Joe Dunn of Dunn’s Sports in Thomasville tells us that anglers will want to spend some time looking in the main body of the lake. Crappie will be found by bottom bouncing both live minnows and jigs. Use a 1 oz. sinker at the end of the line. Tie a hook or jig a foot or so above the sinker, and lower the rig to the bottom. Lift and drop this rig off the bottom. Crappie may be as deep as 18 feet or deeper.
Bass anglers should look in the major sloughs as water temps cool as October moves along. Shad will go up creeks and sloughs, and the bass will follow.
Crankbaits in shad patterns as well as spinner baits, and Rat’L’Traps worked along the bigger sloughs will produce good bass in the fall.
Important Contact Information
Captain Brian Barton
Capt Jake Davis
Mid-South Bass Guide Service
33356 Highway 43
Captain Lee Pitts
Capt Sam Williams
Hawks Fishing Guide Service