By: Jared Mounts
Weather turned cool quick dropping water temperatures on the river into the 60’s in early October. The Hurricane Ian rain kept most off the river for a couple days. Tim Shank and James Hiner had a great outing the second week of the month. They boated 15 fish with two weighing over 3 pounds. Most of their fish came on a DT6 crankbait and a Rite Bite green pumpkin purple smoke tube! Travis Edens of Kingfisher Guide Service also had several good outings in the month of October. Many solid smallmouth and a 27 inch Walleye out of the ‘Doah. Randall Grove and Kenny Hepner had some good outings on the North Fork with 30+ fish days. Wacky rig did most of the damage. Kenny caught an 18” Smallmouth and a 19 ½ inch Largemouth. Water temperatures ranged from 58-62.
Anglers venturing out on the water in the month of November will have success. Always remember fishing has no end to the season! In fact, the majority of the die-hard river rats take the summer months off and start back in the Fall and continue through the winter into the spring. Water temperatures in the beginning of the month will remain in an ideal range for potential aggressive feeding patterns. For this reason, slow rolling moving reaction baits can still produce. Water levels will be low and clear so long casts will be necessary. Crankbaits and Chatterbaits worked from the bank out and in the deeper channels just below the rapids and eddy lines could produce a strike. Customers often ask what depth crank they should use. Water levels will be lower so you can get away with a 5-7 foot range on most of the river. Ideally you want to the lure bouncing off of the bottom and rocks. There are deeper holes so make adjustments as needed. Underspins with your favorite paddle tail swim bait is also a good choice. Let it sink and slowly retrieve it along the bottom of the water column. Swimbaits on a jig hook are a high percentage lure that can be fished in the entire water column at different rates of speed. The Jig and creature baits worked along the bottom will produce throughout the entire month. As mentioned above the right place at the right time this can produce an aggressive bite. By the end of the month into December look for fish to start to stack up and concentrate in the deeper pockets and wintering holes. This doesn’t mean fish won’t swim up and feed shallow at different times of the day. As water temperature drops later in the month you’ll see guys start to throw jerkbaits, tubes, and hair jigs. Even though these are known as cold water presentations, each will work year around in all bodies of water. We as humans are creatures of habit and norms which could explain why we like throwing certain things at certain times. Riverton, Lockes Landing, and Egypt Bend tend to be the most popular areas to fish going into the winter pattern. Another less popular but good stretch to consider is the Farms Riverview Road boat ramp on the main stem below Front Royal to Berry’s Ferry launch under the Route 50 Bridge. This is a good 6.25 mile canoe/kayak float that offers some stretches of deeper boulder type holes. Low water levels on the river will make it difficult for the jet boats to access this stretch this time of year. I also suggest checking out the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resource website to find new places to wet a line. There are numerous public access points on the North Fork, South Fork, and Main Stem of the Shenandoah River. Every year we see pictures of quality smallmouth caught from the bank of the Shenandoah. While on the website also check out the Trout streams in the area.
Jake’s Bait & Tackle in Winchester, Virginia has some exciting news we’d like to share with the Woods & Waters fans. We will be rolling out an online shopping opportunity in the month of November. We will start with limited products and apparel but be sure to check it out to get that lure you can’t find in the big box stores or the Jake’s hat or tee. These items always make great Christmas gifts for that angler friend in your life. Follow Facebook, Instagram, and the website for updates when it goes live.
* This Article is written for Woods & Water Magazine by Jake’s employee Jared Mounts. For more great info and regional reports check out their website at https://woodsandwatersmagazine.com/.