A Change is in the Air

Fishin' Line

October is one of the best fishing months of the year in southwest Ohio for more than one reason. Many anglers end their season around Labor Day, so Great Parks’ lakes experience very little pressure in the fall. Also, water temperatures fall into the 60s, which triggers a very good fall feeding frenzy, and fish will put on weight to prepare for a long cold winter. Add those key factors together, and you can experience some awesome days on the water.


Here are a couple tips to head you in the right direction. The primary food source for fish in the fall is gizzard shad. Fish will push schools of baitfish up onto shallow flats. This makes it pretty easy if you’re fishing for bass. Throw shallow diving crankbaits and spinnerbaits. Lipless crankbaits are a perfect choice; try red colors under a cloudy sky and chrome under sunny conditions.

If you are interested in catching a giant catfish, the next two weeks might be your best opportunity of the year. Steve Brewster caught one of the biggest catfish ever weighed at Miami Whitewater Forest on a very chilly fall day. It was actually the last day that we were open that year: October 24, 1999. It was a giant blue catfish, 52 inches long with a 37 inch girth, tipping the scales at 66 pounds! The fish was released alive and well, and there is a replica mount of it hanging in Miami Whitewater Forest boathouse. Steve caught the big fish on a gizzard shad, off of the big point across the lake from the boathouse.

Lake Isabella is a great destination for your next fishing trip. There were 900 pounds of yellow perch stocked in the lake in October. There will also be 500 pounds of rainbow trout stocked before the end of the month. Check in with the guys at the boathouse for tips on the best baits and which end of the lake is producing the most fish.


Neal Ramsey, District Recreation Manager