Hooked Up: November 2016

Hooked Up: November 2016
A great example of what November can provide. Bass Assassin - Released!

My anticipation of winter trout fishing is hard to camouflage as November rolls in. We will start seeing some of the big, heavy trout this month, and the guys that can push through this preseason will be rewarded. Speaking of being rewarded, my 2017 winter and spring calendar dates are now available for booking. If you are anticipating fishing for giant trout during the cooler months, pick a day ASAP–they will not last long.

November is the true kickoff month for all good things to come to fishermen that are willing to brave Mother Nature's mood swings and temper tantrums. The water temperature has to drop and stabilize in the 60s or lower. To get that to happen we are going to have to withstand some mighty frontal passages that will keep most people off of the water for a day or two. The days following these fronts will bring primo conditions that will allow water temperatures to fall into that magical range where large trout become gluttons. This behavior is more than your typical feed mode; it is an attempt to gorge on anything they can swallow to build winter reserves for much cooler temperatures to come. Almost overnight we will begin to see trout with bellies resembling Larry the Cable Guy and shoulders like J.J. Watt.

When it comes to finding the best and largest fish for this time of year, a little imagination will go a long way. Some of the traditional areas may be showing some signs of life, but the biggest part of the fish, and catching for that matter, will be on the fringes of their favored staging areas for nighttime feeding. Deep drop-offs in the Laguna and Baffin are and will continue to be key areas of interest for my charters as we stalk the big trout that are staging to congregate in true winter fashion.

Boat traffic should be relatively low in November, so finding prime water should not be an issue. That being said, and in the event someone has beaten you to your favorite spot, try Power-Poling down on some areas you may not have fished in the past. November is known for its surprises.

Focusing on deep guts than run through spoil islands is a great place to start. Spoil Islands that have quick drop-offs versus tapering bottom are also great focus areas. If you happen to locate the guts and drops that have bottom grass, you are really doing yourself some good. One of the most underutilized structures in the Upper Laguna for the trout grinders is the natural gut known as Emmord's Hole. The broken, grassy edges of this natural contour line will be jammed with quality fishing in November; however, some of it has to be done out of the boat as it is too deep to wade. On that same line of thought, the grassy drop-off known as Rocky Slough offers a very similar scenario and should be a solid producer. For the brave, Rocky Slough is wadeable, but it is a tricky place, considering all the obstacles (rocks) that you have to weave through. Guess it just depends on how bad you want it. The Power-Pole and Motor Guide definitely viable options here.

For those who must wade (don't blame you), I would consider Big Grassy, the Badlands, the natural gut in the Meadows, Compuerta Pass, and any of the spoil islands in the Upper Laguna. Any and all of these have potential to be big time producers in November, but they are not all going to be good every day. A huge part of being successful is taking the time to scout, using the appropriate lure for the conditions at hand and a food supply to keep the trout in the area.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, my favorite scouting lures are the 5" Bass Assassin (rattail) and their Turbo Shad line. These two lures find fish fast, and big trout just love to eat them. My go-to topwater will be the She Dog by MirrOlure. I like to select lure color according to water clarity and food source in the area. As a general rule, I stay as natural as possible in the real clean water and go to darker and brighter colors as the water clarity decreases. When the sun is up on clear, high-pressure days, the Bass Assassins in alewife and bone diamond are hard to beat.

Remember the buffalo! -Capt. David Rowsey