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Hunting, fishing are harmonious

The collision of hunting and fishing seasons in the fall actually function in a symbiotic manner. Anglers don't mind less traffic on the lakes, while hunters like fewer people in the field. (Jason Durham / For the Enterprise)

By Jason Durham / For the Enterprise

a Hunting season is undoubtedly having an impact on late fall fishing.

Right now you’re probably expecting results from a study connecting lower numbers of total fish caught negatively correlating to hunters in the woods and on the water.

In a twisted way, that’s right. The reason fewer fish overall are caught on the lakes in the fall is because there are fewer anglers. A big impact contributing to the decrease in anglers on the water is (you guessed it), hunting.

But the relationship between the two sports isn’t negative. In reality, it’s positive for both entities (which in many cases are participants of both outdoor groups).

I’ve had a couple negative interactions with hunters in the fall while fishing. In each situation, there were minor mistakes made by both parties which eventually turned into lessons learned. For me, those situations took place as a teenager.

As a teen, things were much different compared to today as well. We hunted ducks before school and showed up for class in camouflage with our shotguns in our vehicles and our shotgun shells in our lockers. Nobody thought anything of it.

After college, hunting took a back seat for me, primarily because the fishing was so good in the fall.

Yet hunting still has a huge impact on my fishing. First, there’s no waiting at the public access to launch the boat. Late in the season, there’s no dock for launch assistance and the port-a-john’s have been hauled away, but there are still alternatives to the amenities we’re used to. It’s best to keep those suggestions quiet in publication.

Not to mention, there’s not as much competition in the bait shop. The lines at the check-out counter don’t change much, but the contention for getting the best live bait is generally diminished. There simply aren’t as many people trying to get minnows, leeches and night crawlers.

Unfortunately, leeches are small compared to those available in June, night crawlers still work, but most anglers want minnows. And this year, getting the larger sized minnows that fall fish desire has been somewhat trying.

The 4-5” river minnows like creek chubs and redtails are very difficult to buy in local bait shops. Alternatives include rainbows, fatheads, shiners and sucker minnows, which aren’t as abundant as typical years, but are still available.

Of course hunters don’t mind that not every angler has converted to hunting and is pulling ammunition from the shelves. Shells can be somewhat like minnows. The right kind and size makes harvesting game much easier. Minor alterations still work, but part of the equation is having absolute confidence in what you’re using.

Thanks to a decrease in anglers due to hunting and of course the logical idea of people winterizing boats before the lakes, and engine water pumps, actually freeze, the minnows that are available stretch a bit further than if the same situation occurred during the middle of the summer.

The collision of the hunting and fishing seasons has numerous positive attributes and very few negatives.