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Reflections of a season to come: Fall

My wife is slowly replacing summer decorations transitioning to gold and brown. Summer has come to an end in our house it would seem. Warm days and cool nights are the indicator a change is in the air, signaling better fishing days are ahead. Fewer people on the lakes creates an overwhelming sense of stillness in the air. Fishermen, look forward to the next next few months, fondly called fall. Afterall, fishing is supposed to be better right; it certainly is in my book. Personally, I'm enthused to spend every minute of the day on the water with good reasons. Heightened optimism brings about renewed focus and success; confident I am trying area lakes at the best days of year. Gone are pleasure boaters, jet skis, public accesses are quiet. I personally enjoy the quiet times. Not alone, it's a time of renewed contacts with so many of the diehard anglers, missed during the summer.

Fall water temperatures cool, early morning outings on the water, not without a warm sweatshirt or jacket. If there is a better time to go fishing than fall, I don't know of it. Fall is and always will be my time of year. Having caught a number of big walleyes and smallmouth bass on those cold gray snow-filled sky days. Myself, I have gotten on with years, not the number of fish or size matter anymore. Instead, it is about the overall experience; it's the sport, the hunt and venturing out onto a favorite lake void of watercraft is the attraction. Observing the daily waves of waterfowl that make a journey from water to field, back to water. My mind wanders to memories of the many hours spent in North Dakota grain fields, waiting for the ducks and geese to pass our spread of decoys close enough for a shot. My mind comes back to focusing what I am doing, a fishing rod in the hand.

Wildlife preparing for fall, for example, loon families that separate, the adults leave the lakes early, abandoning the young of the year that stay behind building up more stamina and body mass in preparation for the first long trip to their winter home. The last days of open water see the young birds diving for food, realizing an angler in boat nearby. Swimming over curious and at times becoming a pest hoping for a minnow or two to be thrown to them by the fishermen. Watching these young birds abandoned, sadness overwhelms me. As I try to concentrate on fishing, it is my hope that the young loons too will soon fly south, ending by successfully joining up others in the family.

Fall seems to age like a fine wine and gets better with every day. Walleyes seemingly hit almost any live bait or lure put in front of them. Bait shops are anxious to turn the corner, putting out winter goods, and know that there still is straggler or two fishermen that will walk through the door, especially those nice Sunday afternoons. Anglers bored with football on TV, fishing a better choice. Time in the fishing boat is too precious to give up. Cool crisp mornings and evenings and the bonus - catching a fresh fish meal or two.