NEW RICHLAND-HARTLAND-ELLENDALE-GENEVA AREA

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As we do every other year we seem to shift into high gear and go roaring towards the next season as soon as another fair is in the books. As I look back on those days I can remember feeling like the start of the new school year was zooming towards me like a runaway locomotive. In all reality I’d guess that the reason for that was that I just wasn’t ready for summer to end. That feeling was almost the same one that I’d get as an adult when it was the last day of vacation and I was packing to go home or when I’d drive by my workplace on a Sunday evening knowing that morning would be there before I knew it.

Late summer takes on its own personality as the grass begins to turn brown and the weeds begin to wither and die. You may already see a hint of yellow on the leaves of some of the soft wood trees. The second part of the summer has been dry but in all reality that is not uncommon for this time of year. I really do like the month of August with the warm sunny days and cool nights – what’s not to like?

These are the kind of days that can rekindle my excitement for spending some time on the water. I am looking forward to once again heading north to the cabin but I really want to spend a couple of days fishing some of the lakes a little closer to home. My grandson Trevor has been doing his best to test the waters for bass on some of our area lakes and he has had some pretty good results. On one of his Fountain Lake excursions he boated two bass over 4 lbs. - now that’s a pretty good day of fishing. His cousin Dylan has beaten the waters of Fountain Lake hard this summer and has also done pretty good in the northern department. I hope to take both of them to one of the lakes that I haven’t fished for a few years but still have fond memories of.

For many years I would fish Reeds Lake by Elysian on the opener and then frequently during the summer. This lake used to be good for walleye early on and the rest of the year it was a good bass, pike and panfish lake. I have looked on the DNR website and they say there are walleye in the lake but do not list it as having stocked any walleye in recent years. I have to wonder if they quit stocking it or if they ever did. I do know that we did catch some dandy walleye in the lake years ago.

I’d also like to try St. Olaf and Beaver Lakes in the weeks before ice-over which, hopefully, is still quite a ways away. Once school starts the lakes in our area should be a little less congested but some outdoorsmen will be thinking ahead to the upcoming hunting seasons and may even make the mistake of putting away the fishing gear. Fall is actually a very good time to be on the water because there is a lot less boat traffic and on some lakes you could be the only one fishing it.

One thing that I have mentioned many times in the past is the importance of introducing our youth to the outdoors. I am proud of my grandsons and the fact that they all like to hunt and fish and will be carrying on family traditions. Our youth are the future of our outdoors heritage and statistically there are less and less youth getting involved in these sports. This is why it is important to at least give them a taste of what these sports are about.

Looking back on my own experiences; I learned to love fishing at an early age and although a lot of things have changed it still comes down to the basic concept of enticing a fish to take the bait. I’d have to say that once a kid fishes he or she will definitely want to do it again if their first experience is a good one. There are new lures and electronics on the market today that do everything short of guarantee that the fish will be jumping in the boat. The name of the game for a child is catching fish; so keep it simple, starting with the basic hook, line sinker and bobber and a worm or minnow which will usually do the trick. Young kids (and adult kids) don’t care what they catch as long as they are catching something because this will keep them coming back.

Yes, the outdoors is a wonderland of entertainment that doesn’t need batteries or a plug-in to be enjoyed. There is no substitute for the enjoyment that I have gotten from sitting around a campfire roasting hot dogs and marshmallows and making s’mores with my kids and grandkids. You can never go back but the memories will last a lifetime.

Until next time; there is still plenty of summer left so take some time to enjoy the great outdoors with a weekend camping trip, do some fishing or just spend a day at one of our areas lakes.

Please take a little time to remember those who served and those who gave the ultimate sacrifice so that we are able to enjoy all the freedoms that we have today. 

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