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As I have written many times before; fall is definitely my favorite time of the year. I always enjoy taking a walk in the woods on a cool, crisp, sunny fall day with the sound of dry leaves crunching underfoot as I inhale the definitive smell of this season; a certain smell that only fall can offer up.

I am looking forward to one last trip north to our cabin before old man winter shows up. The fall colors are peaking in that area right now and although I won’t be there before they are done I will still enjoy the solitude that only a fall day spent in the woods can bring.

If I close my eyes I can almost smell the smoke as it flows gently from the chimney of our cabin. This is one of the smells that I always associate with fall and it gives me the feeling that all is right with the world. The forest offers many distinct odors for my smelling enjoyment. There is the distinct smell that only comes from fallen leaves after a late fall rain shower; there is also not only the smell but the sound of dried leaves crunching beneath your feet as you walk one of the trails that wind through the woods.

I have, over the years, been on many fall fishing trips and I can say that these are some of my fondest memories. There were quite a few years when I would go to Spider Lake for late September and early October fishing trips. This was always made special by the beauty of the lake and if you were lucky enough to be there when the leaves were at their peak it was a sight to behold. As the leaves of the trees that lined the road to Spider turned, the last few miles of the drive gave you the feeling that you were driving through a tunnel of gold. It is hard beat the magnificent beauty of that lake any time but the fall colors just make it that much better.

Fishing in the fall can be fickle at times but if you can find the fish your chances of netting a lunker are very good. Fall is the time when the fish such as walleye and northern are “bulking up” for the long winter ahead. It is a fact that when you find the baitfish you will also find the fish that you are seeking. Once the lake turns over, which is usually right after the first hard frost, the oxygen level is the same throughout the lake and finding the baitfish is the key. Live bait (minnows) and large jerk baits seem to work best in the fall. There are some exceptions, I once knew this muskie fisherman who trolled a large Red Eyed Wiggler as close to shore as possible and with very good results; so there is nothing set in stone when it comes to fall fishing. The only predictable thing about fall fishing is that the fish are seeking that last big meal before the water hardens.

I have had some very good fishing experiences in the fall but, truth be told, I have probably found fishing to be tough more times than not. In my past experiences I have found that spending a lot of time on the lake is the key to finding the fish but when fishing in the fall it is sometimes tough to be on the lake for extended times.

One particular time that comes to mind is when my son Brian and I were staying at Spider in October. Brian was into bow hunting at that time and he would get up early to sit in his tree stand for a couple of hours and then come back to the cabin and have breakfast. After breakfast was finished and he had warmed up we would head hit the lake for a little fishing. This particular week the high temps didn’t reach much above 40-degrees. This made spending a lot of time on the water almost impossible because after about two hours we were ready to head to the cabin and enjoy the heat of the oil heater. We would usually come back to the cabin, warm up and eat  lunch before taking a little nap. Once we’d eaten and were warm and rested we were ready to hit the lake again in search of that elusive fall lunker.

If you have fished much at all you know the feeling of putting your hand in ice cold water and then trying to put a minnow on a hook. When you have the minnow in one hand and the hook in the other and your brain knows what you want to do but your fingers won’t cooperate it’s probably about time to head to the warmth of the cabin.

Although this was one of those times when fish were hard to come by I have to say that it was actually one of the most enjoyable fall fishing trips that I have ever taken. Spending those few days at Spider Lake bonding with my son is a memory that I will always cherish dearly.

Don’t forget that we have some very good fishing lakes in the area and fall bass fishing is usually very good on many of these area lakes.

Until next time, this is a great time to take a drive around the lake or in the country to enjoy the painted beauty of our great Minnesota outdoors. The farmers are now busy harvesting their crops so be aware of any farm machinery that may be on the road and give them a little space.

Please remember to keep our troops in your thoughts and prayers because they are the reason we are able to enjoy all the freedoms that we have today.

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