Now that the six best days of summer are behind us it seems that fall is looming in the not too distant future. I have a hard time envisioning fall when we are in the “Dog Days” and the temperatures are in the 80’s; in all reality August is supposed to be the month of hot days and cool nights and it surely is living up to its hype. I have found myself muttering the old ism; “it’s not the heat it’s the humidity” quite a bit these last few weeks but it won’t be long before we are wearing jackets and turning up the heat, so enjoy!
When thinking back to the days when I had a seasonal campsite at Best Point Resort in Waterville the end of summer actually did have some pretty good fishing. Bass and northern fishing seemed to pick up the farther into fall we went and there were many times during the week when I would have Lake Tetonka almost all to myself. This was the season that I very much enjoyed fishing that lake. To have a big lake like that almost exclusively to yourself was an old fisherman’s dream come true. I caught quite a few nice bass and pike on those fall days without hardly ever seeing another boat.
One particular early October day I shared the lake with another fisherman who was fishing by the mouth of the Cannon River and I could tell by the way that he was casting that he must be fishing for bass. As the day went by I caught my limit of nice pike and kept them for what I anticipated to be my last meal of fresh pike for the season. There is nothing better than fish right out of the lake, into the frying pan and onto the table. I figured that I had enough fish to not only make a nice meal for my wife Jean and I but also to share with family. The fillets from three nice pike will indeed feed quite a few folks.
After a week had passed I was reading the Outdoor News magazine which I subscribe to when I came upon an article about a new state record bass that was caught on Tetonka Lake. The story had the time and date that the fish was caught which pretty much confirmed that it was the guy that I’d seen bass fishing on that day. The state record has since been broken but my witnessing that state record catch is, no doubt, the closest that I will probably be getting to any kind of state record.
There are many expert fishermen who will tell you that fall is indeed a time when your chances of catching a personal best fish is the best. For many years my personal best walleye was caught on Spider Lake on the last day of September at 10 o’clock at night. I have since bested that; thanks in part to my brother-in-law Ron who definitely is a hardcore walleye fisherman and has occasionally taken me with him in search of the wily walleye.
I really love being on a lake in the fall and taking in the colors and breathing in that cool, crisp air. I don’t believe that there is a better time of year to be fishing a lake; the jet skis are pretty much put away, and there are no water skiers to contend with. The only ones left on the lake will be a few die-hard fishermen like myself who are trying to get in a little more open water fishing before ice-over. I plan on heading north a couple of more times and I am hopeful that I can fish Spider Lake one more time this year.
I also have hopes of spending a day or two fishing some lakes in the Waterville area in late September or early October, that should be a prime time for bass and pike on many of the lakes in our area. I knew a guy years ago who would fish bass on Lake Francis, right after the first hard frost, using frogs. He had very good luck using that method, he said he would plop the frog on top of a lily pad and wait a few seconds before jerking the line to pull the frog off the pad and into the water. The bass would usually inhale that frog the second it hit the water. He managed to catch quite a few nice bass using that method; I don’t really know what happened to that fellow or where he is today but his method of fishing has stayed fresh in my mind.
My oldest grandson Trevor has fished a few lakes to the west of us this summer and has drawn one conclusion from that. It is that Fountain Lake is a pretty darned good lake that we can fish right in our own backyard. This open water season has yielded some nice fish for him. There is a good variety of fish and not only are the panfish abundant but northern and bass fishing is also pretty good and don’t forget the walleye. The bass fishing has been pretty good all year but it should be even better this fall
Until next time: There is still plenty of open water fishing to be done; we have a great resource right here at home so take advantage of it. A good thing about fishing Fountain Lake is that anyone can wet a line because you can fish from shore pretty much anywhere.
Please take some time to honor those that have sacrificed so much for the freedoms that we enjoy today. Take a little time to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice, those who served and those troops that are serving today.