If you have driven down highway 69 in the past couple of weeks, you would have noticed all of the work going on at the entrance to Pickerel Lake. The DNR has been working on building a new public access that will be useable to boats of all sizes. This will now give many more fishermen access to the lake. I do hope that folks will not abuse the opportunity to fish this lake and keep every northern that they catch.
To me, the best part of fishing this lake is having the opportunity to catch some dandy pike and, in return, being able to practice catch and release. I know that there are a lot of folks who fish strictly for the meat and the rules are clear; three in possession and you may keep only one over 30 inches. Possession means not only in the boat but also in the freezer. Northern are a fun fish to catch and by practicing catch and release, especially on the larger ones, it means a lot of fun for years to come.
We have so many nice lakes available to us in this area of the state so I would hope to visit a couple of my favorites from days gone by just to reminisce and maybe even catch some fish while doing so. I do, from time to time, like to keep a couple of the northern in the 23 to 24-inch range for table fare. I have done the taste test comparison between walleye and northern at different times and it is surprising to note how similar the taste and looks of these fish are once they have been prepared. When you catch a northern in the fall it will usually be a little more filled out as its body stores up food for the winter that lies ahead.
In case you haven’t noticed there is a hint of fall colors that are already starting to show up around the area. You don’t have to travel north to enjoy the many colors of fall as we have an abundance of parks and WMAs that you can visit just to take in the beauty of the area.
Adequate rainfall nearly statewide combined with lots of summer sunshine point to a beautiful fall leaf season.
Every Thursday throughout fall, people can consult the Fall Color Finder to learn more about peak fall color (www.mndnr.gov/fallcolors).
This tool comes courtesy of the DNR’s Parks and Trails Division and features:
• A map that shows peak color across Minnesota.
• A link to fall color programs and events.
• A slideshow.
• A photo uploader that provides a great way for sharing fall photos.
“It’s that time of year again – kids are back in school, evenings are getting cooler, and leaves are changing color,” said Lt. Gov. Tina Smith. “This fall, I encourage Minnesotans to get outside and enjoy fall colors in their state parks. Minnesotans can even use the DNR’s Fall Color Finder to determine when leaves will be most vivid in every corner of the state. I hope to see you on the trail this fall.”
As a general rule, colors typically peak between mid-September and early October in the northern third of Minnesota, between late September and early October in the central third of the state, and between late September and mid-October in the southern third, which includes the Twin Cities.
State park fall programs are listed in the 2017 “Programs and Events” sampler available at state parks and recreation areas, Twin Cities libraries, and at metro outdoor retail stores. The DNR Information Center will mail the brochure if requested. A listing of all fall programs can be found online at www.mndnr.gov/fallcolors.
Until next time, enjoy the nice weather that we are experiencing and take a little time to go for a drive in the country or even visit one of the many parks that we have available to us locally. While you are at it, you may want to throw a fishing pole in your vehicle, just in case you get the urge. What better way to enjoy the fall than watching a bobber bouncing on the waves on a colorful fall day?
Please take some time to honor those who have sacrificed so much for the freedoms that we enjoy today. Also take a little extra time to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice, those who served and those troops that are serving today.