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My grandson, Trevor, is a true outdoors person who can switch from fishing to hunting, back to fishing and then hunting all the way up until ice-over. Once the hunting season is over, he is thinking ice fishing. The early goose and early duck hunting seasons are now closed for a couple of weeks. The duck hunting season in the southern part of the state is closed for 12 days, and reopens Saturday, Oct. 14, and runs through Sunday, Dec. 3.

Last week my son, Brian, daughter-in-law Kim and Trevor were up at our cabin for the week. It was a combination fishing, hunting and enjoying the fall colors trip. The fishing on our little lake was very good for them, and they did get a couple of ducks but did not see any grouse. The grouse population is supposed to be up in the area and usually we see plenty of them in the woods right around our cabin, but this year they didn’t spot one. Most of the leaves were still on the trees, so this could be a contributing factor to not seeing any of those tasty feathered friends.

In years past, I have gone north with Brian and his boys over MEA vacation. This was usually a little later in the month, and the emphasis was mainly focused on duck and grouse hunting. Going north a little earlier can make the fishing a little better but the ducks can be a little harder to find.

This coming weekend my son, Brad, and I are heading north for about five days. My grandson Dylan, Brad’s son, and his friend Liam will join us Friday night for a few, days of fishing and hunting. Dylan and Liam are both attending St. Cloud State and have a break on Monday and Tuesday. Dylan is anxious to do a little fishing, and I had promised him that we will go to Spider Lake for a day hoping for a little musky action. The fall colors on Spider should be at peak or a little bit past.

Fall is my favorite time of year to be on any lake, but Spider is not just any lake – it is my favorite. I like this lake not only for its fishing, but for its beauty. If I were to choose a lake that represents northern Minnesota in the fall, this would be it. I am a little biased because of the many years that I have spent fishing this lake. Although it is not noted for any one particular species, when the crappies are biting it can be a blast. We usually fish for northern, musky and bass and I usually like to dedicate a little time to walleye fishing. I have to admit that I sometimes get carried away and spend too much time seeking them. It is OK to spend a day or two hunting them when you are staying there but when it is a day trip, a person has to be willing to fish for what is biting.

The key to fishing Spider is flexibility because there is so much structure a person needs to adjust to the variables. Weather has always had an effect on what fish are active on this lake and you should not be wasting your time on a dead zone where there are no fish. For years, I fished this lake with only my knowledge of the lakes structure and no locator. This was not always by choice but by necessity.

Years ago my Uncle Ben had sold me his “green box” locator because he didn’t use it and he had actually bought it without telling my Aunt Marcie. Now Marcie liked to fish and I have a feeling that she would probably have been cool with it but in those days you usually didn’t make any large investments without first conferring with your spouse. This was especially true when it came to buying fishing equipment that was not a lure or bait which were considered necessities. I don’t believe that Marcie ever did find out that Ben had a fish locator hidden in his garage.

Fishing Spider was going to be easier now with my new green box “depth finder” and I was excited to see it work. Well, it did work, for a time, and each time that I took it north it worked for a couple of days before quitting. I ended up sending it in to get fixed on three different occasions. The last time that I sent it in it returned to the house on a summer evening by way of UPS. It came in a new locator box and Bob, a friend of mine, who had just stopped by to talk fishing said that they must have replaced it with a new one. As I excitedly opened the box I was feeling good about the fact that they had finally done the right thing. To my surprise, as I looked inside; there in all of its ugliness was that old green box staring up at me. There was a note attached to it telling me that the motor was shot and that they couldn’t fix it. My heart sank, but then I soon realized that I would no longer be heading north with high hopes of using this locator only to be disappointed once again. This was little consolation but it did mean that I would now be buying a new flasher. My Eagle Silent 30 flasher served me well for many years. It still worked right up until the squirrels chewed the end off of my transducer cable and I had no way to fix or replace it. I loved using that flasher which is more than I could say for that green box.

Until next time, I’ll be heading north for a few days to enjoy some outdoors time with my son and grandson. I can’t wait to spend a day of fishing on Spider with them.

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.

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