Fishing in the fall can be rewarding

Published 10:05am Saturday, September 24, 2011

About a week ago I received a call from a gentleman from New Richland named John Hohansee and he asked me if I had time to talk.

I said I’d take time and then I found out that he has been reading my columns and said that he’d vacationed in the same area of northern Minnesota where our cabin is and in fact his family had a cabin near there. His cabin, like ours, was rustic with no water or electricity and it was built out of logs by his father and some friends. It was enjoyable talking to him and finding out about some of the lakes that he has fished and where they are located. I could tell just by just by our conversation that he really loved that area, but in recent years because of health issues, he hasn’t been able to visit the area he seemed to enjoy so much.

It’s always fun to talk to other people who enjoy the outdoors as much as I do and see how much you have in common with them. I feel that anyone who has a true love of the outdoors shares a common bond with most other sportsmen. It’s kind of like the time I attended the first ever Governor’s Hunting Opener when Jesse was “King” of Minnesota. Although I am not a deer hunter I still felt the passion that these hunters had not only for the sport but for the tradition of it and for sharing their love of the outdoors with family and friends.

It seems to me that this area of the state has appealed to a lot of our local residents for quite some time. In fact, I know of quite a few folks who have cabins in that area so I guess that the edge of the wilderness thing appeals to more folks than just me and my family. I feel that I sometimes look at it as an escape from the fast-paced reality of the world we live in today.

I may not get to enjoy the fall colors of the north woods when they are at their peak there this year but I will be heading there in mid-October with my son Brian. I told him that we’d still be able to enjoy the colors but we’d probably have to look to the ground to see the leaves instead of the sky. I am really looking forward to spending that time in the woods where the only electronic device is an old portable radio.

As the leaves turn in our area I will definitely be enjoying the beauty of the fall here and there are plenty of places to visit right around here that will satisfy anyone’s desire for fall colors. We have a lot of WMA land around, and there are still plenty of woods that can be enjoyed by driving on some of our back roads. White’s Woods Park near Twin Lakes can be pretty in the fall and just driving around Albert Lea Lake can be enjoyable.

Fall fishing can sometimes be pretty good if you are shore fishing by the access on South Shore Drive. Just like any lake, it can be fickle in the fall but if you hit it at the right time it can be pretty darned good. I always love fall fishing when the leaves are at their peak. There is nothing better than sitting on a lake enjoying the colors on a cool crisp fall morning. Oh, by the way the chance of catching a good fish is usually enhanced in the fall.

Fish tend to start storing up food for winter in late fall because their metabolism seems to slow down during the winter months and they need to build up that body fat. The perch bite in the channel by Frank Hall Park is a prime example of that because there is a certain window of opportunity when the perch go on a fall feeding binge. You’ll be able to tell when that happens by the sudden emergence of local fishermen. This can be a fun time not to mention a very rewarding time for the palate. The rule of thumb that some of the wise old fishermen went by was that the fishing would be best after the first hard frost. I first heard this as a youth from an elderly gentleman who was always known to catch his share of fish. The “old timers” as we called them had an anchor rope marked off for a depth finder and followed simple signs of nature for catching fish, and it worked pretty well for them.

I have found Lake Tetonka in Waterville to be a pretty good lake for late fall northern fishing. It was quite a few years ago now that I last fished the lake in late fall but I still have some good memories of that time. On one particular day I found that trolling the weed edges next to deep water with a jig and minnow was a “killer” for some really nice pike. Although I’ve not been a big fan of eating white bass there are some nice ones in the lake, and they are sure fun to catch. Largemouth bass are another species that can be found in this lake and you may even catch that lunker you’ve been seeking. I do think that I may have to try some late fall fishing on Tetonka this year just for old time sake.

I always seem to have big plans for that last cast before the water turns hard and my jig goes bouncing across the ice. For some reason no matter how much I fish I always have that unfulfilled feeling that I need to make just one more cast.

Until next time try a little fall fishing and enjoy our great Minnesota outdoors.

Please remember to keep our troops in your thoughts and prayers during the coming year.

Dick Herfindahl’s column appears each Sunday in the Tribune.