Column: Savoring the final days of summer

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 30, 2003

This is the last big weekend of summer &045; the official final hurrah of the summer vacation season for this year.

I have always welcomed the official entrance into the fall months with the feeling that the best is yet to come.

The summer seemingly has saved its warmest weather for last and I guess I am ready for some jacket weather. I do know that about the second week of February I’ll be longing for the heat of the summer but for now I’ll settle for enjoying the fall weather when it arrives.

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I can remember one year when my old neighbor Gene and I planned a late September fishing trip to Spider Lake. It seemed like the weather stayed super hot up until the day we left. When

we arrived at the lake it was cold and

rainy. That didn’t stop us from hitting the lake as soon as we set up camp.

During the week the weather took several turns, as it often does in the fall. One minute you would be on the lake enjoying the warmth of the late fall sun and the next you would be seeking cover from the sudden storms that would pass quickly through the area bringing wind and snow.

It seems like the sun always feels a little warmer in the fall. I guess there is something special about being in the crisp air that always puts a little extra spring in my step.

I plan on taking a few more weekend fishing trips this fall and hope that warm sun on the crisp fall days is there to enjoy.

I have said it before but I guess I always spend my falls with the idea of taking that one last fishing trip before the ice covers the lakes. Sometimes it happens and sometimes it just almost happens but the plan is always there to keep me interested.

As for the late hot summer days we have left it is a good bet that there are bass to be had. I would try fishing them the same as we fished the lakes up north a couple weeks ago with good results. Try casting jigs and plastics along shallow weedlines and open pockets. This is a technique used by many fishermen with good results.

I prefer a jig 1/16 oz. with a Berkely power grub or any scented 3-inch twister tail. If I use an ultra light I will go with a 1/32 and if necessary to help make a better cast I will use a split shot about 12-18 inches up from the jig head. Small spinners or crankbaits also work well at times.

This is an exciting time to fish because if you find them they will usually be aggressive. Not only does this method yield some nice bass but it can also entice a walleye or northern.

Now that I’ve talked about fishing it’s time to do more than talk and &uot;Just do it!&uot;

&uot;Good Luck and Good FIshin.’&uot;

Here are a few reports from lakes around the state:


Bluegill anglers are reporting success on Lake Ida and the Le Homme Dieu Chain of Lakes. Crappies are active just outside the weedlines on most area lakes.


Clearwater Lake is producing sunnies in 10-15 feet of water at the outside edge of the weedlines. The best approach has been a small panfish jig tipped with a small leech or waxworm. Cedar Lake has been good for a few walleye. For crappies, hit Lake Sylvia using a jig tipped with a small minnow, with fish found suspended off the deeper drop-offs. Northern pike are being pulled from Clearwater Lake.


Lake Plantangennatte is giving up numbers of muskie, with reports of one angler catching four fish on smaller crankbaits. Muskie action has also been good on Bemidji and Big Lakes.


Walleye action remains strong on Gull, Round, and the Whitefish Chain of Lakes, especially at the wind-blown points and inside corners of the major weed flats. Walleye are holding just off the weeds in 14-20 feet of water.


Sunfish are being pulled from 10-12 foot depths on Chisago Lake. Try topwater baits during evening hours on Chisago and South Center Lakes for numbers of largemouth bass.


On Lakes Kabetogama and Namakan, walleye are being pulled from 14-32 feet of water on artificial lures worked on the vertical slope.


On Rainy Lake, walleye are being pulled from 25-26 feet of water on minnows worked at the tops of the reefs. Nightcrawlers are producing some fish as well. Try a small, lightly colored hook or jig for the most fish. For smallmouth bass, use tube jigs or jerk baits and cast toward the rocky shorelines.


On the St. Croix River, sauger fishing dominates the area south of Stillwater. For the most fish, try trolling 17-24 foot depths using hammered, bronze-bladed spinners tipped with nightcrawlers. Wide wobble action crankbaits also continue to produce fish. Some anglers report success vertically jigging silver or dark-colored hair jigs tipped with a nightcrawler. Catfish are hitting chicken livers, stinkbaits and nightcrawlers.

feet of water at the weed edges.

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(Dick Herfindal is the Tribune’s outdoors columnist.

His column appears Sundays.)