Fall offers an abundance of outdoor activities

Published 2:00 am Friday, October 9, 2009

It’s the time of the year when we get to enjoy a buffet of outdoor activities. If you don’t find something to keep your interest in the fall then you must lead a pretty quiet life. This is the time of year that you not only enjoy some good hunting and fishing but it’s also a great time to take in the fall colors.

I always looked forward to the beginning of the school year (not that I really looked forward to school) because it meant football, hunting and the changing of the colors. I wasn’t really a big hunter as a youth, but did, on occasion, get to do some hunting. The birds would, no doubt, always look forward to seeing me because I probably entertained them like the guy in the Windex commercial.

Although my hunting prowess was less than spectacular, I still enjoyed being out there and participating. Spending time in the woods or walking a field was a great way for a youth to enjoy a crisp fall day. My dad had a .22 rifle that I used to hunt pheasants, rabbits and squirrels with. There were a few times when I’d get to go along with my older cousins and my uncles. I always liked it when that happened because I’d get to use my Uncle Orv’s .410. We did a lot of hunting back by Coney Island where Bancroft Bay Park is today. My uncle inherited a lot of that land from my grandpa, Turbin Winjum, so we had plenty of places to hunt pheasant, rabbit and squirrel.

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I was never a duck hunter, so my sons had to learn that on their own. Brian, the oldest, is the duck hunter and he has passed that on to his two oldest boys, Trevor and Taylor. Trevor lives to hunt and fish and goes hunting with his uncles whenever he can. Brad my younger son, never did get into duck hunting but he does like to pheasant hunt.

Passing on a love of nature and the outdoors is an important part of our heritage and by doing this we will ensure that it will be there for future generations to enjoy.

Here is a little information on some of the seasons we have for hunting and trapping:

Deer hunt — Archery season: Sept. 19 – Dec. 31; hours: 1/2 hour before sunrise to 1/2 hour after sunset

Small game (rabbits, squirrels) — Sept. 19 – Feb. 28, 2010

Pheasant season — Sept. 10 – Jan. 3, 2010; hours: 9 a.m.-sunset

Gray and Red Fox season — Sept. 24 – March 15, 2010

Badger, Opossum and Raccoon season — Oct. 31 – May 15, 2010

Furbearer trapping – Beaver – south zone — Oct. 24 – March 15, 2010

Furbearer trapping – Mink and Muskrat-south zone — Oct. 31 – Feb. 28, 2010

Furbearer trapping – Otter – southeast zone — Oct. 31 – Jan. 3, 2010

Deer hunt – Firearm opener — Nov. 7; hours: 1/2 hour before sunrise to 1/2 hour after sunset.

Deer hunt – Muzzleloader season — Nov. 28 – Dec. 13


The October meeting of Southern Crossroads Chapter 54 of Muskies Inc. will be Wednesday Oct. 14 at 7 p.m. at the Eagles Club in Owatonna. Our speaker will be Dick Streater with a presentation on old fishing lures and collectables. Also a fishing comedian. Come laugh and learn. Our second speaker will be a representative from Upper Great Plains Chapter, in northwest Iowa. Come hear about their musky lakes.

Keep Dec. 2 open for our third annual ‘Money For Muskies’ banquet.

Our speaker will be Bob Mehsikomer, of the “Simply Fishing” TV show. He educates people on fishing techniques, correct times and locations and secrets for finding and catching big fish, etc. More info call 1-507-451-7227. Chicken and barbecue ribs dinner. Door prizes, raffles, silent auction. Tickets $20, must be purchased on or before Nov. 24.

Our meetings are the second Wednesday of every month. We have informative speakers, updates, raffle and door prizes. Plus good conversation about what and where it is working. Visitors interested in musky fishing are always welcome. Check us out, bring a friend and help improve musky fishing in Southern Minnesota. Go to our web sight www.michapter54.com.

A few Outdoors reports from around the state:

Albert Lea — Albert Lea and Fountain lakes are producing lots of perch and bass. Anglers having the most success are using leeches and black lures in the shallow waters. The catfish and crappie action has slowed somewhat.

Baudette/Lake of the Woods and the Rainy River — Rainy River water temperatures are 65 to 67-degrees. More fall-like weather should result in an emerald shiner run up the Rainy River in the near future, followed by an increase in walleye activity. Walleyes are being caught just outside of the Lighthouse Gap in 28 feet of water on gold and silver spinners with crawlers. During evening hours, fish are biting in depths of 16-18 feet north of Graceton in reef around the rocks. Many boats are starting to anchor and jig in Four Mile Bay and at the mouth of the Rainy River. Around the Northwest Angle and Islands area, the best fishing spots seem to be those that were best in July and August, including areas around McPherson Island, Tug Channel and Johnston Passage. For the most fish, hit 15-25 feet of water using minnows on a gold, glow-in-the-dark, or brightly colored jig.

Bemidji — The first frost of the season just hit, and the leaves are changing color rapidly — fall color should be excellent for the next couple of weeks! The surface water temperatures have dropped into the lower 60s and colder, sending most species of fish into their fall patterns. Walleyes have become more active, with many walleyes dropping off the sides of the structure into depths of 20-30 feet in the deeper lakes. In the large, shallow lakes, such as Winnibigoshish, Upper Red, and the main basin of Leech, walleyes are biting in 6-12 feet of water. Fishing is best in these shallow lakes when winds are calm or light. Northern pike and muskies are often concentrated in very specific areas which anglers must locate to have success. Surface activity, such as swirls in the water, will often give away the locations of the predators chasing pre-spawn tulibees in the shallows. Bass will begin to school more tightly on the outside edge of the weeds. Crappies can be found at the hard bottomed areas in deeper water, and may also be suspended over deep water near structure. Stay vertical over the fish and use electronics to catch these suspended crappies. Perch are at the shallow flats in the large shallow lakes, and in the deeper water in the deep lakes, often with the walleyes. Sunfish anglers should look for the last stands of healthy green weeds, and if the sunfish cannot be found here, check the moderate depth mud flats off the sides of the areas where the sunfish were located this summer.

Brainerd/Nisswa Area Lakes — Walleyes remain active on Upper Whitefish, Pelican and many of the smaller area lakes. Anglers report that lindy rigs tipped with redtails or nightcrawlers are working extremely well in 18-22 feet of water. The water temperatures remain warm, but more seasonable fall weather should cause them to drop. Bass can be found deeper along the submerged humps. Northern pike remain active along the weedlines, hitting spinner rigs with pike minnows. Panfish and crappies are hitting waxworms and angle worms in depths of 14-16 feet.

Isle/Onamia/Lake Mille Lacs — Fall weather has arrived, and the water temperatures are now dropping. Look for the walleyes to become more active in the shallows, especially since the last full moon. Expect water temperatures to dip into the low 60s and high 50s in the coming weeks. At this time, anglers typically switch to trolling crankbaits through the shallow reefs. Muskie action remains slow due to an abundant forage base. Smallmouth bass continue to bite, with anglers doing well when shallow reef sight fishing or fan-casting crankbaits. The perch bite will heat up in the south bays once the water temperatures approach 55-degrees.

Until next time hunt safe, keep fish’n and, as always, take a little time to enjoy our great Minnesota outdoors.

Remember to keep our troops in your thoughts and prayers throughout the year.