Taking time to enjoy some great fall weather

Published 12:13 pm Saturday, November 6, 2010

By Dick Herfindahl
staff writer

As I headed north this past weekend to finish closing up the cabin for the winter, I noticed that the streams and rivers of northern Minnesota were up considerably.

This is a good thing and by the look of things the lakes are getting a much needed late fall boost to their water supply. With ice-over just around the corner, this is a perfect time of year for the water levels to be up. The lakes in the northern part of the state have been in dire need of moisture for the last few years so this is a good thing.

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I can’t believe the fall we have been having; it is almost like you would script it if you were ordering it up from a higher place. It seems like this fall is like the ones I’ve always imagined that we had when I was growing up. I sometimes think that we only remember the good parts and block out the rest. I am totally enjoying these cool, warm sunny days and crisp star-filled nights. Just breathing in the clean and crisp fall air makes a person feel like life is indeed good. Now is a great time to go to a park and take a walk or maybe even wet a line while the waters are still open.

Speaking of wetting a line, from the reports that I’ve heard the walleye fishing in the channel has been pretty good. I guess it depends on who you talk to. Like fishing anywhere, if you’re catching fish the bite is good but if you aren’t the fishing is lousy. To me there is no such thing as fishing being lousy because if you’re fishing it’s already good and if you’re catching, well, that’s just a little bit better.

I’ve spent my share of fall days teasing the fish without much success but even on those days I considered fishing a success. I guess there are some that judge a good time fishing by how many fish are on the stringer or in the live well. I have said it many times, to me; it’s all about enjoying the experience. There are days when the sun is shining and I am at home that I think about sitting on a lake somewhere — anywhere! When I do have this daydream there are usually a few inches of snow on the ground.

I do think that I may have to revise my plan of fishing one of our area lakes for one last open water fling. I haven’t found the time or opportunity to do so and I guess the longer I put it off the less chance there is of doing it. I’m kind of running out of fall but I will be willing to bet that I will at least be making one more cast on the open water before it ices over. Just the thought of doing that very thing is the reason that I always carry a fishing pole in the back of my pickup. It’s just a good feeling to know that it’s there if I feel a need to use it.

I still think back to a few years ago when I was at the campground in Waterville and decided to fish one last time before calling it a year. I trolled the weed edges fishing like I usually do looking to catch whatever fish is willing to partake of the morsel being offered. I was using a “Little Joe” spinner tipped with a minnow at the time, which is what I pretty much consider a ”catch all” system, especially in spring and fall. I no doubt was thinking big fall walleyes but instead started catching some pretty dandy northern. Now over the years I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I will never be writing a “How to” book on walleye fishing so I am usually never disappointed when another species is on the other end of the line. I guess the kid in me enjoys the catching as much or more than the eating part of it. This is not to say that my mouth doesn’t start to water at the though of some golden brown fish fillets blessing my plate with their presence.

With the firearms deer season underway and the pheasant and waterfowl seasons in full swing there is much to be excited about if you’re an avid sportsperson living in our great state. So good luck to all the hunters and have a safe hunting season!

Remember our brothers and sisters who are proudly serving our country so that we can enjoy the freedoms that we have today.

2010 northeastern Minnesota moose hunt results

Minnesota hunters in search of a once-in-a-lifetime bull moose found more success during this fall’s season in northeastern Minnesota, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Of the 213 hunting parties that received a permit to harvest a bull moose, 109 were successful. This year’s success rate of 51 percent was slightly higher than 2009, when 46 percent of eligible hunting parties harvested a bull moose.

Moose hunting is limited to bulls-only, reflecting the DNR’s conservative approach to the moose harvest. The northeast population of moose has been declining for several years, which was reflected in this year’s decision to issue 12 fewer permits than last year.

The season, which opened Oct. 2 and closed Oct. 17 across Cook, Lake and St. Louis counties, got off to a slow start with sunny and unseasonably warm weather conditions during the first 10 days. While leaf watchers and ruffed grouse hunters enjoyed the nice weather, warm temperatures suppressed the rut and kept moose movement generally limited to early and late in the day.

As temperatures cooled, hunters reported good moose rutting activity as bulls pursued cows. The breeding period normally kicks into gear in late September and continues for three to four weeks. Minnesota’s peak rutting occurs the first two weeks of October. Many successful hunters utilized calling to bring their moose within range.

The northeast moose population is estimated at 5,500 animals and the allowable harvest is set at approximately 5 percent of the population, which is divided among state and tribal hunters.