Fall is a great time of year for sportsmen

Published 12:39 pm Saturday, October 5, 2013

Column: Woods and water, by Dick Herfindahl

I’ve stated many times that fall is my favorite season, and nothing has changed in that department. The fall colors in the northern part of the state are getting close to peaking in some areas, and half of the state’s leaves are at least 50 percent turned. Although the weather is always unpredictable in the fall — and at times it can even seem to be the poster child for sudden change — it’s still a great time to be outdoors. One thing I really enjoy doing in the fall is taking a drive in the country to enjoy the transition of colors. I found that it can also be therapeutic and a great way to get some relief from any stress you may have built up. I looked back a few years to a day when I arrived home from work feeling a little stressed out. On the spur of the moment, I decided to take a little drive with no particular destination in mind. As I pulled out of the driveway, I decided to visit a few of our country roads that I hadn’t driven on for many years. Along the way, I spotted a fox in a freshly picked cornfield digging for field mice or some other critter that was trying to avoid being its supper. After watching the fox, I moved on and saw a couple of red-tailed hawks, the usual crows and an eagle. As I drove around the countryside, observing the natural beauty of a nice fall afternoon and observing some of nature’s creatures at work, I got that life is good feeling that the simple things that nature shares with us can give you. That was the stress reliever that I was looking for, and it worked like a charm.

There have been many fall fishing trips for this writer over the years, and I found that this is when you really need to be prepared for change. Looking back, I’m reminded of a time when a friend of mine and I took a fall trip to a little lake north of Marcell not far from where I now have a cabin. On our first day of fishing it was cool, cloudy and a little rainy with temperatures in the low 60s. The fishing was good, and we thought we’d hit it at the right time. The next morning, we awoke to sunshine and calm winds, which helped the temperatures soar into the mid 80s. Guess what? The fishing followed the cold front out of the area, and we were hard-pressed to catch a fish the rest of the trip. I believe that fall fishing can be affected by weather more than any other season, or maybe I just haven’t figured it out yet.

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Fall is also the time of year when I start to think about muskies. The thought of having one of the toothed ones on the other end of my line still gets the adrenaline flowing. I love to troll for them. Although, I’ve probably caught more of them while casting. Both tactics can give a person the ultimate fishing thrill. I’ve always thought that speed trolling a big lure and almost having your rod ripped out of your hands when a big musky hits it was the ultimate thrill. On the other hand, I can’t think of a better fishing experience than casting a lure and having a big fish explode out of the water at the exact time the lure hits the water.

I’m planning a fall trip to the cabin with my grandson Dylan with hopes of maybe doing a little musky fishing. Like I stated earlier, the weather can have an effect on outdoor activities in the fall, but it can never dampen the experience of spending time up north with a grandson. I have spotted quite a few grouse in the area of our cabin this past summer, so we may even get in a little hunting while we are there.

Musky talk

The October meeting of Southern Crossroads Chapter 54 of Muskies Inc. will be at Eagles Club in Owatonna at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Our guest speaker will be Dennis Lappen vice president of Muskie Innovations. Muskie Innovations is a manufacturer and supplier of big game rods and the famous Bull Dog, Invader, and Jimmy lures. Our meetings are the second Wednesday of every month, and they include informative speakers, updates, raffle and door prizes and musky talk. Attendees don’t need to be members. Bring a friend and help improve musky fishing in Southern Minnesota.

Please remember to keep our troops in your thoughts and prayers because they are the reason we are able to enjoy all the freedoms that we have today.

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