Outside Chance: Fall Preview

By Jack Payne

Labor Day is around the corner and that brings a ton of options for the outdoor enthusiasts. Fishing will get better and as the temperatures drop, morning outings will become the best. Salmon and fall steelhead will start running up the rivers and excellent fishing from a small boat, shore or the pier will be available. 

Trolling or drop shooting plugs and body baits is one option, casting spoons or spinners a second great choice. If on the pier and to some extent along the banks of a river anglers can fish two rods. One rod should be fished with spawn, roe or frozen smelt.

A three way rig works well but an inline sinker placed above a barrel swivel is my favorite. Pier fishing is my choice, I love the breeze and the camaraderie of other anglers. Calm seas requires a 4 to 5 foot lead. Windy days go with a 2 or 3 foot lead. Heavier the seas, the shorter the lead. 

We most often use a 2 ounce pyramid sinker that slides up and down the line using the barrel swivel as a stop. We then tie on a fluorocarbon leader as previously stated. Place the rod into a rod holder and cast with the other rod.

Little Cleo spoons and Kastmaster spoons are the favorite but here are two other spoons that you should always carry: the PK Flutter spoon and the Hopkins spoons. Both are deadly spoons that can be cast and reeled in or popped off of the bottom. Both are excellent on walleye, pike, whitefish, bass and the salmon.

September can be one of the best months for bluegill and crappies. As the water cools but before the fall turnover, check out the shallows. Hit the docks and the swim rafts, check out the beaches and be on the move. Pods of fish will migrate from the deeper summer haunts into the shallower water chasing down forage.

Shallow water fish are best fished with a Carlisle Slip float and either a Black Gnat, Hot Legs Spider or plastic Whip R Snap bait tipped with a spike or a wax worm. Deep water schools of fish are targeted in a vertical manner with the same baits but move a bit slower than during the summer.

September also kicks off the hunting season – small game, grouse and turkey season all open. The DNR has many grouse areas specially managed and their web site will show each location across the state.

Fall turkey hunters can harvest a turkey of choice and the DNR uses the fall season to thin down the number of hens. Turkeys will be in flocks, sometimes as many as 30 or 40 birds. If you know their travel routes you can intercept them. 

Otherwise, walk slowly looking for a flock. Once found run as fast as you can toward the flock making tons of noise. The goal is busting the flock up into many small groups. Then sit down and start calling with the kee-kee sounds. The flock slowly will come back together.

Archery season is only 5 weeks out. Stands need to be hung.

Nuts and bolts and squeaks oiled, tightened, etc. safety straps and harnesses checked out. This might be the season where a safety line is used when climbing up and down from your tree. You can buy one and then copy it to make others, or check out rock climbing for this special knot. You will not fall climbing up or down from your stand if you use your safety climbing rope.

Bows should be tuned and cleaned. Arrows and bolts checked out. New broad heads installed. Clothing de-scented. Hunters should do some preseason scouting which can be done while chasing squirrels or turkeys.  All in all, a busy fun-packed early fall awaits.