The Fall Fishing/Hunting Dilemma
And Then There is the Wind!

Harbor Angler Report, October 22nd Photo

If you are a person who peruses outdoor activities such as hunting and fishing, the Fall season can be tough in Door County. There seems to be such an embarrassing excess of options that decisions on where to focus your efforts can be daunting. Take the hunting opportunities to start. There is the bow deer hunting, small game such as squirrels and rabbits (yea, I know they are cute, but delicious), varmints (plenty of coyote to cull), upland game (I've seen a lot of grouse and some pheasant), waterfowl (on the water and in the corn fields) not to mention turkeys (please don't tell anyone that there is a fall turkey hunt). And don't get me started on the fishing options (oops, too late). Fall run salmon, browns, smallies, northerns, perch, walleye; so many fish, so little time. Add to all that the complications of having a job and maybe even a social life and a family and, well, you can see the problem with having only 24/7 to work with.

My decision process on how to spend my Fall hours is a little less problematic for in the words of the esteemed sportsman Sir Isaac Walton, "I sir, am a brother of the angle." Sure I spend some time waiting for the occasional turkey to walk in front of my shotgun, but only as a diversion or when there are 10-footers on the lake, as was the case earlier this week. My only decisions are what piscatorial species I am targeting and where. The where is pretty much dictated by the winds. This week was a good case in point. For much of the week, the wind howled from the south, then the west, then the south again. This eliminated any offshore opportunities like salmon out on the lake or walleyes on the bay. I was limited to finding corners of the lakeside bays to cast for northerns and bass. Zombies in the harbor and local creeks were an option as well. There are still some of them around. But for much of the week, I sat in the woods waiting for tom.

I did manage a few hours of casting and had some limited success. The northerns are still hitting. The trick is to find water that is not all riled up with mud and silt, northerns being sight feeders and all. I picked up a 33"er and a smaller one that I fileted for dinner. I also got a couple of bonus smallies, one 19" the other 18.5". They hit the #11 silver Countdown Rapala I was casting for pike. This is a good reminder that the smallmouth bass are on their pre-winter feeding binge and are looking for bigger food. As soon as the winds allow, the bay side should be producing some of the larger fish of the year.

Finding a window in the weather will be the problem. After the unusually warm weather of the last couple of weeks, we are returning to "normal" next week. This normal will feel pretty cool after the relative sauna we have experienced this Fall. With this transition will come "active weather". This is the euphemism the National Weather Service uses for what most people would call "crappy weather". Besides a couple of bouts of rain this week, we are going to get some mighty stiff winds, particularly on Tuesday. Here is an excerpt for todays' NWS Forecast Discussion:

"The strongest wind gusts are expected across northern Door County due to deeper mixing off the warmer waters of the bay of Green Bay and funneling through Deaths Door. Gusts over 40 mph are possible, but could be even higher depending on the outcome of the phasing of the northern and southern stream systems. 12z model run from yesterday morning would have suggested gusts of 50 to 60 mph."

Oh man, it sure looks like those walleyes and bass on the bays side are going to get yet another reprieve from my assault. The turkeys on the other hand, well that's a different story.


Tight Lines, Bruce

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