This is the best time of the year for family fishing. So many things can be combined into tone trip: fishing, sightseeing, fall color-watching, pumpkin- hunting and even apple picking.

The lake areas around Chicagoland are just beginning to get their fall colors; but just north of Evanston in Wisconsin, areas like Lake Geneva, Lake Delevan and Whitewater Lake are approaching their peak fall color. The fishing is getting better for that family outing, because the traffic on the lakes is much lighter and easier to navigate, the fish are gathering in larger groups in fewer areas making the odds of catching a lot better than they have been.

Whitewater has the advantage of being next to a great state park with a very nice campground – for those looking for a weekend trip. Once outside the populated areas, everyone will be able to really enjoy the fall colors.

A pleasant side-trip would be to stop by one of the many pumpkin patches in the farm country for Halloween pumpkins, a bushel of great fresh local apples, fall squash or other fall vegetables.

For a smaller trip, why not try local Cook County Forest Preserve lakes? This time of year the number of people there is also reduced so the shore fishing areas are more available, and the number of people on the water is almost zero. Busse Lake and Skokie Lagoons are two top choices, with Independence Grove (Libertyville) a close third.

The fall colors here are just beginning to show, with the color peak a couple of weeks down the road, but it is still a great time to plan a family picnic along with the fishing trip.

Fishing reports from both Busse and the Skokie Lagoons are that the bluegills and bass are both beginning to bit again, and nice catches have been reported from the shoreline fishermen.

A report of a few nice walleyes being caught at the lagoons has been enough for me to head out there this week. Fall fishing is some of the best of the year; fewer fishermen and more fish holding in key spots. Add the great fall colors, and really it is hard to beat.

Until next time, keep a tight line.

Visit Dick at hookedonfishing@comcast.net.