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One of the best times of the year for fishing is just beginning. As the weather begins to transition from summer to fall, the days are warm but the nights and mornings are cool; the fish start to move into their fall patterns on most of our lakes. This is also a great time to be out there because the lakes haven’t begun to turn over, which will slow things down for a few weeks.

Fall brings a lot of the fish, including the big ones, into shallower water, making them more catchable for shore fishing. As the weeds begin to die off and the beds thin there is less cover for the smaller fish and easier forage for the larger ones. This is a great time to hook up with a big pike in a lot of area lakes because, though pike spend most of the year down in the deep, cooler water, they are now up cruising the shallow weed beds looking for a meal. Depending on the water, fishing the shallow water will continue to improve as the fall progresses.

The fall of the year is also one of the best times to plan a family outing: Fishing is great this time of year, the weather is usually pretty comfortable, the bugs are not a problem and the fall colors will begin to show in a few more weeks. If time is available and school schedules allow for a long weekend – or even better, a week – northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan offer some wonderful small lakes and chains of lakes with some amazing fishing. The resorts this time of year also offer great post-Labor Day rates, and the fall colors should peak in the next four to five weeks. It’s hard to beat great fishing, fabulous fall colors and family.

If time does not allow that extensive a trip, several other closer areas are good for weekend trips. Illinois River (Starved Rock), Lake Shelbyville (near Mattoon, Ill.), Big Green Lake, Wis., and Lake Winnebago (near Oshkosh, Wis.) all have resorts, boat rentals and camp grounds for families. If a day trip is all you can squeeze in, try the local hotspots: Independence Grove, Busse Lake, Skokie Lagoons and, of course, Lovelace Park.

Let’s get out there and fish. Until next time keep a tight line.

Visit Dick at hookedonfishing@comcast.net.