The fishing reports are getting slimmer as the temperatures drop and stay down overnight. With water temperatures down in the mid-30 degree range on most of our area lakes and streams, the fish are moving to their cold-water homes. Some reports on ice thickness have even begun to come in from some areas, but it is still a little early for ice fishing. Shore fishing is very difficult, however: With the fish heading for deeper water for the winter, it is hard to cast far enough to get to them with a lure. Beck Lake, the north lagoons (#6 and #7) of the Skokie Lagoons and Busse have all been reporting some action with largemouth bass, for those who have access to a small boat, kayak or canoe, but those days are few.

This is a good time to take inventory of equipment and lures – what is broken, what has been lost, what has been depleted – and do a little shopping, as many tackle shops are running year-end clearances in anticipation of the new 2014 models of almost everything. Normally, needs include a bunch of new fishing line, an assortment of terminal tackle (swivels, hooks, small weights, etc.), and repairs or replacement for several fishing rods. This is also a great time to compile a Christmas wish list of items – in case anyone is asking.

Speaking of Christmas lists, next time this column will offer recommendations for Christmas shopping for both the young anglers and the more experienced and a review of the best new gear coming out in 2014.

Until next time…keep a tight line.

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