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For some fishermen Labor Day marks the end of fishing season. For others it is the start of trophy fish time. The fall season is one of the best times of the year for trophy-size fish catches for a number of reasons: Water and air temperatures are falling, the barometer readings are holding steadier, the fishes’ internal clocks are signaling the coming of winter, and bait fish are moving around, looking for the remaining food sources.

This is the time of year for big baits; both live and artificial are the baits of choice. Good live baits are red-tail chubs, black-tail chubs, or suckers that are about 6″ long. Berkley Alive chubs in the same size are a good alternative. Crank baits should also be the large variety; – #9 Shad Raps, #11 Rapalas and 3/4 oz Storm Hot-n-Tots are all good choices for fall fishing. Look for water temperatures from the low 50s to the mid-60s. The preferred method for hunting down the trophy fish is to troll either type of bait. It is good to start in the warmest water, which will probably be at a depth of 5-6 feet of water, and slowly work out to the deeper water. The fish will dictate the right speed for trolling, but start with 1½ mph and move up to 3 mph. The reward for trolling this way could be a trophy bass, northern, walleye or musky, They are all on the prowl for a “fall dinner.”

The fishing reports from around the area are all very promising. Busse Lake reports the water is up over 2 feet from the recent rains, and the bass are very active in the shallows with some nice 2- and 3-lb. fish being caught and released. Delavan Lake has been producing really nice catches of bluegills and crappies, using ice jigs tipped with wax worms. Most lakes have had their turnover period, so fishing is good and getting better. It is time to enjoy the coming fall colors and some really good fishing. Until next time…keep a tight line.

Contact Dick at hookedonfishing@comcast.net.