Lodge Life

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Fall Colours, Fall Fishing....

Saturday, October 22, 2011
We have wrapped up another season at Hay Lake Lodge and Cottages.  Some people find the end of fall gloomy, so here is something to think about for next year.  I asked Phil to write about fall fishing: When the brilliant leaves of autumn fall on the hills around Hay Lake most anglers are winterizing their boats and getting ready for  hunting seasons.  But  anglers who don’t put their tackle and boats away at the end of summer can be rewarded with some of the best walleye and smallmouth bass fishing of the year from mid- September to mid- October.  As the day length shortens and the water cools, these fish start feeding actively in advance of the coming winter and they can be found at multiple depths and in a variety of underwater habitat regions. Last weekend a friend spent two days on Hay Lake catching walleye from 3 to 7 lbs. and smallies up to 4 lbs. Although he caught several dozen fish he only kept a few smaller fish for the frying pan and  released alive and unharmed all the larger fish.  The largest fish are the most successful spawners and they make the most significant contribution to the future of a healthy and vibrant fish population in the lake. Because fish grow more slowly in northern latitudes, it is important to carefully release larger fish in order that they can also provide multiple great angling experiences when they are someday caught – and live released – again.   Smaller fish are better eating, more numerous and Hay Lake has plenty of ‘pan sized’ walleye and smallmouth bass. In addition to being able to catch  good numbers of larger fish in the fall, there are a variety of presentations that work in different depths including crankbaits, stickbaits, drop shot rigs with plastics and trolling. Autumn weather at Hay Lake can vary widely from days that are downright hot with some of the most beautiful weather of the year  to days with cold wind and rain - which for those anglers who dress for it find that this weather also causes the walleye to really ‘turn on’ !  I like to think of it this way – the weather in the opening days of fishing season in April and early May is normally a fair bit cooler than what we experience here in the fall. After a long winter most of us can’t wait to get out on the water in the spring so we dress for it and go – and in the autumn  the water and weather  is warmer and the fishing for walleye and smallmouth can be really hot . If you are someone who normally puts the boat away after Labor Day, I suggest you may be missing the best fishing of the year. Give Erin a call and book a fall fishing reservation at Hay Lake. When you get here we can give you the latest information on what the fish are doing. Bring a decent cooler – but remember to put the larger fish back alive and unharmed. The reason Hay Lake has some of the best walleye and smallmouth bass fishing in the region is because most anglers here practice good conservation. If we all do so, we can have great fishing for generations to come.