Ahh yes, fall is in the air.  I can smell change, and it sure smells good.  For the last few weeks we have had one of the warmest Septembers that I can remember.  The weather gal named Belinda said it's one of the warmest on record.  Well, that's all behind us now.  As I sit at the computer I look out the window and the trees are blowing over sideways.  Gusting north winds are finally making fall a reality.  Jackpot!

As I look back at one of the weirdest muskie seasons in my young memory, I only have to wonder what lies ahead.  Fishing has been good, then great, then poor, and back to good again.  All in a matter of a few months.  Now that my favorite time of the year is here, I can only speculate how it will all unfold before the ice forms.  I'm thinking big things, but first I will fill you in on what has been happening lately, and what I anticipate to come.

Our lakes are packed with muskie crazed anglers.  Packed to the point that the fish have actually stopped following a muskie lure to the boat out of sheer curiosity.  The fish that we have been seeing are the ones that end up in the net.  This means that we have really had to pay attention to every detail.  If we get a fish to follow to the boat, odds are it will eat.  The figure 8 has never been so important.  It seems that the days when a muskie would strike 30 yards from the boat are almost gone, and every year the details become more critical.  If you take a nap for even one cast, your chances of converting the fish almost drop to nil.  However, if you master the art of the 8 and are always ready, the rewards have been great.  While this may sound bad, it really isn't.  Once you are able to accept and retain the mindset that you aren't likely to see 30 fish each trip, you can get ready for the few sightings, because they almost always seem to convert into a strike.  And I've got to be honest, it's been fun watching my clients tangle with the toothy critters at boatside.  All the normal baits are still working, but vary the speeds and presentations, and sometimes thinking outside the box will get you a few fish when everyone else continues to fish the same way.  Don't be afraid to experiment!

While it is very clear that the pressure on our lakes have had an impact, there are a couple of positives to look forward to.  The fish still have to eat, which means that if you are in "fishy" areas during their feeding windows, you will still be taking the trophy pictures.  Also, we really have some big fish on the prowl in our waters.  Our lakes are at a peak right now, which means that the chances of a 50 inch caliber fish are out there on every cast.

While the weather turns to fall before our eyes, I anticipate much of the same from the fish.  I'm looking for short feeding windows to be the norm 'til ice up, few follows, more takers, and extremely large rewards.  I'm sure some days will be better than others, but hey, that's muskie fishing, especially in the fall.  And, I'm anticipating a new state record in my boat as I once again start my "quest for the one!"  I hope you stick with us as it all unfolds.  Until the big one strikes again, keep on livin' the dream!

Catch more fish at www.trophyencounters.com

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