If you thought the balmy weather of most of October was going to last this was a tough week for you. This week we got the wakeup call: Winter is on the way. No doubt about that. Between chill temps and snow, freezing rain and biting winds, this week marked the turn to November and, after that, to winter.
Gone now the mild weather, the days of 60 and near 70; here now a taste of the future. We may have a run of warmer weather but if we do it’ll be a tease. This week was for real.
The cold weather has dropped lake temperatures a lot. That is critical for fall fishing in that it marks the time of possible big fish even as fishing conditions take a turn for the worse. We are hearing of good musky action on a lot of lakes but if you fish for muskies keep one thing in mind: You need a very, very slow retrieve.
Speed kills at this time the season and even a moderate retrieve will ill serve you.
Use larger lures, Suicks are made for this time, and move them very slowly. Or just do away with the artificial offerings and rig up a sucker under a bobber. They will be deadly here on out.
Deer action will pick up this week. We are on the leading edge of the key weeks of archery season, the days when the big bucks shake off their lethargy and get serious. This is still the pre-rut but things will start to heat up now. We always like to follow the Field & Stream rut calendar and their first day of note is the 28th when they expect bucks to begin serious searching for receptive does.
Bottom line is that now is the time to get very serious about hunting a big buck.
Upland hunters are seeing more birds these days simply because of the leaf fall.
Conditions are much improved now and grouse cannot count of heavy leaf cover to protect them. You will have a split second more to get off a shot now and that can make all the difference. Woodcock continue their migration and as in any migration you may see big numbers one day, zippo the next, and a new flight the following morning. Look for northerly and westerly winds to move birds in.
Those same winds can bring big flights of ducks down as well. This is a critical time now as ducks will move in larger numbers in the next week. Big water birds, bluebills and redheads and some early buffleheads and goldeneyes will show up now. And mixed in are often some good numbers of big northern mallards. Any waterfowler worthy of the name should have some days off booked.
We are nearing November and the change outside is evident every day. Things will continue to change in the next weeks and with that change can come some very good hunting and fishing.