Great fishing seen in fall

With the cold snap that hit us last week across Sunset Country, the fall season announced its arrival.
It’s always somewhat depressing when summer is winding down because it always goes by so quick—even moreso this year because we got short-changed a little bit with the late winter and spring.
That being said, fall is great time of year, especially for those who enjoy all the outdoor activities that are available this time of year.
One of my favourite fish species to catch during the fall is black crappie. On most of our lakes, they tend to disappear over the summer, except for a few select bays and lakes where they are regularly caught.
My feeling is that crappies disperse in deep weed beds and suspend, where they are hidden from the sonar units most anglers use to find them.
Once the water temperatures start to drop, however, crappies start to head for the deepest holes in the lakes and bays that they live in, where they will spend the winter.
Once they start to congregate in these areas, they are relatively easy to find on our electronics and they usually are in the mood to bite. In most situations, anglers should be looking in 20-35 feet of water.
Though a jig tipped with a minnow is a proven fish catcher, my friends and I seldom use live bait anymore when we fish for crappies. Instead, we opt for jigs tipped with small soft plastics under two inches in size.
One of my favourites is the Northland Impulse 3” Smelt Minnow. Just bite off about an inch to shorten it up and rig it on a 1/8 oz. jig.
Tournament anglers, meanwhile, still have a couple of weeks of action left before things wrap up for another season, and this weekend there are two events taking place.
The Shoal Lake Last Chance Tournament is taking place Saturday and Sunday. Tournament hours are 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. each day and teams can sign up when they get to the tournament site Saturday morning.
And in Nestor Falls, the third-annual Musky Cup is taking place Friday and Saturday on Lake of the Woods. This is a catch, photo, and release tournament so no fish actually are put in a livewell.
Rather, they are caught, measured, and released, with the team that catches the most accumulated inches of fish winning (more information about this event can be found at
There also is a one-day bass tournament being held Sept. 27 at LaBelle’s Camp on Northwest Bay (Rainy Lake). This event is in its second year and has a three-fish limit with a 30-team maximum.
For information about registering, contact LaBelle’s Camp.
The final event on Lake of the Woods goes Sept. 27-28 at Whitefish Bay in Sioux Narrows. This tournament has been going for the past few years and usually gets a pretty good turnout.
Tournament hours are from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. each day, and teams can sign up in the morning of Day 1.
Though these last few events are not as high profile as the tournaments that take place over the summer, they are fun because some of the biggest fish of the season will be caught.
And there are is always some good camaraderie at these smaller derbies.
If you like to catch lake trout, the season is only open until the end up September. They will be starting to move into shallower water and become more active as water temperatures continue to cool.
Meanwhile, musky, pike, and walleye anglers can expect to find great fishing over the coming weeks, as well, so get out there and chase the species of your choice because another long winter is on its way!