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Fall issue on stands now

(photo by Steve Weisman) Greg Harson, Law Enforcement Supervisor for conservation officers in District 1, visits with members of the IGLFC at the annual fall meeting. 

Reflections on Iowa Great Lakes Fishing Club’s annual fall...

November 14, 2016 Comments (0) Fishing Notebook, Home Page

The Season for Monsters

By Paul Malm

Well, it seems like the summer flew by pretty fast this year…as they always seem to do…but as the years pass, they seem to go by quicker and quicker. It’s just another reminder that we are not getting any younger, unfortunately!! A great reason to make sure we take the time to get out and enjoy the outdoors as much as we can. This past summer season was full of fantastic fishing and fun!! Many very big fish were caught, of all kinds! The numbers of fish were impressive too! Now, the weather has been changing, the harvest is in full swing, and we are in Monster Season!!

‘Tis the season for ghosts and goblins of all kinds….not just the clowns that have been in the news lately. The time of year to curl up with a bowl of popcorn, turn the lights off, and watch a favorite spooky movie. A little hair-raising on the back of the neck can be a lot of fun! Not only are the spooks and ghouls on the TV, and soon to be roaming the streets and neighborhoods on Halloween,…this is also the time of year when there are lots of monsters hungrily lurking below the surface of the waters, too!
Most fish are putting on the feed-bag right now, in order to fatten up for the coming winter. This is a perfect time to get out for the the big trophy fish, the “monsters”, that can also raise the hair on your neck! Latching into a huge fish can be a lot more exciting than that spook movie on the tube! The really big ones are out, and eating big meals. Do not be afraid to get out the big lures and heavy gear! You will be surprised at how big of a meal they want at this time of year! I was out fishing with a client last weekend, and I caught a 33 inch pike, a fairly large fish, and it had fresh, bleeding wounds from a much bigger fish that tried to eat it!! It was missing a pretty good chunk of it’s tail, and had deep wounds from big teeth down the sides of the fish…..all fresh wounds! How big is the monster that tries to eat a meal that big??

Lately, because of the time of year and water levels, most of my clients have been looking for Northern Pike. The walleye bite is on, too,…and not only good numbers,..but a few monsters there as well. A 27 incher made it to the net recently….a very nice walleye! It was released right away, healthy and no worse for the experience. As the local water levels in the river come down, the walleye fishing will just get better and better as we get closer to winter. Big sauger and saugeye, too!

Pike are one of my favorite fish to chase,… not only for the fury and fight of the average fish, and the fact that they make great table-fare, but they are a fish that can grow to monster sizes! This year we have been getting many large pike, that have been all they way up to 41 inches! Musky sized monsters! In the last issue of Northwest Iowa Outdoors, we covered some of the basics for pike fishing. If you missed it, or if you can’t find the issue, you can look it up on-line. Just look up Northwest Iowa Outdoors! Those particular articles were in the July issue.

Normal gear for pike is fine, but if you are after the big creatures of the black lagoon, you might want to beef up your presentation. You can cast your musky baits and they will be taken….and who knows?….you may end up with a huge musky on the end of the line! That, in itself, can be a frightening experience for some. But in a very good way! There is a lot of reason for your knees to shake when you latch into a big one! These fish can eat monster baits, so be ready!

Along with all the big pike we have been getting in the rivers, several muskies have been hooked, too. It seems, however, that they have had a knack for getting into sunken snags, fallen trees, and going air-born…throwing the hook. That is musky fishing! There have been many lost fish that were in the 40’s…..and several smaller fish that did make it into the net. Just the other day, I caught a smaller musky. I took a picture as fast as I could, so I could get it back in the water quick. With no tape measure close, I took off my boot for reference, took a quick pic, and released the fish. My boots are 20inches tall, so that little musky would have measured around 25 to 27 inches or so. Still fun,…and any musky is a good musky! It is nice to know that there are smaller ones in the water. That means spawning and stocking have been successful locally.

We have even caught small fish from this year’s spawn. Little pike around 10 inches that have taken lures while walleye fishing, and little muskies around 6 inches doing the same.

So, take advantage of this time of the year, and get out and do a little monster hunting while the fishing is very good! It will not be long before that fluffy white stuff will be on the ground, and there will be regrets for not getting out soon enough. The sport is there, and so are the beasts of the dark water! Don’t miss out on the frightening fun! The ice will be here soon…and that is another scary tale……

To all you who chose to hunt the season’s monsters….Good Luck and Be Safe!!

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