Quick Start, Slow Finish

The fall season is upon us! The mornings are cool and crispy, the air feels so refreshing. The leaves are changing colors and the scenery is looking better every day. Plus, there is that added benefit of a promising fall fishing season. After a summer of hard fishing conditions, this fall season would seem to be a literal breath of fresh air! But will the fish cooperate between now and early Nov. when early ice season starts in the Black Hills is anyone's guess at this point.

I decided to make a return to Stockade Lake as I was hoping that the bass and pike in it would have started returning to the shallow weeds to begin feeding heavily in preparation for winter. The cold nights and mornings should start cooling down the water and precipitate their moving back into these areas. Armed with an assortment of topwater lures, swimbaits, and spinnerbaits, I was confident as I launched my pontoon. And the action came quick!

Casting a Northland Tackle Tandem Weed Runner spinnerbait near a spot where a sheer rock face met weeds, the lure was smashed hard after only a few cranks on my Piscifun Flame reel! Thanks to the power of the St. Croix Mojo Bass rod I have been using, I was able to keep the bass from diving back into the thicker weeds around and bring the fish into deeper water. After some more fighting, the largemouth swam into my Clam Outdoors Fortis net and I had my first fish of the morning on the first cast! After a photo, I released the bass back into the water. I could not believe my luck to have caught a nice fish on my first cast! My hopes were sky high that it was going to be a very good morning.

But my hopes were dashed the rest of the morning. After trying multiple locations and multiple lures, I could only manage to catch a small bass and a smaller pike. But while the fishing may not have met my high hopes, the scenery on the lake sure made for some great shots! Trolling along from location to location, I was treated to some great fall colors along the shores of the lake. It almost made up for the lack of fish. But I left the lake later happy to have brought in one nice bass and taken in the colors around me. It is important to enjoy the small things in life, especially these days. The fall colors of the Black Hills always bring a smile to my face, not only because of their beauty, but also because it signals that colder weather is coming, which means the hardwater season is less than two months away. Hopefully, the fall bite will continue to improve as water temps drop further. But if nothing else, I know ice is not far behind it.

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