As we close out September and welcome October we still have late August/early September water temperatures. Water temps are still hovering in the low 60 degree range. Most years, our lakes have “turned over” by the middle of September and water temperatures are about 10 degrees cooler than they are now. Not this year, or the last two falls! This means we still have a lot of fall fishing left.
The last couple years we have had open water right up to December. With the water temperatures the way they are now, and the long range October and November forecast would indicate we may have open water lasting at least until Thanksgiving.
As we get to the close of deer hunting, most anglers start to get impatient for the ice season. With the full moon in the early part of the month, we will have another open water full moon to fish in November.
This next week will provide the opportunity for some moonlight fishing again. The October full moon comes up early, and you can enjoy the night fishing and get back home to watch the news and get a full night sleep for work. The October full moon nights can be cool, so dress for the weather. Remember, there is no such thing as bad weather…..just bad gear!
The stars are incredible on the lake at night, and that alone can be worth the trip. The moon looks like you could reach out and touch it. Many years during October moon night fishing, I have been able to witness some of the most spectacular northern light shows from the lake. It is also not uncommon to see meteor showers. There is nothing like the solitude on the lake after dark. Catching fish is the nice bonus that comes along with the whole night fishing experience.
Many times the October full moon night trolling has produced trophy fish. The fish are feeding up good before winter sets in, and sometimes you can catch numbers of fish compared to the daylight bite during the full moon phase. Look for fish to be using the shoreline breaks and the larger shoreline flats during October. Some of the mid-lake flats may still be producing this October, as the full moon is early in the month, and we still have above average water temps.
Night time musky chasers during the October full moon will be hitting the flats on Big Detroit, Sallie, Pelican, and Many Point, so if you are wanting to chase walleyes, I would look to some other lakes. No need to compete for space and location this time of year.
Cormorant, Island, Ottertail, Big Pine, Rush, and Lida have been popular night trolling lakes for walleyes and can be busy on the weekends around the full moons. Mid-week will have less pressure, and trying other lakes can be a way to avoid any crowds.
On the bigger lakes, there are many areas to try, and it can be to your benefit to get away from any crowd and pressured fish. It is always fun and satisfying to find your own private “honey hole” or trolling run. The only way I know how to do that is to get out there and “just do it”!
(Laabs owns Brad Laabs Guide Service in Detroit Lakes)