It has been awhile since my last article, and I am glad that fall is in the air. Summer was a busy time for me with fishing, family and some college classes. A new season is upon us, and I am one that is ready for a change.
I think I speak for a lot of people in Central Iowa when I say I am welcoming this cooler weather. It seemed like there were so many days that us outdoorsman were trapped inside air conditioning when we should have been out fishing the past two months. I got out plenty of times, but would have floated the boat much more with out those 95-plus degree days. I say, bring on the fall weather!
This week I hope I tempt you to reach out and try a new lake before the open water season is over. One thing that tournament fishing does for me, is that it forces me to go to lakes and rivers that I may never have been to before. This year was no different. I had two different bass tournaments schedule for Belva Deer Lake near Sigourney. The lake is just less than two hours away, however feels much closer than lakes like Three-Mile, and Twelve-Mile Lake.
T-R PHOTO BY TODD REED
A typical largemouth bass is shown at Belva Deer Lake. This lake, and lakes around the area as well as the numerous rivers in the state are at their best right now for fishing. Fall is a wonderful time to be on the water catching your favorite species.
Belva Deer is a new lake to Iowa, just being built about eight years ago. It has bass, bluegills, crappies and channel catfish in it. The fish in the lake, however, rival any lake in the state. I am in love with the lake when it comes to bass fishing. I have fished the lake four different days this year, and have been very pleased each and every day. I have also had the chance to visit with many local anglers that frequent the lake often for other species. They raved about the big bluegills they caught and the numerous catfish. I hung around one of the cleaning stations one night and saw many beautiful catfish and some hand-sized bluegills. While talking with the anglers, I came to find out that these "local anglers" were driving an hour or more to fish the lake. That is how good this place is right now, one told me. I am so glad I was "forced" into fishing Belva Deer Lake this year.
The lake itself is a miniature Brushy Creek, if you know what that lake looks like. The biggest difference is that Belva Deer Lake is about 250 acres, and tops out at about 35 feet deep. The lake does offer a lot more shallow water than Brushy Creek too, making it a fish factory that has delivered great spawning success. All four species of fish that inhabit the lake have strong populations. The lake also offers a clean and friendly campground with cabins, tent camping or full RV hookup lots to rent, too. It is the total package for a fishing trip of any species.
Perhaps you will venture to Belva Deer Lake this fall, if not, put it on your list for next year, you won't be disappointed. If not the long day trip to Belva Deer, I encourage you to seek out different and unique waters this fall.
Fall is always bittersweet for me, as I know winter is coming, and the boat will be put away for the year. However, on the other hand it means that ice fishing is around the corner. This year, though, as of right now, I do not even want to think about putting the boat away yet. Fall can be the best time of the year to catch fish. Most anglers would say spring, but weather can really dominate spring flurries of fish biting, while the milder and timid weather changes in the fall can ignite great fishing for several weeks, not just several days as in the spring. Another thing that you will see during the fall months is less fishing pressure. There are a lot of outdoorsman/women who put there rods and reels away to get out the bow and arrows and firearms for the upcoming hunting seasons. I hunt for a couple days for deer each year, but that is really about all the time I want to commit to hunting, I am all about the catching when it comes to fall.
As stated, fall can be the best times of year to catch fish. Here are a few quick tips for your next time out on the water. First, hit the rivers. Small interior rivers are fantastic during this time of year. Rivers will generally cool down quicker than lakes and this puts the fish into a feeding frenzy. All species will seek out current seems to load up on minnows, and other prey during this time of year. As for the Mississippi River, well if you ask me there is no better place to go after Labor Day in the entire state.
Another tip for you during the fall is to use bigger baits when the weather is favorable. This time of year the fish are eating the largest prey they have all year long. Minnows, shad, crawfish are all the biggest they will be, so make your baits large when the weather is favorable, and go to smaller offerings when cold fronts dominate the weather pattern.
I wish you the best this fall, and remember water safety, as the water cools, the more dangerous it is to fall in. Use the buddy system, and always have a plan for when things could go wrong.