The bite, like the weather, is starting to change
This holiday weekend is considered by most to mark the end of summer. It is true that the days are getting much shorter as we are down to about 14 hours of daylight. The nights are cooler, daytime highs are milder, and we get far more severe cold fronts. Water temperatures have dropped to the low 70's and by the end of this weekend will be in the high 60's.
These weather changes will also change the bite. Look for minnows to start to dominate the food choice for the fish in the coming weeks. Leeches are getting more difficult to get, and only a few lakes tend to still be primarily leech bite lakes. After this weekend the lakes will not be nearly as busy as they have been.
With this being a holiday weekend, and with water temps still warm enough for skiing, tubing, wakeboarding, boating, and jetskiing, we still have many visitors here enjoying our lakes. Please practice patience and tolerance on the water and at the boat ramps. Be courteous and think of others when loading and unloading your boat. Move out of the way of others and get everything ready before you get in line to launch your boat. If someone is struggling to get their boat on or off their trailer, offer to help. Many of us are more experienced at backing trailers, so if someone is really struggling to get their trailer in the water, offer to help. It is easy to loose patience with others when you see them approaching their holiday boating experience like they are the only ones that exist, and it is all about them. Getting frustrated does nothing to help.
I have not always been as patient at the ramp as I should be. I am seeking to continue to improve. I make these suggestions and reminders for myself as much as it is for the people reading this article. Offering to help with polite suggestions or information about common courtesies will help to educate for the future. Some boaters that have the "all about me" behaviors at the landings and on the water is due to the fact that they just don't know any better, and just haven't been taught.
My biggest frustrations are for those that know better, but just don't care. The ones that come in on you while you are fishing a spot and try and push you off the spot in the interest of trying to catch a fish. Most veteran anglers can tell the difference between a rookie that doesn't know any better, and a seasoned angler that is just being selfish and inconsiderate. With this population my educational interventions may not be as polite.
Earlier this summer as a friend of mine was performing a complicated backing maneuver with his boat, I was parked and waiting my turn with two teenagers I had just had out on a guide trip. Another driver was showing obvious impatience for less than a minute of inconvenience. I said to the boys "hey men, don't grow up to be that guy." The oldest of the boys, a senior in high school, replies back to me, "We know. My dad has always taught us to be the guy, not to be (that guy)." Words of wisdom that apply to all areas of life including boating and fishing.
(Laabs runs Brad Laabs Guide Service in Detroit Lakes.)