Dress appropriately warm for cool fall fishing
The water temperatures have dropped below 50 degrees after this last cold snap. The outlook for the next week looks like pleasant weather to get back on the water.
When fishing the cold-water season you must dress warmer than you would for the temperature of the day. It is always cooler on the water, especially if there is any wind. The wind will wick your body heat away from you. Traveling across the water can also be cold. Even on 60 or 70 degree days with a warm sun, wind blowing across 50 degree water is like super air conditioning.
Dress in layers, take more than you think you will need, and wear an outside waterproof layer. Getting a splash from a cold-water wave will really wake a person up! If you get damp because you don't have a waterproof layer on you will get cold and uncomfortable fast and it will cut your outing short.
It is important to keep your head, hands and feet warm and dry. I don't like fishing with gloves, so a towel works to dry off my hands. Even using light "jersey" type gloves so you have good sensitivity on the rod will help keep hands warm. There are some cool products out that can go into boots, gloves, and pockets that are chemical reacting heat packs. They work well and are very inexpensive.
Fish house heaters can be used on really cold days to take the bite of the cold out of the boat. Always be careful if using one of these in a boat, and keep clothing away from these heaters.
When you are dressed properly, fishing in the fall is very pleasant. The lakes are peaceful. You don't have to contend with recreational boat traffic. There is usually less fishing pressure and you can fish the spots on the lake you would like without too big of crowd around you. Fisherman that are out at this time of year are looking for the same joy of the event that you are, so you are on the lake with others that love the sport.
If you are introducing someone to fall fishing, help them to prepare properly. If they get cold and uncomfortable, cut your trip short. Nothing will drive a potential fall fisherman away from the sport than getting chilled to the bone. It makes them less likely to join you on future fall trips. Get out and practice some fall fishing over the next few weeks. It is not uncommon for fisherman to be rewarded with their biggest fish of the year during the fall fishing season.
(Laabs runs Brad Laabs Guide Service in Detroit Lakes.)