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This is a great time of year to get out and fish

This is a difficult time of the year to get to everything done a person would like to do. It is high school athletic playoff time, many hunting seasons are open locally and in neighboring states; yard work and fall household project time, holidays, kids, work -- you get the idea.

This is also a great time to fish. The lakes are not crowded now as the tourists are gone and the recreational boating has come to a stand still. This is a time to enjoy some beautiful fall weather and catch a few open water fish. It is a great time to get the kids and the family out fishing while the weather is still cooperating. Get the family out and away from the TV, play station, iPods, cell phones, smart phones, and computers. It is a great time to create memories of time shared together. This can be smorgasbord-fishing time as northern, bass, walleye, crappie, perch, sunfish and even an occasional musky will bite the jig and minnow combination.

The water temperatures have dropped into the 50-degree range so make sure you dress warmer than you think you need. It is important for the kids to be comfortable to make for a positive outing. It is easier to take a layer off to be comfortable than it is to add a layer you don't have with you. Wearing a life jacket in cold-water conditions is always a good safety tip. Bring a towel to dry off the hands and light gloves can help keep hands warm and dry. Wear good warm boots for the feet and a warm hat for the head. If you keep your hands, feet and head warm it is much easier to handle the conditions. Even a light breeze blowing across 50-degree water will feel like super air conditioning even if the air temperature is in the 60's and the sun is shining. The wind can wick the body heat away from hands and ears and make someone uncomfortable in short order. Driving your boat 25 MPH or more across our cooler water temps can create a chill so it is always best to prepare properly to maximize the enjoyment of the trip.

This can be the time of the open water season where fish can be active even in the middle of the day. Early starts are late now and easier for young kids too, as we don't get light until 7:30. Fishing late is still an early finish now as we are also dark by 7 p.m. The early morning starts and fishing until sunset requires proper gear and preperation as nights are cool, it is slow to warm in the am, and it cools down fast at night as the sunsets.

As you struggle to find the balance to get everything done this fall, make sure you build a fishing trip or two into your schedule over the next several weeks. The weather will turn soon as it always does, and you will not regret making sure you got out on the open water this fall to enjoy our lakes area. It is easy sometimes to take for granted what we have here. Other people from around the state and around the country plan trips around busy schedules to come here to take advantage of what is available to us everyday.

(Laabs runs Brad Laabs Guide Service in Detroit Lakes.)