Even after the significant and very welcome rain of this last week, many of the area public accesses are still in poor shape for launching and loading boats.

Some have improved and made access to some of the lakes a little better, but they are still not what we like to have at this time of the season. The next 10 days do not look like they will help, with no more rain in the forecast as of now. Look for conditions to continue to be a challenge as we progress into fall.

Some of the lakes have also started to expose some hazards and made shallow water rock areas very dangerous for props and lower units. Be more careful this fall navigating the lakes, especially if you are on some lakes that you have little familiarity with boating and fishing.

With water surface temperatures dropping about 5 degrees this last week, and some expected continued cooling, look for fish to move a little shallower again as they start transitioning into more of a fall pattern.

Shorter daylight hours as well as cooling water temperatures are triggers for fish transitions from summer to fall patterns.

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As we continue to cool and get deeper into our fall, fish will bunch up more than the smaller wolf packs we have been fishing during the summer patterns.

Fish can be a challenge in September, as it is a time of significant change. Cold fronts on top of cold fronts can put fish into a neutral to negative feeding pattern. One benefit is the stable weather can be very productive for hungry and active fish. You may have to do more searching as fish can be “here today and gone tomorrow” with the September transition time.

As we move into late September and October, most times, things stabilize and fish will hold on areas for longer extended periods of time and with greater numbers.

Acorns falling from oaks already, migrating monarch butterflies, loons gathering in larger groups, and higher activity and travel of the geese and ducks tend to point to a quick and early transition to our fall from the hot, dry weather we have had all summer.

I love this time of the year. The weather is more comfortable and the lakes tend to quiet down after the Labor Day weekend holiday. The increase in wildlife activity around the lakes makes for very enjoyable and stimulating days on the water.

I know everyone gets busy with school, activities, fall sports, and the anticipation of hunting seasons, etc., but if you have not done much fall fishing in past years, I suggest you commit a few days to fishing in September and October.

It becomes obvious to many of us that prioritizing time on the water in the fall is well worth the sacrifice of other things you might otherwise spend your time doing. The fall full moon periods can be especially enjoyable and exciting fishing periods, especially after dark!

(Laabs owns Brad Laabs Guide Service in Detroit Lakes)