As I left Wisconsin on Saturday morning for the long trip home, it was 29 degrees outside. The heater in the cabin brought the temperature up to a balmy 58 degrees, which made for a very cold night sleeping.
Fall fishing in the north woods is an incredible experience, but this year, I was witness to one of the more amazing meteorological experiences. I have written several times on how low the water had become in Northern Wisconsin. My first day there, the water was so low the beach had reached epic proportions, as evidenced by this photograph (and yes, we actually went swimming).
Now check out a photograph from a day later:
Here is another example, this time of the point at our cabin.
This is the point just 24 hours later:
What made such dramatic changes? Try about eight inches of rain in around four hours. I have not seen such incredible torrential rains in years, and it not only raised the water level of an 875 acre lake by four full inches (an inch an hour!) but sank the boat. I spent the afternoon bailing the boat, cleaning the engine, etc.
More importantly, the weather changed the fishing pattern dramatically. Instead of hot weather, the temperatures dropped to the mid-40s during the day, much more typical for this time of year. This required three levels of clothes when out on the lake.
With the freakish warm weather behind us, we settled in to enjoy the incredible sight of late fall in the woods. The winds calmed and the sun shone brightly on the lake, creating breathtaking memories.
Fishing was good; we switched to pitching deep running crank baits off the edges of weedbeds, with good results. A number of 18-20 inch smallies fell, but unfortunately, no walleyes.
We found out why the walleyes were scarce when my daughter was cranking in, and her Rebel got gobsmacked right next to the boat by a solid seven pound northern. More interestingly, the fish hit in full view of the boat, and behind it were four other northerns about 6-12 pounds. The daughter did great, as fighing a fish that hits so close to the boat is never easy. Soon the fish was boated and released.
The sun began to set on our fall vacation, but suffice to say it was one for the books. The look on the daughter’s face as the sun receded behind the pines said it all.
I feel sad for those who don’t get to fish with their fathers, or their children. Truly there is nothing in the world like it.
-- Dr. Todd back in Cincinnati, Ohio