Jerry Kunnath of Fly Rod & Gun shares his thoughts about the transition from summer to fall and this special time for Michigan outdoorsmen in this nice article.
A Change of Seasons
By Jerry Kunnath - Fly Rod and Gun
The days are getting shorter and shorter. The sun dips to the horizon
earlier each day and awakes later. Some trees are already showing signs
of color. Squirrels are cutting branches, and building sturdier nests
in the tops of the oaks. The end of August rains come and go, wetting
the summer parched ground with their moisture. The evenings are cooling
more than they did a few weeks ago, making sleep a little easier, letting
you dream of what is to come. All the signs of a major change are there,
of the impending about face of nature. The time of growing is coming to
an end. The time of sleep is coming, but we only see a hint of it now.
But it is surely on its way, as it has been for eons.
This is the end of summer. It is a time that whets my appetite for all
that is outdoors. Fall is one of my favorite times of the year. The cooler
weather chills the waters of both lakes and streams, ending the late summer
doldrums. Fish and animals start to realize that they need to eat more
to prepare for the coming winter. Brown trout start up the rivers from
the lakes on their spawning runs, more susceptible to my presented flies.
Steelhead, those magnificent, acrobatic beauties, start moving up the
rivers, along with their cousins the salmon, looking for gravel in which
to lay their eggs and start the next generation of fish. Here in Michigan,
on September 15th, the start of small game season signals the beginning
of the hunt. Wood***** will be found, if you are skilled and lucky. They
will be found in wet river bottoms, searching with their flexible bills
in the moist loam for earthworms. Soon, they will be headed south on their
seasonal migration, startling to the skies, clicking as they climb, as
wary hunters miss them with three shots. Soon after, they will be joined
in their flight paths by many ducks and geese. The ducks and geese, gliding
towards ponds, responding to the scratchy calls of hunters hidden among
the reeds, waiting for a chance to replenish their feather caches for
the winter fly tying season. Grouse, found by pointers, setters and retrievers,
fill the air with the sound of their beating wings, as hunters wait with
poised shotguns near the dogs. Some of the knowing fly fishers, those
that don?t hunt or those that just choose to fish, take advantage
of the near deserted stream banks, trying to entice a salmon or steelie
to pick up their green cadis or egg pattern as it drifts silently by with
the current. Fall is one of the most active times of the year in the outdoors.
The end of August always signals me to get my ?fall? gear
ready. It is a time to dream of rod busting salmon runs, grouse rising
in a covey, ducks setting their wings for a landing, steelhead leaping
out of the water to toss a hook, while I mend winter waders. It is a time
to wax the string on my bow, to count and clean the decoys that have sat
in the garage for the past year. It is a time to inventory my deer hunting
gear, and sew patches on my old traditional wool hunting pants. It is
a time to reflect on the coming season. To wonder what it has in store
for me this year. A time to pull an old pair of boot socks out of the
chest and fondly recall past hunt camps spent with long trusted friends
and loyal dogs. And to remember that some of those dogs and some of those
friends are now long gone themselves. It is also a time to be thankful
for having had been able to make those memories. A time to be hopeful
that you can be there to make many more.
While summer is still here, and we may still face some hot weather, this
time of year always is welcome to me. I take time to prepare for the fall,
my favorite time of year. And I take time to dream. To dream of the coming
season. The change of seasons.
Steve Kunnath with
an Elk Steelie
Steve with a UP Grouse
Kovack and "Maggie"
Jerry Kunnath - Fly Rod & Gun