School is just days away, pre-season football is under way so I guess you can say this is the beginning of the end of summer. What it is also the beginning of is some of the best fishing of the year! Lots of people every year pack everything but the kitchen sink and head north for a big fishing trip, this is great but gas is expensive and time is running short. If you are an avid reader of this column you have probably heard this before - if you are driving more than a hundred miles from your house you are wasting time and gas.
We have lots of small lakes in our area that are not just loaded with fish but some very nice fish at and then there is what some consider, including me, the best fishery in the country right in our back yard, the upper Mississippi River. Being able to choose any part of the river from Dubuque to Lansing and stay under the 100 mile mark is amazing. All the way along the Mississippi the fishing is great for walleyes, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, crappies, bluegills, northern pike and the list goes on.
There is a ton of great stuff to do off the water also like casinos, cave tours, golf, shops and many places along the river to just sit and do nothing! Lodging along the Mississippi is plentiful and easy to find motels, hotels, bed and breakfasts, cabins and places to rent houseboats and stay right on the water.
There are seemingly countless miles of main channel and back waters to fish and explore by boat. If you don't have a boat there are lots of shore fishing opportunities or you could hire one of the many guides that are on the water daily finding fish.
Another option would be to go out onto one of the fishing floats, below each lock and dam there is an individually owned and operated fishing float that you can pay to go out on and catch fish. With a lifetime of fishing and lots to do or not to do off the water, if you have not spent some time on the Mississippi river lately you are really missing out.
If lakes are more your thing we have lots of small lakes inside the 100 mile radius of Waterloo with the largest by far being Brushy Creek located between Webster City and Fort Dodge. There are a couple of great campgrounds around the lake and lodging in Webster City and Fort Dodge but staying in Fort Dodge may put you over the 100 mile mark by a little bit.
The fishing on Brushy seems to just keep getting better and better every year, nice size crappies and bluegills are always willing to bite, the bass fishing is often fantastic (Brushy is home to my largest bass to date). Walleyes are in great numbers and word of the great Muskie fishing is spreading fast. Brushy Creek Lake is all no wake so it gives the lake a much laid back relaxing feeling. There are free fishing docks and a bunch of rock jetties around the lake with roads close and mowed paths down to them for awesome shore fishing options.
It's not time to panic yet but it's getting close, so stop making excuses and start making plans to spend a few more days fishing this season. We are headed into fall and some of the best fishing of the year; you never know when a last minute trip may turn into the trip of a lifetime. Until next time keep your lure wet!