August 28, 2011
It's late summer and things are beginning to wind down. The arrival of monarchs on their annual migration to Mexico and points south, blooming wildflowers, low temperatures hinting at dipping into the forties, and the rogue tree or two teasing with hints of gold and crimson on their periphery all mark the inevitable change in season. This is also the beginning of prime time for collecting tallgrass prairie and wildflower seeds. Yes, summer is near over and fall is almost here. Finally. Fall brings many of my fondest memories in the Great White North, often culminating with the first frost of the season. Water temperatures and fall turnover often result in some tremendous fishing. Some of my most memorable fish have come in late fall. In addition, flushing grouse from aspen groves, apple picking and hay rides with the family, and the explosion of pheasants from the remaining crop residue from the fall harvest are all some of my favorite pastimes, not to mention good eats. There's nothing like the smell of roast pheasant, apple pie, smoked duck, wild rice, or the flavors of fresh bratwurst and sauerkraut emanating from the kitchen. Sending the kids off to school in the little yellow bus is just a few days away, which begs the question, has anyone every come up with a monarch butterfly fly pattern? I bet the bass would hit that! And then my next question, how much vacation leave do I have saved up?