Autumn's approach

The arrival of cool, damp weather has provided a welcome change of pace for area sportsmen. In keeping with tradition, autumn is expected to be cold and blustery, but for too many years, we've been enjoying an extended summer.

We've gotten so used to it, that we've become spoiled. When a spectacular Indian Summer day arrives, we tend to take it in stride. A warm autumn day is simply no longer a cause for celebration that it once was.

Late season fishing opportunities have started to pick up, with trout again active on the ponds while bass have been busy on the lakes.

In a few weeks, anglers will find landlocked salmon returning to Lake Champlain's tributaries, as they move in to spawn. I expect it will be a productive fall run, in terms of both quantity and quality as a result of the introduction of alewives in the Big Lake.

The timeframe signals a gradual period of seasonal transitions, as hunter and anglers mix and match their pursuits according to the weather, the species and the regulations.

It is also a key period of indecision, as a host of opportunities makes it increasingly difficult to decide on whether to pursue fish, fowl or game.

Sept. 18 is the opener for early bear season in the northern zone. Two days later, the ruffed grouse season begins Sept. 20. Pheasant season kicks in with the youth weekend set for Sept. 25-6. The regular season opener is Oct. 1.

Throw into the mix the close of frog season on Sept. 30 and the beginning of archery season on Sept. 27, for hunters with last year's tag, and it appears that the high holy days of autumn have finally arrived for sportsmen and women.

Within a few weeks, members of the buffalo plaid or camo clad crew will become the primary human inhabitants of the forest as tourists leave and kids return to school to begin their regular routines of life.

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