This week has reminded me that the leaves are starting to change. It is a bit early, but forecasters are predicting earlier than usual bright but short-lasting color. The birds are also packing it in and flying south. Snowbirds we call them. The snowbirds, without the flight feathers, are also starting to migrate south.

Jimmy Roberts of Prosperity and his wife, Sandy, will be among them. A couple of months from now my phone will ring and it will be him calling to check on me. He will ask about our weather which will be cold and probably rainy then he will tell me he is in his shorts and a t-shirt somewhere in the sun. He will tell me about the Florida weather and all the fish he has caught. We always talk about the number of Ontario, Canada migrants who come down from their great fishing to get some warm weather and still fish. Of course, I will be crabby and tell him how I hate him.

Now I’m no snowbird but I remember fishing once upon a time in Florida off the coast of Fort Myers at Sanibel Island. If you ever have been there, it’s a beautiful island with some great fishing. I was casting in Ding Darling Preserve fishing for snook or baby tarpon. Eileen was using shrimp and catching a lot of spotted trout. I looked back and there were 10 cars stopped on the highway going through the park taking pictures of us catching fish.

Yes, I love to fish on the ocean, but this time of year is a great time to fish steel head at Lake Erie and the mouths and streams around it. The places such as Elk Creek and Walnut Creek that may have had one or two visitors a month ago will have hundreds when the fish are spawning. People will be out with their nine-foot noodle rods trying to hook one of those big fish. From now until extreme winter weather, these fish will be caught on heavier line on bags of salmon eggs. Using a lighter line to catch one of these makes the catch more fun. If you hook one and yell, “fish on,” most people will oblige and reel out of the water and watch as you fight that leaping monster into shore. A friend of mine, Joe Smith of Eighty Four, once caught one that weighed more tan 20 pounds here. That’s a big fish. If you stop in to see him at the bait store, you can ask him about it. Myself, I’ve caught quite a few in the 8–10-pound category and they feel huge. If you get a chance to go, you must have the correct license.

September and October are busy months with almost too much to do. The outdoorsman who hasn’t been out with his rifle all year is suddenly in need of the club or a range to sight in. This year with all the shortages in ammo and gun supplies, which includes reloading, we are all feeling anxiety about wasting any ammo. It still needs to be done so we must find a few extras and head over to sight in before the start of deer season. We are all shooting three shot groups instead of five shot groups. Unless the availability of ammo and supplies opens up, I wonder if there will be fewer hunters in the woods. People who are like minded are sharing ammo and reloading supplies. I guess those of us who have been at this a long time are probably a little better off as we have a stockpile of products. The shortage is not just the most popular items but is all the phases of shooting supplies. I have a friend who called for some primers just last week.

This too must pass. Someday, I hope that these shortages will be over. But for now, stay on top of what you have and can get. You may have to sacrifice what you want for what you need to get some ammo if you can find it. So, share with your friends and we will all survive it.

George Block writes a weekly outdoors column for the Observer-Reporter.

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