October, the National Hunting & Fishing Month
Back on the fourth Saturday of September, the country did its best to get outdoors in September especially on that day because it was designated “National Hunting and Fishing Day.” But why not keep on trekking and casting in October, which is now recognized as National Hunting & Fishing Month?
The idea of celebrating hunting and fishing month is relatively new. In 2018, Ryan Zinke, the U.S. Interior Secretary, signed a proclamation to recognize October as a hunting and fishing awareness month. But why October? The press releases did not elaborate but I have a couple of theories on the reasoning behind October acting as an ambassador outdoor sports month.
Depending on your location, 90-degree weather could still be around in September. But by October, mornings usually have that traditional crisp, invigorating feeling that lends itself to hunting and fishing month activities. Wildlife is moving, there are fewer annoying insects after a frost or two, and of course, leaves turning colors provide a spectacular backdrop and another excuse to celebrate hunting and fishing month. October can also bring some non-annoying insects too. If you are into fly-fishing, there are some great hatches that trout and smallmouth enjoy so you might as well put on waders and join in on the action too.
Fish are transitioning, thanks to the break from the heat. Fall turnover probably is over in many lakes and one of the hunting and fishing traditions is where baitfish begin to congregate and move to the back of creeks. Not far behind, largemouth and smallmouth bass are following in loose packs. Catch one, perhaps with a shad-imitating lure like a spinnerbait, and you just may catch a bunch, as hungry fish are trying to chow down before winter’s sluggish phase sets in. Fishing for cold-water species starts to pick up again too as this is the time of year when many anglers’ thoughts turn to salmon, steelhead, and brown trout. You’ll need to do some research for the tributaries in your area because techniques will vary greatly. Some anglers lean toward spoons and crank baits, while others taunt anadromous fish with egg pattern flies and streamers. Check the trout stocking in your state too. There just may be a bonus fall stocking in some nearby water.
Or maybe October became National Hunting & Fishing Month because Halloween and pumpkin spice were getting too full of themselves. Whatever the reason, show your outer team spirit by unplugging and getting outside. And when you do take part in this hunting and fishing season celebration, you help conservation efforts around the country by way of fees from hunting, fishing licenses, and boat registrations.