It’s Labor Day weekend and footballs are flying through air scented with the delicious aromas from hundreds of Canfield Fair food concessions.
OK, I’ll ask the questions we all know is coming: Where did the summer go?
I love football, and I love the fair. But I hate that they signal the arrival of shorter days and the pending freezes. They get in the way of my fishing.
So we dyed-in-the-wool anglers look back on the past five months and gather confidence that we can build on our momentum and finish the final eight weeks or so of the season with a full head of steam.
For walleye fishermen, great days are ahead. This weekend’s cool-down is just what they need to stir up the appetites of their favorite species.
Mosquito and Berlin will get lots more attention as Labor Day passes. The walleye gang will be working the grass lines at Mosquito with jigs and minnow baits, picking off more and more fish as the water temperature cools.
For Youngstown’s Cappitte family, walleye are as precious as dad’s Canfield Fair blue-ribbon peppers. Greg Cappitte says he’s counting the days when he can capitalize on big chubs for fat fall walleyes.
For Lou Schiavoni, the 2010 season was his best ever. He enjoyed great success with spring walleyes, hooking up with enough keepers to feed a hungry throng of Memorial Day guests at his summer home on Lake Milton.
He also signed up for The Muransky Companies Bass Classic, the pro-am tournament benefiting the United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley, and learned several new bass-catching techniques from his pro partner. He put them to good use and this summer landed an 8.5-pound largemouth from a local ski lake.
“I have had an awesome year,” he says. “I don’t want it to come to an end.”
I, among others, won’t let it conclude just yet.
Besides the improving walleye fishing at Mosquito and Berlin, area anglers can enjoy calm days on Lake Erie to drop minnow rigs to giant schools of fat yellow perch.
Erie also will be sending spectacular steelhead into the streams that drain Ohio’s North Coast, and the weeks following Labor Day are among the best on the calendar.
The big lake also is home to a large populations of supersized smallmouth bass, which soon will begin moving up from their summer hideouts to the 15- and 20-foot breaks from the Bass Islands to Presque Isle, Pa., and points east.
Inland fishing will highlight crappies, bass, catfish and muskies.
Milton and West Branch are good places for all four species, including husky muskies that stretch past the 40-inch mark.
Mosquito’s vegetation is loaded with the aforementioned walleyes, as well as a healthy population of largemouth bass and some of the biggest crappies in the region.
Autumn is primetime for Berlin smallies, which get more aggressive and catchable after the summer crowds have put their boats in storage.
All of this translates into plenty of opportunities for those anglers among us who are willing to pass on weekend football for another month or two.
I’ll be out there with you, but not before I visit the fair for my traditional DiRusso sausage sandwich, a couple of corndogs and a cup of french fries with a splash of vinegar.
Hey, an angler has to eat!