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As summer’s warmth turns to fall’s icy breath

August 10, 2011
By JOE HACKETT, News Outdoors Columnist
As the summer begins to wind down, there is ample evidence of the coming season: students packing for their return to college and trees starting to show signs of changing colors.

A dense morning fog now carpets area lakes, as ribbons of white trace streams through the valleys. Of all Adirondack seasons, the presage to autumn typically offers up some of the region’s most beautiful scenes.

The approaching fall is a long, drawn-out affair, unlike the winter season, which is instantly deposited onto the local landscape with the arrival of the first heavy snow.

Autumn sneaks up on us in fits and starts. Its arrival is not signaled by any single factor, rather the season evolves over the course of time.

While many consider the summer to be region’s most active season — and winter to be the harshest — autumn is undeniably the most beautiful (and an Indian Summer the most fortunate).

Although a good share of the summer season remains and has plenty to offer,  I’ve already been bitten by the bug of fall. It was a sharp sting, with the realization that the freedoms of the summer season are soon to disappear. However, the bite left me with a fever for the numerous outdoor sporting ventures that the upcoming season will bring. While I always appreciate summer’s warmth, I can’t wait for autumn’s icy breath.

Don’t forget your camera

For at least two centuries, the Adirondack region has attracted artists seeking inspiration for their work among the region’s towering peaks, dense forests, raging rivers and placid waters. New York’s forests have long provided them with numerous suitabIe opportunities.

From painters Winslow Homer, who stayed at the Moose Pond Club in Minerva, and Fredrick Remington, who frequented Cranberry Lake, to modern day photographer Nathan Farb of Lake Placid or the watercolor painter James Prosec of Connecticut, artists have long sought to capture the essence of the Adirondacks in their work.

Now, the public is being offered a similar opportunity as part of a statewide effort to honor the International Year of Forests.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation Division of Lands and Forests recently kicked off a campaign that is intended to raise awareness of and appreciation for all types of forests across the state.

Whether it is an urban park or the sprawling Adirondack wilderness, the DEC wants you to give them your best shot. All photographs must be taken in New York.

Entries will be considered for the best photos in the following categories:

¯ Nature — wildlife, plants, natural landscapes

¯ Enjoying the forest — hunting, fishing, trails, camping, hiking, etc.

¯ Trees where we live — parks, streets, yards, etc.

¯ Forest products — maple syrup, lumber, baseball bats, furniture, etc.

¯ State-owned forests — state forests, Forest Preserve lands, forested Wildlife Management Areas, campgrounds

Contestants can submit a maximum of three photos. All submissions must be received by the close of business on Nov. 1. For further rules and information, visit the DEC website at

Fish are seeing red

Why does a matador wave a red flag at an enraged bull? Answer: To make him charge.

Why does a fisherman cast a bait with a red hook? Answer: To make him strike.

Remember when a fisherman’s tackle box was loaded with a selection of red-and-white lures? Mainstays included Eppinger’s red and white Daredevil spoons, a red Flatfish or a red-skirted Jitterbug. Mann’s produced Strawberry Jelly Worms and flyrodders swore by Gaine’s red cork poppers with a white-feathered tail.

As the flash and sparkle of a new generation of lures has replaced these traditional offerings, something was missing and it was often a full stringer of fish.

Not to worry. Fishing manufacturers are seeing red again, in a variety of products ranging from lures to spinner baits and from softbaits to hooks. Recent research indicates that fish respond most readily to an offering that includes the flash of blood red.

This knowledge has led many anglers to utilize red replacement hooks on spinnnerbaits, trailer hooks and trebles.

I also use red-colored Eagle Claw hooks for bass fishing outfits. The color has proven more productive than black or bronze hooks. Possibly this is because I fish the new hooks with greater confidence, yet in a test with side by side casts conducted recently on a local lake, offerings rigged with red hooks consistently took the first bass. The offering with a black hook still took fish, but the bass almost always went for the red one first.

Article Photos

Photo by Joe Hackett
As summer begins to dwindle, the lakes become quieter, the air crisper and the trails less crowded. Time seems to slow down, as the Adirondacks signature season arrives on the autumn wind.



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