Members of area rod and gun clubs wait for the birds to be unloaded as they stock public-access lands for pheasant hunters to enjoy. Tom Roth / For Lakes Region Weekly

As the air cools and leaves turn, October provides the sportsman and woman with some of the best outdoor pursuits there are, all in one month.

Fishing really heats up as the water cools on the big lake. Anglers must remember that Sebago has an “artificial lure only” rule starting Oct. 1.

Sebago lake trout and salmon really come on the bite in October. Fish come up closer to the surface this month, so the traditional method of trolling with a fly rod and sinking lines works great. Likewise, downrigger anglers bring their sets up to match where the fish are seen. Lead-core line trollers also do well by adjusting the number of colors they let out for shallower running. Anglers must note that salmon are off-limits starting Oct. 1 (must be released immediately if caught) and you can’t troll directly at the mouth of the Songo River or other tributaries. Some anglers use Gulp imitation smelt with great success; other favor lures this month. Hot lures on Sebago are always copper and nickel spoons, orange spoons, pink spoons and the old standard Wonderbread pattern.

October also heralds the start of bird season, one of my favorite parts of the fall. You can still scare a grouse or two up, but birds are scarce and skittish in Southern Maine. I do my grouse hunting in the Rangeley region for that reason. Feather-chasers need not despair, however. The state, in conjunction with local fish and game clubs, stocks pheasant on land open to hunting. I assist in the stocking effort, it’s fun and reminds me of my younger days when I did it with my dad.

Tom Roth is a freelance outdoor writer who lives in Raymond on the shore of Sebago Lake. He has been fishing and hunting in this region for more than 30 years and is a Registered Maine Guide.

A check at the Fisheries and Wildlife website will point you in the direction of the stocking sites. Three stockings take place for the fall season and hunters with dogs do best, but a patient hunter on foot can flush a pheasant or two by busting the brush and walking through tall grass and weeds. My dad hunted with buddies who had well trained English pointers, but when they weren’t around, I did the bird-dogging. My first game bird was a pheasant and they make great sport for new hunters. Yes, they explode with a crazy cackle that will rattle even the veteran hunters, but they are slower flying than grouse or woodcock.

Duck season is also open, and it seems like each year there are fewer and fewer waterfowlers on the marshes. Nothing is as picturesque as watching the sun rise over a fog-cloaked marsh and waiting for ducks to drop in.

Finally, expanded archery season is underway and regular archery season for deer starts up, as well. Hunters can get an early crack at deer before the firearms crew gets out in the woods.

October has something for everyone and should be extended to 60 days for us happy hunters and anglers who revel in the month. Good luck to those fishing, fowling or chasing birds or deer.

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