By Chris Schultz
Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal & Howard Lake Herald, Minn.
May 18, 1998
Great weather and too many to count fish-hungry anglers created long distance walks from parking spots and traffic control problems over good walleye holes on the 1998 version of the Minnesota fishing opener in our area and across the state.
On the eve of the opener, I stopped at Radtke's Bait and Tackle near Winsted to pick up a few leeches and fatheads and the competition was already stiff.
The message was clear, so I spent the morning of the opener all by myself on a few local gravel pits and the South Fork of the Crow River. Then after things had settled down a bit, I headed to Dog Lake to troll for northerns.
My decision was right and wrong. I had avoided any competition from other anglers, but didn't catch any fish worth keeping.
One angler I spoke with at Dog Lake said he had been to Collinwood at about 7:30 that morning and never landed his boat.
"I would have had to walk a mile or more from a parking spot to the landing and it didn't look like there was enough room left on the lake for another boat," he said.
According to most reports from the area, Collinwood wasn't the only lake that was jammed with anglers. Washington, Big Waverly, Mary, and Buffalo also saw a ton of fishing activity on opening day.
Regarding the fishing, most anglers I spoke with said the fishing was good enough to make battling the crowds well worth it.
Washington seemed to be the hottest lake for walleye, with anglers nabbing good catches of small fish. Along with Washington, Buffalo, Marion, and Big Waverly also produced a few walleyes with Winsted, Ripley, Francis, and Stalls providing good action on northern pike.
Compared to other openers, the fishing on this one was probably a bit better. But, with so many anglers on the water, somebody had to catch a few.
Area lakes fishing report
Spring, heck - summer has come early, and so has the good fishing.
While most anglers are in hot pursuit of walleye before the dog days arrive, a few anglers are already taking advantage of excellent panfish action on many of our area lakes.
That's right, the best panfish action of the year is here or soon will be. On a few lakes, the sunnies have moved into the shallows and are starting the spawning process and, if the weather keeps up, the spawn could be done and over before you even get a worm in the water.
Mary, Ida, Dog, and even Waconia and Howard are already providing good sunfish action in shallow water.
The trick is to go when they're biting. Each lake is a little different, and if you pick up a hot tip, move on it quickly or you'll miss it.
- Grab your shovel. Big sunnies like nothing better then a fat juicy angle worm. Angle worms are easy to find and kids have a blast digging for them.
- The Howard Lake Good Neighbor Days Fishing Contest will be Saturday, June 27 on Howard Lake. Interested anglers can pick up information and entry forms at Joe's Sport Shop in Howard Lake.
- Stock up on bug spray; the mosquitoes will be out soon.
- Be prepared to search hard for big sunnies this spring.
- Take a kid fishing. You'll have fun and so will they.
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