By Chris Schultz Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal & Howard Lake Herald, Minn. June 1, 1998
Who needs a boat?
An old-fashioned cane pole with hook, line, bobber, sinker, and angleworm off the DNR fishing pier on Howard Lake or Grandpa's old Daredevil casted from a Zebco 202 into the water off the shore of Little Mille Lacs.
You don't need a boat to find good fishing in our area. From a DNR fishing pier, a bridge over the river, or the shoreline of a lake, there is a fish basket full of good places to wet a line in our area with out a boat.
This weekend, Saturday, June 6 and Sunday, June 7, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is hosting Take a Kid Fishing Weekend in Minnesota.
Adults accompanying children under age 16 on June 6 and 7 may fish without a license on those dates.
The sunfish will be in the shallows, close to shore and ready to bite on just about anything. Hopefully the weather will be warm and beautiful. It's just a great time to take a kid fishing and you don't need a boat to do it.
If you plan on going, here are a few good shore fishing spots to try.
We'll start with DNR fishing piers, because that's why they are there, and there are a bunch of good ones around.
Lakes in our area with DNR fishing piers include Howard (west side), Big Waverly (southeast side), Swan by Silver Lake, Cedar near Annandale, Waconia, and Buffalo. There may also be a few more in the area that I'm not aware of.
For the most part, piers are a great place to fish, especially for sunnies. They are easy to find and get to, and there is usually more than enough room for everyone.
A few years back, I caught 20 nice sunnies and three largemouth bass in a couple of hours of fishing off the pier on Lake Waconia. The fish were biting like crazy and I was the only one there.
If they're not biting from a pier, don't worry; there are also a bunch of excellent shore fishing spots in our area where access is easy and permission from a private land owner is not required.
Boat landings on Mary, Ida, Dog, and Collinwood can be very good spots to fish if the traffic isn't too bad. In many cases, there are also docks at the landings.
Dog Lake offers a county park where anglers can fish from shore on most of the north side of the lake.
The creek on Lake Ann, which is next to the landing, can provide excellent fishing for crappies and sunfish and even walleye once in a while.
The south shore of Howard just below the railroad tracks is a shore anglers' sunfish hot spot. The brush is heavy and the bank is a bit steep, but the fishing is good.
Moving away from lakes, you can't forget about our area's best shore fishing adventure, the south and north forks of the Crow River.
The area below the dam in Hutchinson has long been an angling paradise for kids and lawn chair casters. Crappies, good sized walleye, and big northern pike, as well as a few monster carp, are common catches there.
Other good spots on the Crow include just about any township road bridge you can find. Dangle a big nightcrawler into the water and you can catch a walleye, carp, sucker, northern pike, or even a huge catfish.
Each year the catfishing on the Crow has been getting better and this year has been no exception.
The best days to fish on the Crow are windy ones. On a calm day, the bugs can eat you alive.
Another good spot adjacent to the Crow is Little Mille Lacs or Jake's Lake. It's a backwater area of the south fork of the Crow River, right next to the highway between Lester Prairie and New Germany.
The fishing there is probably done for the year. But, very early in the season when the water is high, kids nail the northern pike like gangbusters.
There are many other good shore fishing locations in our area that are privately owned, like a gravel pit or the shoreline of a lake or river. These places can be fished, but permission from the landowner is required.
If you do plan on heading to a shoreline to fish this weekend, don't get uptight if you're pulling line from the branches of trees or are caught in the weeds.
Just remember to bring with some extra line and tackle, and don't be surprised if you've got more fish in your pail than the guy in the boat has in his.
- Take a kid fishing. You'll have fun and so will they.
- The Winsted Sportsmen's Club will hold its annual Take a Kid Fishing event Sunday, June 7 at the clubhouse on Lake Mary. Registration will be at 1 p.m., fishing on Lake Mary from 2 to 4 p.m., with weigh-in and lunch to follow. Bait is provided, there is no charge. Kids are urged to pre-register at Radtke's Bait and Tackle near Winsted.
- The Howard Lake Good Neighbor Days fishing contest is set for Saturday, June 27 on Howard Lake. More information and entry forms are available at Joe's Sport Shop in Howard Lake.
- The Winsted Sportsmen's Club will meet on Tuesday, June 2 at 7 p.m. at the clubhouse on Lake Mary.
- The walleyes have been biting on a few area lakes. Anglers finding the best action have been fishing live bait rigs at night.
- Radtke's Bait and Tackle near Winsted reported that fishing in the area has been good. Anglers have been getting panfish on most of the lakes with the hot jig being anything green. They also reported Lake Ann and Big Swan have been producing a few walleyes.
- Joe's Sport Shop in Howard Lake reported the sunfish action on Howard Lake has been good and last week Collinwood was providing good walleye action.
- On many of the lakes in our area, the sunfish are in the shallows and on top of spawning beds. When the sunnies are spawning, it's the best fishing of the year. Get out to the lake and don't miss it.