Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz

Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal & Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, Minn.

January 3, 2000

Looking at the Crow River

Both forks of the Crow River, the north and the south, twist, turn, and flow through our area like a pioneer farmer plowing the first path through virgin soil.

The river as a whole, like the soil, is original and unique. However, nature, and in the river's case, with much help from man, are always changing.

Although the river was here long before any of us, most people don't realize the natural beauty, recreational, and environmental value both forks of the river bring to our area.

Many areas of the river are breathtaking. Fishing can be excellent with great potential for improvement; and environmentally, the river is a water and wildlife resource that cannot be replaced.

I grew up on the south fork of the river. I fished, swam, hunted, skated, and more than anything else, explored nature. I grew to know the river fondly, use it wisely, and love it.

The river's benefits and value as well as its need for improvement, conservation, and care I am well aware of.

In the next few months, I plan to share with you the Crow River, both the north and south forks.

Where do the forks start? Where do they end? How long are they? What is happening to the river and what isn't?

By the time spring arrives and the river is flowing again, I hope you and the river have benefited.

Area lakes fishing report

Although angling activity has been high and fishhouses have started to dot our area lakes in pretty good numbers, ice conditions didn't improve much throughout last week, and the walleye bite on many lakes has slowed.

After a good start and excellent conditions for making ice, the weather turned, in favor of those who hate winter and against those who love it.

On Wednesday of last week, temperatures hit the low 50s, melting most of the snow, slowing ice production, and creating a sloppy mess of water on top of the ice.

Reports as of Dec. 30, had about 10 inches of ice on Dog Lake and most of the smaller lakes, with anywhere from eight to 11 inches of ice on bigger lakes, like Howard.

Joe's Sport Shop in Howard Lake reported: Anglers have been heading out in good numbers. On Howard, the walleye bite has slowed a bit and it seems not many anglers have tried finding the crappies yet. Big Waverly has been the hottest lake, providing good action on nice crappies.

LiL' Angie's Bait and Tackle near Lester Prairie reported: Its first week in business was pretty good with the hottest selling bait being crappie minnows. LiL' Angie's noted quite a bit of activity from northern pike anglers on Winsted Lake, a decent walleye bite with a lot of angler activity on Swan Lake, and small to mid-sized crappies hitting on Dog Lake.

On a final note, Dave Klug of Winsted speared a trophy northern pike on a Longville, Minn. area lake last week. The fish weighed in at 17 pounds, was 39-plus inches long, and had a girth of 18 inches.

Outdoor notes

  • Remember: ice, especially early ice, is never completely safe.
  • The Lester Prairie Sportsmen's Club will meet tonight at 7 p.m. at the clubhouse.
  • The Wright County Chapter of Pheasants Forever will have a corn giveaway for pheasants and wildlife Saturday, Jan. 8 from 8 to 11 a.m. at Lampi's Auction, located at Hwy. 55 and Wright County Rd. 6. Bring your own containers. Quantities may be limited due to demand. For more information, call 320-274-CORN (2676).
  • Dogs and pets kept outside need special care during the winter months and periods of extreme cold weather. Make sure your pets are properly cared for this winter.
  • Carry a winter survival kit in your vehicle.
  • For a winter vacation, head north to one of the prime ice fishing lakes and rent a big deluxe fishhouse for a weekend.
  • Now that the hunting season is over for another year, make sure that your firearms and ammunition are properly stored and locked in a safe location away from children.
  • Make plans now for your next outdoor adventure.
  • As we enter a new year and millennium, ask yourself what you are going to do to improve your own personal relationship with the outdoors. It's a good time to become more conservation minded.

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