Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz

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

February 15, 1999

Ice fishing season to end Feb. 21

Before I flip over a pail and get angling into this week's fishing report, we all need to be reminded that the 1998 Minnesota Fishing Regulations Handbook lists the wrong season end date for inland waters and spearfishing.

The actual season end date for walleye, northern pike, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and muskellunge, as well as for spearing, is Sunday, Feb. 21.

The date listed in the booklet changed because the intent of the inland fishing regulation is to provide three full weekends of fishing in February before closing the season. Last year, the DNR discovered that a glitch in the regulation language inadvertently caused the 1998-99 season to close early. As a result the fishing regulations handbook had to go to print with that date.

Again, the DNR has changed the season end date to Sunday, Feb. 21.

With that settled, my pail finally flipped and one good weekend of walleye and northern pike fishing left before May, we can get into some local fish talk.

The scoop is: although travel on our area lakes isn't easy with water or hard crusty snow drifts on top of the ice, anglers are heading out and a few lakes have been providing some good fishing.

Rain, warm weather, and water on top of the ice prompted many anglers to get their houses off the lakes early and take to the pail flipping style.

One angler stated the conditions on the ice were miserable early last week. This pail-flipper was happy because the sunfish were biting and the weather was warm, but his feet and pants were wet as there was more than two or three inches of water on the ice in the area he was fishing.

Another angler reported he was darn happy to get his fish house off the ice before things got worse.

He also noted the sunfish bite on Waconia had picked up again and the sunnies were finding his pail in good numbers.

Joe's Sport Shop in Howard Lake reported: Anglers on Big Waverly are still getting nice-sized crappies and the fishing on Howard has improved. On Howard, sunnies are biting in 14 feet of water on the north end, northern pike are hitting, and a few anglers are finally nabbing some crappies.

Joe's also noted that they have heard very little regarding some of the smaller lakes in the area like Dog, Ida, Mary, Ann, and Emma.

Moving on, and with only one weekend left of the walleye and northern pike season, it's time to start thinking about late ice panfish and often, some of the best sunfish action of the year.

As the weather warms and the days start getting longer, the sunfish action tends to pick up.

Remember those old hot spots, fish shallow water, and be mobile. A few good bets are the western bays of Lake Minnetonka, Black Lake, Parley, the north end on Lake Mary, and Ida.

Angus update

Many of you may have already forgotten about my young retriever, Angus.

If you haven't, it's because you probably can hear him barking every morning, afternoon, and evening.

If you have forgotten about him, here's a little reminder. Angus is an all black mostly lab with a little spaniel mixed in hunting dog and companion that I got back in July.

Right now, he is about nine months old, 85 or more pounds, and still growing. He had an excellent first season of hunting, but has been a little more creative and annoying than your average young retriever.

His escapades go from chewing, digging, stealing the keys to my truck and hitting the panic button, and getting lost in corn fields to barking like a crazed hound dog at just about anything.

Actually, Angus has responded well to training and I'm confident that he will be a good dog aside from the embarrassing and neighbor-annoying barking. Believe me, if you lived in my neighborhood you might not know Angus, but you would know what he sounded like.

He figured out how to outwit an electronic barking collar in a matter of days and I think he often barks to prove that he is much smarter than me and a sophisticated piece of electronics.

I will end this little update on Angus with this message: big dogs bark loud.

Outdoor notes

  • Look for the winners of the Howard Lake Sportsmen's Club annual fishing derby in next week's column.
  • I heard last week that a local angler took third place at the big ice fishing contest on Forest Lake in early February.
  • If you are feeding pheasants or other wildlife this winter, remember to carry out your feeding program through the entire winter. For more information, and corn for feeding wildlife, call the Wright County Pheasants Forever Chapter at 320-274-CORN (2676).
  • The Winsted Archery Club has put together a two-night beginning archery presentation for Den 6 of the Lester Prairie Webelos. The presentations will be from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Mondays, Feb. 22 and March 1 at the archery lanes in Winsted. Hats off to the Winsted Club and scout leaders for getting area youth involved in archery and the outdoors.
  • Frosty the snowman in my front yard is just about gone. The warm weather and rain last week really took a toll on him.
  • The days are getting longer and the way the weather has been this year, spring could start next week.

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