Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz

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

April 26, 1999

Fishing 'bugs' starting to bite

I've got the disease. The bug finally bit me last week, and the only cure is some time on the water with rod and reel in hand.

My tackle boxes are empty, gear is spread out all over the place, old line is off the reels in preparation for spooling new line, and a brand new tackle box is waiting to be filled.

The crappie bite is about to start, the walleye opener is only 19 days away, and I'm just about ready to go fishing.

Although the weather has been poor for fishing and angling activity so far this spring, the fishing bug is out and anglers all over the place are getting bit.

Many, just like myself, are getting their gear ready, planning for the opener, jotting down old hot spots, and are itching to hit the water.

With bugs swarming, we'll start with a few good shore fishing spots and some areas where kids seem to catch more fish in a day than I do in a season.

Winsted Lake, near the landing; Swan Lake, near the county park; the fishing piers on Waconia, Howard, and Big Waverly; and those kid hot spots like the Crow River, Little Mille Lacs, just west of Lester Prairie, are all great spots to start the season.

These spots can provide some good spring crappie fishing and if the crappies aren't biting, maybe a carp, catfish, or pre-season northern pike may nab your line.

If you need to get the boat out before the opener, try Mary, Big Swan, Dog, Minnetonka, or Dutch for spring crappies.

Find a shallow flat and drift across with a flu flu jig tipped with a crappie minnow. When you start getting hits, focus in on a specific area and give it your best shot.

Moving on to the walleye opener, which is set for Saturday, May 15 on inland waters in Minnesota, it's still a little too early to tell.

Good fishing on the opener depends heavily on the weather and the temperature of the water. If the weather this spring stays cool, the opener could be a slow one, with the walleyes, especially in the bigger lakes, not biting.

Every year, I have a tough time deciding what to do or where to fish on the walleye opener. The last few years I've opted for small bodies of water trying to stay away from the crowds.

This year, I'm planning something similar, a float trip down the Crow River. The decision on what section of the river to fish has not been made yet, and who knows if the river will be high or low at that time.

Last fall, the river produced some darn good fishing and if the water level is low this spring, I'm expecting some good fishing on the opener.

The good part about fishing the river is, if you can't find any walleyes or northern pike, the odds of nabbing a few hard fighting carp or catfish are excellent.

Whatever your choice, let the bugs bite and get a line in the water to relieve the itch.

Outdoor notes

  • The 1999 Minnesota walleye and northern pike opener will be Saturday, May 15. Get your gear ready now and remember to buy your 1999 angling license.
  • The Lester Prairie Sportsmen's Club will meet Monday, May 3 at 7 p.m. at the clubhouse.
  • Replace the line on your fishing reels. Pro anglers say new line is critical for fishing success. For those of us who aren't pro anglers, new line helps prevent twists, tangles, and knots - more time fishing and less untangling line. Also, remember to dispose of old line properly.
  • Plan now for your fall hunting trips.
  • Go camping at a Minnesota state park this summer.
  • Wood ticks will be out very soon. Check your pets for ticks often and make sure they get proper protection against ticks. Talk to your vet about a new product that's on the market. The product is put on the dog, between the animal's shoulder blades, and is absorbed into the skin. It worked great on my dogs last year.
  • Take some time to enjoy the outdoors and watch spring happen.

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