Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz

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

May 8, 2000

Get ready for the opener

At no other time of year is the level of anticipation higher for an angler than on the eve of the fishing opener.

To that, you may be able to add weeks or even a month, because the fishing bug bites some anglers harder and earlier than others.

In our area and throughout Minnesota, this is the week before the opener, the eve of a long-awaited event.

On Saturday, May 13, hundreds of thousands of anglers will take to our lakes and rivers in search of northern pike and the mighty walleye.

During the week, anglers will be buying bait, replacing line and fixing reels, organizing tackle boxes, greasing trailer tires, reading instructions to the latest in electronic gear, and doing all of those other little things that need to get done in preparation for another fishing season.

For some, the preparation is more of an event than the actual fishing.

This year, with much of the above mentioned already done, leaving only the fishing part of it, the opener should be a good one. An early spring, warm weather, and water temperatures, and no forecasted cold fronts for the week all bode for a good bite.

Dave Groff of Lil' Angie's Bait and Tackle, located at the Treasure Hunt near Lester Prairie, expects a good opener in our area, and looks for Mille Lacs and a few lakes in the Spicer area to be the hot spots.

Dave also reported catfish are biting in deeper holes on the Crow River. Lake Ann is producing a few crappies in deeper water. The panfish action on Swan is picking up and a two-plus pound crappie was taken off Winsted Lake last week.

For the opener Lil' Angie's will be open from 9 to 11 p.m. Friday, May 12; 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday, May 13, and from 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday, May 14.

Lil' Angie's is an electronic license vendor and carries a full line of bait and tackle.

Joe's Sport Shop in Howard Lake reported that with good weather, fishing activity on area lakes has really picked up in the last week or so. Joe's expects the action to be good for the opener and will be open for anglers Friday from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m.; Saturday from 4:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Sunday from 5:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Lakes in our area that typically have been good for walleye on the opener include Washington, Ann, and Collinwood. For northern pike, Francis, Stahls, and Winsted have been good producers.

If you're not ready for the opener, get rolling, you only have four days left.

Outdoor notes

  • Be prepared for bugs. Gnats, mosquitoes, and other biting insects popped their heads out this past week.
  • Area license agents and the DNR suggest anglers buy their fishing license now to avoid long lines at sales counters right before the fishing opener. The new electronic licensing system (ELS) in place is designed to provide fast, convenient service, but as some agents are still getting used to it, it could actually take longer this time.
  • Be prepared for low water levels and expect extra time needed in landing your boat at area accesses this season.
  • The best time to hunt morel mushrooms is when the lilacs bloom. Due to dry conditions, morel hunting could be very tough this year.
  • For more fishing fun and fewer headaches, replace the line in your fishing reels.
  • Be courteous, not competitive, with other anglers this fishing season.

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