Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz

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

May 22, 2000

Fishing opener: wind and waves

"I fished for eight hours on the opener and had to go back to the truck twice to warm up."

That was a statement made by one opening day angler. With cold temps, rain, some snow, high winds and big waves on Minnesota's 2000 fishing opener, I'm sure many more anglers did the same.

Locally, like everywhere else in the state, the weather was horrible for fishing. Many anglers I spoke with opted for staying home and did not even take to the water on the weekend of the opener.

Dave Groff of Lil' Angie's Bait and Tackle at the Treasure Hunt near Lester Prairie reported: It didn't really matter where you went, fish were biting, but the weather was cruddy.

Groff noted anglers fishing the South Fork of the Crow River near Watertown did quite well on walleyes, with lakes Parley, Collinwood, and Manuella providing some decent walleye action. Top presentations were jig-minnow and spinner-minnow rigs.

Dave also noted Parley provided some decent northern action, Swan Lake was giving up a few walleyes, and the crappie action on Winsted has still been good. With very light angling activity because of the weather, information on how anglers did was tough to come by.

Joe's Sport Shop in Howard Lake reported: Waves, waves, and more waves - it was pretty slow around here for the opener and the first week of the season. Bad weather kept most anglers off the lakes.

According to Joe's, Collinwood was producing walleyes, with Howard providing some pretty decent northern pike action.

Personally, my opening weekend of fishing wasn't a bust, but I've had better.

Saturday morning, in an hour of fishing in my best spot on the South Fork of the Crow River, I didn't get a bite. The river was up and running fast, the wind was howling and my fingers got cold - not a good opening day.

On Sunday, I headed back to the river and things were a little brighter. The sun was shining, my fingers were warmer due to neoprene gloves, and I nabbed two walleyes and one northern in a couple hours of fishing.

Although the river did produce a few fish, rising water levels and a stiff current hampered fishing on the opening weekend and will continue to make fishing on the river difficult for a few weeks.

A final note on the opening weekend report: if you made it out to fish, you can consider yourself a diehard angler. The guy who fished eight hours and went to the truck twice to warm up didn't catch a fish.

Outdoor notes

  • Minnesota's bass fishing season opens Saturday, May 27. Top bass lakes in our include Mary, Marion, Minnetonka, and Waconia.
  • Groff shared some information and a few tips regarding proper storage of bait. It only takes a seven-degree temperature change to kill most bait. When bait-like leeches and minnows are purchased, they should be stored in a cooler with ice to maintain a consistent temperature.
  • The mosquitoes will be out soon. Recent rains will probably bolster the population, so carry the mosquito netting and don't forget the bug spray.
  • Make sure your dog has been checked for heartworm and is on heartworm preventative medication.
  • Conditions for morel mushrooms have improved. Now is the time to get out there and do some hunting.
  • The sunfish have begun to spawn on a few lakes in our area and the spawn will be in full swing very soon.
  • Take advantage of the longer days and get out there and enjoy the spring.

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