Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz

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

June 28, 1999

The cycles of fishing

Spring, summer, fall, or winter - fishing is definitely a sport of seasons and specific periods of time with in seasons.

In spring, when the fish move into the shallows to feed and spawn, the fishing is excellent. This usually occurs from mid-May to mid-June.

In the summer, the water gets warm, the dog days hit and the fish move into deeper water becoming more difficult to find and catch.

Then fall moves in and the fishing just before freeze-up can be great. In late October and early to mid-November, the fish, especially lunker walleyes and northern pike, move into the shallows and feed like mad, making the fishing great.

A few weeks later, the lakes freeze over and when the ice gets thick enough, there is another mad rush of fishing. This mad rush usually occurs right around Christmas time.

After that, and until the spring the fishing is kind of like it is in August - slow.

Now that you have a little understanding of when the best fishing occurs in our neck of the woods, it's time to hit the lake and wet a line because the season has changed. The sunfish are moving off the spawning beds into deeper water, and the dog days of summer and fishing will soon be here.

Several anglers from the area reported last week that most of the sunfish, especially the big males have moved off the spawning beds and are now being caught in 10 to 12 feet of water just off the outside edge of weedlines near the spawning beds. Soon, the sunfish will disperse even more making them and larger game fish that feed on them harder to find and catch.

Other reports, have crappies biting in 12 to 15 feet of water on Lakes Mary, Howard, and Ida. Ida, Waconia, Clearwater, and John are still giving up numbers of sunfish in deeper water just off the spawning areas.

Joe's Sport Shop in Howard Lake reported: Anglers heading to Howard Lake are still finding good action on northern pike trolling with spoons and live bait, and the sunfish bite is still good, although it has slowed up a bit.

The trick right now is to concentrate on areas and weed lines close to spawning areas and shallow water areas the fish were using just a week or two ago.

If the fish aren't there, spend some time trying to find them before you concentrate your efforts on fishing one particular area or piece of structure.

Outdoor notes

  • If you have been wondering about Angus, here's a little update: Angus just celebrated his first birthday. Actually, it's hard to believe he's only a year old, when most of the time it feels like I've had for a life time. At this stage, good and bad habits are pretty well entrenched, and I often wonder if there is a nuclear power plant somewhere in eastern McLeod County pumping him full of energy.
  • Applications for the 1999 Minnesota fall turkey hunting season are due by July 2. Applications are available at area license vendors.
  • Plan your fall hunting trips now.
  • Make sure your dog has been checked for heartworm and that he is on a heartworm preventative medication. Also, check your dog often for ticks.
  • Fish deeper water for sunnies and concentrate on outside weed edges just off the areas where sunfish were spawning. Small leeches are a good choice for bait at this time of year.
  • Last week provided more hours of daylight than any other week of the year. Soon the days will become noticeably shorter.
  • On a disappointing note, conditions this spring were not favorable for a good pheasant hatch. It was a wet spring and with cool weather and young pheasant chicks are very sensitive to cold wet conditions.

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