Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

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

Jan. 8, 2001

Milder weather means more fishermen

Giving way to the pleas of frozen ice anglers and irritated kids, Mother Nature finally sent a frigid cold December packing and ushered in a new year.

The new year brought with it hopes of better fishing, requests from Gov. Ventura for increased funding for natural resources, and 35-degree temperatures that felt like a heat wave. A few well-seasoned anglers were even speaking the words "Indian summer."

The warm weather, while it unthawed the die hard anglers, also enticed many more anglers to get out of the recliner and head for the ice.

However, as usual, when activity by anglers picks up, the fishing slows down.

Reports from anglers and area bait shops noted a few lakes that are producing fish but also indicated a general slowdown in fishing.

In most years, that is the norm. With more cars, trucks, snowmobiles, and traffic on the lakes the fish, especially walleyes, get spooked and the bite slows down.

Dave Groff of Lil' Angies Bait and Tackle at the Treasure Hunt near Lester Prairie reported: The fishing on several lakes in the area has slowed down a bit. On Howard, the crappie action has dropped off and many of the smaller lakes don't seem to be producing any fish. The best action is coming from Swan, Waconia, and Winsted. Swan, near the city of Silver Lake, is giving up small crappies. Anglers on Waconia are nabbing evening walleyes near the high banks, and northern pike are still hitting on Winsted Lake at a good clip.

Joe's Sport Shop in Howard Lake reported: Although the sunfish action on Howard's north end continues to be pretty good, the action on northern pike, walleye, and crappike has shut down. A few walleyes are still coming off the south end, but not many. Collinwood and Dog are producing a few crappies, and the action on Winsted Lake has been good. On Winsted, anglers are finding decent action on northerns and the crappie bite is picking up.

Joe's noted that due to several fishhouse break-ins, the activity on Lake Ann has slowed. According to reports from anglers, fishhouses on Lake Ann have been broken into on several occasions this season.

On a final fishing note, now is the time to get out there and find your own out-of-the-way spot. Get away from the traffic, be mobile, try several different baits and presentations, and use light tackle.

Outdoor notes

­ The Howard Lake Sportsmen's Club will host its annual fishing derby on Howard Lake Saturday, Feb. 10. The grand prize in the drawing is a deluxe King Crow fish house on wheels. Raffle tickets, as well as club hats, are available from club members and at Joe's Sport Shop.

­ The Winsted Sportsmen's Club will meet Tuesday, Jan. 9 at 7 p.m. at Tom's Corner Bar in Winsted.

­ The Lester Prairie Sportsmen's Club will meet tonight at 7 p.m. at the clubhouse.

­ The first snowmobile safety training class at the Lester Prairie Sportsmen's Club will be Wednesday, Jan, 10. Registration begins at 6 p.m.

­ The Wright County Chapter of Pheasants Forever is sponsoring a corn giveaway for pheasants and other wildlife Saturday, Jan. 20 from 8 to 11 a.m. at Lampi's Auction, Highway 55 and Wright County Road 6.

­ Be careful while traveling or driving on our area lakes. The large amount of snowfall combined with the recent meltdown can make travel very difficult. Also, anglers with fishhouses on the lakes should be concerned about water building up on the ice. Raising or blocking your fishhouse up off of the ice a few inches is a good idea.

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