Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

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

May 21, 2001

Fishing the opener: weather was good

The weather was better than the fishing.

The was the case for most of the anglers in our area. Although fish were caught, and in general terms, the fishing for walleye and northern pike wasn't bad, the weather was the real story.

For the first time in quite a few years, and especially compared to last year's opener, the weather was great for fishing. Sunshine, not too much wind, and warm, pleasant temperatures set the tone and made the day, for just about every angler, a success.

Personally, the water was a bit cold for wader fishing, but the sunshine and air temperature made up for it.

I started my opening day foray at about 6 a.m. on Lake Ann. The landing and boat ramp were closed, making activity on the lake slow, and setting the stage for some quiet and peaceful shore and wader fishing.

For about an hour, I was the only angler fishing the shoreline or the creek. On Ann, I managed one small walleye and nabbed several bass in the process.

From there, I headed to the north shore of Lake Mary. Mary provided a zero for fish, and a very noticeable hole and corresponding leak in my waders.

I can honestly tell you water temperatures were still very cold on opening day.

From there, with some time spent warming up and drying out in the truck, I headed to the south fork of the Crow River. Because of high water and a fast current, the river was a little difficult to fish.

But it did provide some action. After missing on several strikes, I switched to smaller hooks via a nightcrawler harness, and picked up one small walleye.

Not a bad opening day - two walleyes, a few other fish, a patch put on the waders, and beautiful weather.

Just for your information, my bait of choice was a green nightcrawler.

In other opening day action, Joe's Sport Shop in Howard Lake reported: Howard produced a few walleyes, the crappie action on Mary was good, and the hottest lake on the opener was probably Collinwood.

One angler noted he counted over 150 boats on Collinwood during one stretch on opening day.

Joe's noted business was fast over the weekend and leeches were the number one seller.

Dave Groff of Lil' Angie's Bait and Tackle at the Treasure Hunt reported: Business was good with a lot of anglers coming through and lakes Parley, Waconia, and Collinwood probably providing the best opening day walleye action.

Dave also added, most walleyes were caught in very shallow water and farther north, lakes Leech and Mille Lacs were good producers on the opener.

The hottest sellers at Lil' Angie's were fatheads and leeches.

Outdoor notes

­ If you would like to give fishing on the Crow River a try, go now. Soon, the river and the woods surrounding it will be flush with mosquitoes and almost unbearable to fish. When the bugs hit, use a face net, repellent, and go to the river on a windy day.

­ The public access at Lake Ann is now open.

­ The largemouth bass fishing season on lakes in our area opens Saturday, May 26.

­ Howard Lake's Good Neighbor Days fishing contest is set for Saturday, June 23.

­ For bass, head to the store and pick up a few Berkley Power Slugs. I've found they're a killer for bass on our area lakes.

­ Morels are out. A few local hunters noted they ran into some nice bunches of morels this week. Those local experts also noted the morel hunt could be over very soon.

­ Remember to have your dog checked for heartworm and put on a heartworm preventative medication.

­ Plan your fall hunting trips now.

­ Good luck fishing, and please be courteous, cautious, and not competitive while on the water this season.

­ Ticks are out and about. Make sure you check yourself on a regular basis for the little critters.

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