Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

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

May 13, 2002

No fishing news is bad news

This spring, poor weather has added up to poor fishing.

he mix of wind, cold weather, rain, and even snow has made conditions for anglers miserable, and last week, the week before the opener, put spring fishing almost at a stand still.

Dave Groff of L'il Angies Bait and Tackle at the Porthole in Lester Prairie reported: "No fishing news is bad news. Nobody has been out and I haven't heard a thing about fishing this week."

At Joe's Sport Shop and Hardware in Howard Lake, the day before the opener was busy with anglers coming through, but fishing news from the week was nonexistent, except for the weather.

In Minnesota, there is only one thing that can dampen the spirits of an opening day angler, and those who love spring. That one thing is the weather.

This year, when it comes to angling, it seems the weather and Mother Nature has won and defeated even the most diehard of anglers.

Ice fishing and ice conditions for fishing stunk most of the winter. Spring crappie fishing never really happened because of the weather, and on a more somber note, most of the trees are still bare of leaves.

Last year on the fishing opener the apple trees and lilacs in my back yard were in full bloom and full of color. This year, they seem to be in a stage of hibernation, waiting, like the rest of us, for spring to actually arrive.

Sooner or later, the weather will turn, fish will bite, and any fishing news will be better than no fishing news.

Local clubs making news

With Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever and a whole host of other national, state and regional conservation organizations out there, it can be hard to include our local sportsmen's clubs in the picture of conservation and the outdoors.

Although they work on a smaller scale with fewer members, they can and have accomplished some big things when it comes to serving the outdoor community.

In Howard Lake, a new boat landing and access on Howard Lake is in the planning process, and when completed will benefit anglers from through the area. A big chunk of the project was spearheaded by members of the Howard Lake Sportsmen's Club.

On lakes Ida, Dog, Mary and Round, the Winsted Sportsmen's Club is in the lake clean up process, has some docks in the water, a Mini Biff or two out, and, like many years in the past, has paid the taxes on the these lake accesses.

The club also constructed and put out over 60 wood houses this spring and is planning a new fundraising effort to replace its He/She Mixer.

Need to take a class on pistols and the safe use of handguns, or take some to enjoy shooting your rifle? If you do, the Waverly Sportsmen's Club is the place. In recent years the club has constructed a great rifle range set up and began teaching and hosting classes on handgun use and certification.

Down in Lester Prairie, teams and participants in the clubs annual trapshooting league are at an all time high.

With housing encroachment, higher costs, and the regular battles of running a trapshooting league all there, the club has continued to be successful in providing a quality trapshooting experience.

This year over 40 five- to seven- member teams are shooting in the league.

On top of those accomplishments, all of these local clubs sponsor Department of Natural Recsources certified firearms safety courses, a top notch program that teaches kids and adults a lot more than just firearms safety.

When you send in your next membership for a national or state conservation organization, give some thought about what you can do for your local club.

Outdoor notes

­ The Winsted Sportsmen's Club will meet Tuesday, May 14, at the Lake Mary Clubhouse. Lake clean up will start at 6 p.m. with meeting to follow. The agenda includes a possible gun raffle fundraiser.

­ Remember to purchase your new 2002 Minnesota fishing license and take some time to read the 2002 Minnesota Fishing Regulations Handbook.

­ A few weeks ago Lake Ann was featured as the lake of the week in the Outdoor News.

­ Look for the crappie action on our local lakes to pick up as the air and water temps warm up.

­ Fishing on the Crow River has not improved. Although anglers are picking up cat fish, the fast current is making fishing difficult. The best bet on the river right now is to use a heavy bell sinker with a two-foot snell and knightcrawler rig.

­ For the best action on walleyes, fish shallow water at night with light, clean tackle.

­ Take a kid fishing-you will have fun, and so will he or she.

­ Good luck fishing and please be courteous, cautious and not competitive when you're on the lake this season.

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