Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

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

June 3, 2002

Fishing was great all around

Largemouth bass, northern pike, sunfish, walleye, crappie, carp, catfish, sucker and bullhead­they found my hook over the long Memorial weekend. Some were big, some were small, and any way I look at the fishing was super.

Fishing the south fork of the Crow River, a few local ponds and a lake or two - from shore or in waders it seemed anything I did caught fish. It was just one of those weekends.

The biggest fish included a six plus pound largemouth bass and an 11 pound catfish. The best fishing came on the Crow River Sunday afternoon. A storm and low pressure front was coming through, a few rain drops were falling, and for once I was in the right place at the right time.

Wader fishing with green nightcrawlers on a plain hook I landed two walleyes, two northern pike, a few suckers, five or six carp, and numerous catfish. Including one monster, the 11 pounder mentioned above.

The low pressure front probably had more to do with the bite than anything else. I have a hunch that I could have caught a lot more walleyes if the catfish wouldn't have been biting so fast.

Moving away from the river, shore fishing for largemouth bass with leeches and floating jigheads was another hot producer. A few different spots produced numerous bass and one lunker.

On a final note and not unique from my own fishing adventures, Sunday morning I found a 35-inch, 10 to 12 pound northern pike washed up on shore near one of my fishing spots. The pike had a good sized (four to five pounds) sucker stuck in his throat. He got the fish half way down and that was it.

In other fishing reports, Joe's Sport Shop and Hardware in Howard Lake reported: The crappie action on Mary and Ann has been good. A two pound crappie was caught on Lake Mary.

Northern pike and a few walleyes are being had on Howard Lake, and Howard is starting to give up a few very nice sunfish. Joe's noted they are hard to find right now, but are good sized and biting in good numbers.

Dave Groff of Lil' Angies Bait and Tackle at the Porthole in Lester Prairie reported: The crappies are hitting on Winsted Lake. Lakes Mary and Eagle are producing sunfish. Lake Ann continues to provide anglers with some good evening walleye action.

On Lake Mary last week, one sunfish angler nabbed a dandy 26 inch largemouth bass and Gus Shoenfeld of Lester Prairie nabbed a five plus pound walleye.

On a few final fishing notes, the water is just stating to really warm up and with it fish activity. Look for the largemouth bass fishing to get better and be the best of the year with in the next week and expect the sunfish spawn to be a little later than usual this year.

The best action for spawning sunfish should happen sometime in mid June.

Heritage grants offered for habitat improvement projects

Local sports clubs and conservation organizations interested in applying for grants to help improve habitat on state wildlife management areas have until Aug. 2 to apply.

The Heritage Enhancement Grant Program was established by the 2001 Minnesota Legislature as a one-time appropriation to provide money to local organizations for habitat work. A total of $832,000 was appropriated for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2002. For the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2002, a total of $950,000 will be available. Funding is through the Heritage Enhancement Fund, which includes sales tax revenues from the Minnesota State Lottery, according to Leslie Tannahill, Heritage Enhancement Grant specialist with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Division of Wildlife.

"Local organizations can consider a variety of projects," Tannahill said. "Examples might include prairie restoration, weed control, woody cover plantings and brushland management. It's up to the organization to determine what kind of project they'd like to take on."

Organizations interested in the program can obtain more information by accessing the DNR Web site at www.dnr.state.mn.us and looking under the grants section. Applications and requirements can be downloaded from the site. Those with more specific questions or seeking to obtain a hard copy can contact a DNR area wildlife manager or call Tannahill at (651) 284-0584 or e-mail her at leslie.tannahill@dnr.state.mn.us.

Outdoor notes

­ Take a Kid Fishing Weekend in Minnesota is set for June 7-9. Adults taking a kid fishing are not required to have a license on that weekend.

­ Morel mushroom hunting is still on the go with avid hunters finding a few here and there. Thursday and Friday, just after Wednesday's rain fall should have been good days for mushroom hunting.

­ Get your dog checked for heartworm and on a heartworm preventative medication.

­ For more fishing fun and less headaches, put new line on your fishing reels.

­ The muskie season in Minnesota opened on June 1.

­ Gnats are out now and the mosquitoes should be out and biting very soon. If you're a river or shore angler, carry mosquito netting for your head and fish the river on windy days.

­ The application deadline for the 2002 Minnesota moose hunting season is Friday, June 14.

­ The outdoor rumor mill carried some news about Kirk Dibb, formerly of Lester Prairie. Dibb, an avid hunter, apparently bagged would could be a record turkey.

Harvested on public land in southeastern Minnesota on the last day of the final spring season, the bird weighed in the 26 pound range, had an 11 inch beard and one and three-quarter inch spurs.

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