Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

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

June 17, 2002

Days are long and sunfish are spawning

The summer solstice, Friday, June 21, the longest day of the year, should be a boom for area anglers.

The long hours of sunshine we all can enjoy, and throw in what should be great action on spawning sunfish, and it should be a hay day for anglers.

In the past week, the sunfish on smaller lakes just started to sit on beds in very shallow water. By the end of this week the action should be fast and furious and, without question, the best fishing for sunfish of the season.

The trick is to head for shallow water, two to three feet, and find the spawning beds - small saucer shaped holes in the gravel. Most of the time they are easy to pick out ­ looking like white dots or little spoon outs of gravel amidst a weedy bottom.

When you find them you will find hungry and aggressive fish, sometimes big ones.

Angle worms and wax worms on very light line and a small hook works the best. If worms don't cut the mustard, try small leeches, or my favorite, a pan fish popper or dry fly on a fly rod.

Another good tip is to make sure your hook is small and sharp.

Finally, make sure your fillet knife is sharp and the frying pan is ready.

Moving on, Joe's Sport Shop and Hardware reported: Small northerns are hitting on Howard, a few sunfish are biting, and kids have been nabbing largemouth bass off the fishing pier. Although the sunfish bite isn't in full swing yet, the action should be good this week. Joe's also noted Collinwood Lake has been providing good action on northerns, and also giving up a few walleyes.

Dave Groff of Lil' Angie's Bait and Tackle at the Porthole in Lester Prairie reported: The sunfish are finally spawning on some lakes in the area. Eagle and Mary are giving spawning sunfish, and Swan Lake near the City of Silver Lake has been providing good action on crappies.

Other reports have the catfish biting like crazy on the Crow River and northerns hitting spoons on Winsted Lake.

Northern takes too big a bite

A few weeks ago I let you know about a 35-inch northern pike that tried to eat and swallow a four to five pound sucker. Needless to say the sucker was a little more than the pike could handle. The pike was found washed up on shore with the sucker stuck in his gullet.

The 35" pike probably weighed 12 pounds. If he could of handled the sucker, the fish may have been a dandy 17 pound lunker.

Although some may question the size of the sucker. I don't, I pulled the sucker out of the northern's mouth and it was an easy four to five pounds or more of fish.

Outdoor notes

­ Dave Groff of Lester Prairie nabbed a 23-pound carp on the Crow River last week. That's a monster.

­ The walleye action on Mille Lacs continues to be super.

­ Another fishing tip from a reliable source has Belle Lake near Hutchinson giving up good numbers of walleye.

­ Put new line on your fishing reels.

­ Give rubber worms and scented slugs and shot for bass.

­ With the sunfish bite on, a great way to eat the small fillets is deep fried with hot sauce. If you like spicy buffalo wings you will love spicy sunfish.

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

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