Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

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

July 15, 2002

Several area lakes still in tough shape

The flooding our area received a few weeks ago may have long lasting effects on several lakes in our area including Ann, Emma, Collinwood, Big and Little Waverly, Round and potentially others.

It seems those lakes that receive high levels of runoff and are fairly shallow were hit hardest by the flooding.

Silt, debris-filled runoff, dirty water, increased algae blooms and I'm sure other factors are all adding to low oxygen levels on several lakes.

For now, reports indicate that Lakes Ann and Emma have been hit the hardest with fill kills being apparent on each lake and severe on Ann. Minor fish kills have also been reported on Collinwood Lake, Winsted Lake, and backwaters of the Crow River.

On Round Lake, one local angler reported that during the flooding, crappies and other fish were able to swim out of the lake across a gravel road and into a water-filled ditch. The angler reported there were hundreds of fish swimming across the road.

Although the significance or number of dead fish on any lake is not yet confirmed, it is apparent that the flooding may have some longterm effects on the quality of these local fisheries.

For the time being, oxygen levels are low and it is unclear when and how the oxygen levels will rebound.

The Crow River, for example, was basically ravaged by the high water and, in my opinion, the quality of fishing on the river will drop dramatically because of the high water.

For the Crow to sustain good numbers of game fish and be a healthy fishery, the water levels need to remain consistent-not too high or too low.

A few years ago, the walleye fishing on both forks of the river in our area was tremendous. In fact, in the fall of 2000, the river provided the best walleye fishing I have ever experienced.

The fishing was good at that time, because the river experienced three straight years of minor fluctuation in its water level. In the spring, it didn't get too high, and in the dead of summer it didn't get too low. That made for a more healthy fishery and better fishing.

In both cases, the river and our shallow lakes, huge amounts of runoff do affect them, in some cases drastically.

Winsted Club Appreciation Party

The Winsted Sportsmen's Club will host its annual appreciation party at the Lake Mary Club House on Saturday, July 20 at 1:30 p.m.

The party is for all those who help out on club projects or donated to the club in any way during the past year. The club asks that those who did donate or help out in any way please attend.

In previous years, turtle soup has been one of the favorites at the party.

Outdoor notes

­ Can you ever remember a tougher year for fishing? A late ice over and poor ice conditions for much of the winter put a big damper on local ice fishing.

A cold spring got open water fishing off to a slow start and now high water and other effects of flooding have killed fish on certain lakes, closed public accesses on others, and in general dampened the spirits of many local anglers.

Throw in hordes of biting mosquitoes and it all adds up to a tough year of fishing.

­ Do your part in helping clean up flood-ravaged lakes, rivers, and stream in our area.

­ On a positive fishing note, the walleyes have hitting on a good pace on Diamond Lake, near Atwater, and the action on Mille Lacs continues to be excellent.

­ The crow hunting season in Minnesota opens today, July 15.

­ Plan your fall hunting trips now. The application deadline for antlerless permits is in early September and hunting for Canada geese in less than two months away.

­ Make sure you dog is checked for heartworm and on a heartworm preventative medication. Also, check your dog for fleas and ticks and don't overwork the pooch in the heat.

­ The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will conduct a bear hunting clinic at Gopher Campfire in Hutchinson on Thursday, July 25 from 7 to 10 p.m. The clinic fee is $5 and advanced registration is not required.

­ The application deadline for the 2002 Camp Ripley archery hunt is Aug. 16. This year's hunt is set for Oct. 17-18 and Oct. 26-27.

­ Be prepared and cautious regarding mosquitoes and other biting insects. When dusk arrives, mosquitoes have been coming out in hordes.

A few mosquitoes bites won't harm most people. However, in some cases, people have been bitten 20 or thirty times in just a matter of minutes.

If you're one of those people who are sensitive to just a few bites, be cautious and prepared. Wear long pants, and long sleeve shirts and use plenty of repellent when outdoors.

If you love to sit out on you deck, but hate the bugs, try plugging in a big fan. A good breeze will keep the mosquitoes away.

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