Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz
Herald Journal

April 12, 2004

Time to fish

The ice is completely gone from lakes in our area and from many lakes to our north, boats have come out of winter storage in big numbers. Minnesota’s traditional stream trout opener is set for Saturday.

In our little neck of the woods that kind of stuff usually means some fast action on big carp in the backwaters of the north and south forks of the Crow River and spring crappie action. For big carp and maybe even some catfish, due to low water levels, anglers will have to move from traditional backwater flooded areas right to the river to nab a few fish.

River fishing this spring should be easy because of the low water. However, a few big doses of spring rain can change that pretty fast.

For good spring crappie action anglers in our area don’t have to look much farther than the lake that’s just down the road a bit.

They may not be the Red Lake slabs angler would like them to be, but crappie action on lakes like Mary, Dutch, and Howard can be fast and fun. Dutch is hit and miss. The action on Howard, in the bay near the ballpark can be super, and on Mary, drifting a tube jig tipped with a minnow near the sportsmen’s club landing is almost a sure bet.

From one year to the next, the sleepers always seem to be Swan and Winsted. Swan can provide crappies in big numbers to anglers casting beetle spins in the northeast part of the lake. Winsted is a mix and match, seasoned crappie buffs may only pick a few from the boat with all the fancy gear, while a kid from shore with a Zebco 202 and a bucket of worms reels them in one right after another. The southeast part of the lake near the landing always seems to be the steadiest spot.

All the lakes mentioned above provide some very good shore fishing opportunities too.

Regarding shore fishing, fishing piers in our area should be ready to go very soon. Some already are in action.

Finally, as the water warms, so will the fishing and although there is never a sure bet – spring crappies and carp are a real good bet in our little neck of the fishing woods.

Outdoor notes

• With another season of open water fishing upon us, we all need to be reminded that the more simple fishing is the more fun it is. In next week’s column, we’ll wet a line on that subject.

• The Minnesota spring wild turkey hunting season begins Tuesday, April 14.

• Legislation creating a new dove hunting season in Minnesota has cleared a few hurdles this session and may become reality in the near future.

• The Winsted Sportsmen’s Club will meet Tuesday, April 13, 6 p.m., at the Lake Mary Clubhouse. Members are to take note of the early start. Beginning at 6 p.m. club will begin building about 40 wood duck houses.

• The trap shooting season at the Lester Prairie Sportsmen’s Club begins Wednesday, April 14 with practice shooting. League shooting begins on Wednesday, April 21. Extensive remodeling of the clubhouse will also begin in April.

• The 2004 Minnesota fishing opener is set for Saturday, May 15.

• Last week I spent some time in the outdoors walking my dog, cleaning up the yard, hanging new bird feeders, hiding Easter eggs, flying kites with my daughters, and playing the Easter bunny for about 200 kids and 50 or so residents at St. Mary’s Care Center in Winsted.

• For more information on the youth firearms classes taking place in our area, contact the following:

- Winsted: Steve Fiecke at (320) 485-2434 or Brian Wilford at (320 485-4237

– Lester Prairie: Doug Minnick at (320) 395-2143.

• Correction from last week: The photo that was identified as loons on Winsted Lake were really Merganser ducks. The pair has been seen on Winsted Lake since ice out.

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

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