Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz
Herald Journal

May 22, 2006

Cold, rain, and wind

Although many anglers did well, and, in general, the fishing was pretty good, I wasn’t one of the brave hearts that was willing to get out on the water and freeze my tail off on the opening day of the 2006 Minnesota fishing opener.

I had planned to load up the boat and head to Diamond Lake near Atwater, and then to Stahls Lake just north of Hutchinson, but heavy winds, rain, and cold temps kept me on the shoreline.

Fishing from the shoreline on a few area lakes, and the Crow River, I did manage to nab one nice two-pound walleye, and one small northern pike.

The bait of choice was a fathead minnow on a slip bobber rig.

For anglers that did get their boats in the water, the walleye and northern pike action was fairly good.

The best reports came from traditionally good opening day lakes, Washington and Collinwood.

The anglers I spoke with all took home opening day limits from those lakes.

The next best hot spot was the dam on the south fork of the Crow River at Hutchinson.

Anglers there had a few walleyes, but good numbers of northern pike.
Dog Lake near Winsted also produced good numbers of northern pike.

Other lakes that generated good reports for the first week of fishing included John near Annandale, Parley, Waconia, and Granite, with Sugar providing, what sounded like, the best action.

I was hoping to have a lot more to report, but when the weather is miserable, so is the reporting.

Good luck fishing and if you’re heading out to any of our area lakes in search of walleye, fish at night and hit shallow water on the windy side of the lake.

DNR’s PRIM maps help anglers find places to fish
From the DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Public Recreation Information Maps (PRIM) can help anglers find public accesses to lakes and rivers, including canoe carry-in sites and fishing piers.

The set of 51 separate maps identify a wide variety of federal, state and county lands available for other public recreation activities such as hunting, camping, hiking and boating.

“Maps are updated on a three- to five-year rotation, so they are kept as current as possible,” said Amy Eillison, DNR cartographer. “Eighteen maps will be updated for 2006. That will make 37 of the 51 maps “GPS friendly.” Latitude and longitude lines have been added to provide information to find an approximate location to plug into your GPS unit.”

The maps also provide anglers with information about the types of boat ramps (concrete, gravel, earth or metal) available, parking spaces, fish species and contact information for each site.

In addition to angling opportunities, more specifically, PRIM locates campgrounds, trails, forests, parks, wildlife management areas and refuges, natural and scientific areas and much more.

PRIM maps, which cost $5.95, are available from the DNR gift shop, Minnesota’s Bookstore, and several sporting goods and map stores around the state.

DNR question of the week
From the DNR

Q: How important is the spring run-off to Minnesota’s ground water supply?

A: Snowmelt and rainfall during the spring months are the sources of major replenishment for the entire hydrologic system in Minnesota, including ground water.

While a great deal of the spring run-off melts into lakes and rivers, some of it infiltrates the soil into two principal zones: saturated and unsaturated.

The saturated zone is where aquifers are found.

Water stored as ground water flows into rivers and lakes through springs and seeps, helping to maintain their levels.

Most of the summer precipitation is taken up by growing vegetation or is evaporated.

Ground water pumped from aquifers supplies 75 percent of Minnesota’s drinking water and nearly 90 percent of the water used for agricultural irrigation.

Outdoor notes

• Canada goose goslings have hatched in our area and because of high water levels, it looks like it was a very good hatch.

Later this summer, you can expect to see an awful lot of geese in our area.

• The 2006 Minnesota bass fishing season opens Saturday, May 27.

• The morel mushroom hunting season isn’t over yet.

But, so far, I’ve been blanked and have yet to find or, worse yet, taste a morel for this season.

• Let the roadsides grow – imagine acres and acres of grassland and wildlife habitat, the potential exists in our road ditches. Simply delay roadside mowing until Aug 1.

• Gnats and wood ticks have arrived for another season – mosquitoes are next.

Look out and be prepared. High water levels could produce huge numbers of the little buggers.

• The application deadline for the 2006 Minnesota moose hunting season is June 16.

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

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