Sunfish bite is still on

June 14, 2010

by Chris Schultz

Several anglers reported last week that fast action on spawning sunfish has been really hit and miss across our area lakes in the past few weeks.

The same anglers indicated that while the spawn may be just about over on some area lakes, it’s just beginning on others and to catch fish you need to understand the lake you’re on and know if the sunfish are just about done or just starting to spawn.

The best bet is to bounce around on a few different good sunfish lakes and stick to the lakes where the fish are still very shallow and on beds.

Last week, Washington, Parley, the western bays of Lake Minnetonka, Diamond and Ramsey produced fish.

Regarding other angling action, the muskie bite on Waconia has been very good with several anglers reporting some good-sized fish caught and released.

I haven’t heard much at all about walleye action around the area, but did have a few local anglers noting the bite on Mille Lacs has been great.

Moving on, expect the sunfish to head for deeper water soon and when that happens try trolling or drifting in 8 to 12 feet of water off spawning areas with a light spinner rig tipped with a panfish leech.

Howard Lake GND Fishing Contest

The 28th annual Howard Lake Good Neighbor Days’ Fishing Contest will be Saturday, June 26 on Howard Lake.

Registration will take place from 7 to 8 a.m., with a shotgun start at 8 a.m. The contest ends at noon.

Entries will be limited to the first 200, with the cost being $30 if entry forms are received by Sunday, June 20, and $35 for entries received after that date.

For an entry form, go to www.howardlakegoodneighbordays.webs.com.

For additional information, call Denny Decker at (320) 543-2992.

DNR asks citizens to give turtles a brake
From the DNR

Each year at this time, female turtles move from lakes, ponds, wetlands, rivers and streams to nesting areas, where they deposit their eggs in self-excavated nests.

Unfortunately, many nesting areas are separated from the turtles’ wintering areas by roads.

Turtles are often observed crossing roads as they make their way to nesting areas.

“Many turtles and other species are killed on Minnesota roads each year, especially during the nesting season,” said Carol Hall, herpetologist for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

People can help reduce road mortality for turtles in these ways:

• Allow unassisted road crossings.

When turtles can safely cross roads unaided due to a lack of oncoming traffic, allow them to do so.

Observe from a distance and avoid rapid movements as doing otherwise will often cause turtles to change direction, stop, or seek shelter within their shells.

• Maintain direction of travel if road crossing assistance is necessary.

Turtles should be moved across roadways in as direct a line as possible, unless doing so would definitely put them in peril.

If people see a turtle or other animal on the road, they should slow down and drive around it.

Many people want to help turtles cross the road which is understandable.

The best approach is to let the turtle cross unassisted.

Minnesota has nine turtle species, some of which are protected.

Graduation time brings water accidents
From the DNR

At this time of year, there are tragic stories of young people who either drown or become seriously injured in water accidents while attending graduation party festivities.

Unfortunately, most accidents could have been prevented with adult guidance and supervision, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Tim Smalley, DNR water safety specialist, noted some common scenarios when a dozen 17- and 18-year-olds go to one of their parents’ cabins up north.

The stage could be set for a tragedy if:

• An alcohol-impaired person dives off the end of a dock without checking the depth.

The water is only three feet deep and his or her head hits the bottom, fracturing the cervical spine and causing drowning.

• A few young people grab a canoe out of a shed and head out on a moonlit cruise without life vests.

Several hundred yards from shore, the alcohol-impaired paddlers capsize the canoe and only one of the three makes it back to shore.

“Parents should ensure their grads are adequately supervised, and the adult responsible for the gathering should see that teens do not consume alcohol,” said Smalley. “No one should be allowed near any kind of boat, canoe or personal watercraft without wearing a life jacket, and no one should dive head first from a dock.”

Outdoor notes

• A black bear was spotted in Dassel on June 7.

• Remember to get your dog checked for heartworm and on a heartworm preventative medication.

• Because of last week’s heavy rains, expect a few wash outs at area lake landings and higher water level on or area lakes.

• The panfish bite on Pelican Lake near Buffalo has been excellent this spring.

Look for more information on the Pelican Lake restoration project in this column in upcoming weeks.

• Right now is the peak of the pheasant hatch and last weeks heavy rains in our area may have been very detrimental to our local birds.

Cool, wet weather in early to mid-June usually means a poor pheasant hatch and lower pheasant numbers during the fall hunting season.

• The first official day of summer is Monday, June 21.

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