By Chris Schultz Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal & Howard Lake Herald, Minn. December 15, 1997
Area lakes fishing report
Although ice conditions have been improving and the weather has been super for outdoor fun, ice fishing in our area has gotten off to a slow start. There have been no great reports of fast action or heavy angling pressure on any of our area lakes.
It's hard to say if the fish aren't biting or if there just havn't been enough anglers trying. For the most part and according to a few bait shops, there have not been many anglers drilling holes, wetting lines or buying bait.
On Howard, a dozen or so houses have been pushed out and the other lakes in the area, like Winsted, are carrying just a few houses. The action will pick up when the ice is thick enough to drive on, but for now with six to eight inches of ice on most lakes, the action has been slow.
Joe's Sport Shop in Howard Lake reported: Anglers fishing Howard Lake are getting good numbers of northern pike on shiner minnows, Washington and Buffalo are still producing small walleyes, and the panfish bite across the area has been slow to almost non-existent.
Joe's also mentioned spear anglers on Howard and other area lakes are doing alright, but most of the lakes are a bit cloudy and spear anglers have been reporting poor visibility.
Radtke Bait and Tackle in Winsted reported slow activity across the area. They noted a majority of anglers have been heading to Winsted or Howard in search of fish.
This year's hard water season does seem to be off to a slow start, but don't expect it to stay that way. As the ice gets thicker, so will the fishing pressure. For better success, remember to be mobile and use light weight and clean tackle. When the fish are picky, you should be too.
Minnesota pheasant season closed
Minnesota's pheasant hunting season closed Sunday, Dec. 14. From personal experience and a few reports, the hunting in a few parts of the state was much better than expected. While hunting through much of our area and in western Minnesota was very poor, the southcentral and southwestern parts of the state provided some very good action.
I made several trips to the Martin and Jackson County area a few hours south of us and found a good number of birds and almost no hunting pressure.
It was kind of funny. There were Minnesota hunters crawling all over northern Iowa and northeastern Nebraska, but very few were hunting in southern Minnesota.
I also hunted in those states, but the best bird action I found this fall was in the southern part of good old Minnesota. Birds were there and you could hunt an entire day without running into another hunter.
If the winter is mild and spring nesting conditions are favorable, look for good hunting in those area of Minnesota next fall.