2015 expectations of the fishing season are pretty good
By Gary Korsgaden / For the Enterprise
I have experienced the gambit of conditions on the Minnesota Fishing Opener, from 85 to 90 degree temperatures, to sweeping snow out of the boat.
No matter what the conditions the state’s anglers will face next weekend, for certain the anticipation will be high for a good opener. Ice will have been off area lakes for almost a month in the Park Rapids area.
Last Saturday, Long Lake the surface water temperature was 47 degrees and it’s certain to be in the high fifties and low sixties for Saturday’s opener.
You could not ask for more perfect conditions. Shiners are likely to be in shallows and the walleyes won’t be far behind.
Where will anglers find those walleyes on Saturday is anybody’s guess. But if past experience means anything, walleyes will have completed their spawn on most Park Rapids area lakes.
However, that does not eliminate those spawning areas such as rocky shoals or flowing water into a lake via tributary or river. Anglers fishing shorelines close to moving water at midnight will always do well. Personally, the hour or so before daybreak, then throughout the morning, is good. My days of losing a night’s sleep to start the Minnesota fishing opener are over.
Traditions will dictate for most anglers the lakes and where they will be fishing on Saturday too. Our family cabin, west of the Park Rapids area on Toad Lake, was a gathering area for a number of Minnesota fishing openers. From that location we could over to Park Rapids, back at noon for a quick lunch, a nap and back on the water that evening. Those openers we didn’t do a lot of trolling. Instead, we anchored and cast a jig and minnow along a shallow shoreline point or two.
The coming week we will hear a lot of predictions on where and how to catch the elusive walleye, Saturday. Most we have all heard before. My advice to tip the odds in your favor are to fish shallow and if at all possible, cast lightly with a jig tipped with a minnow.
Try shallow water from the shore out to ten feet deep. Early season, I like to cast a jig tipped minnow, focusing on getting it away from the boat, letting it drop on a slack line and retrieving it slowly back. Jigging Rapalas and puppet minnows, jigging baits were all very productive last summer and fall will certainly debut this spring too.
Will they produce like last year is yet to be determined.
As far as my personal expectations, running extremely high right now, I can’t recall a spring in which the conditions have been better for a good start for the Minnesota Fishing Opener. A lot of folks will certainly be out on the state’s waters and if past history means anything it could be one of the best we have experienced in years.