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Common fishing questions still need asking and answering

Every day in the boat is a unique experience. For me, spending time with guide clients adds a twist to the fishing and makes angling not only a cat and mouse game of catching fish, but a social setting too.

A lot of questions are asked during the typical trip, both from the clients and myself. Some of them have to do with fishing, but most are related to life. What's your occupation? Do you have kids? Have you vacationed in our area before?

But the questions regarding fishing are never left out. Although guide clients come from east coast to west coast, north and south, sometimes internationally, a few inquisitions come up repeatedly:

Q. How do you know when you've got a bite?

A. If you've got a bobber on the line, it's pretty easy, but when fishing with a jig or a live bait rig, it can be tricky. Weeds and other objects on the bottom can sometimes feel like fish when the hook or sinker makes contact.

Fish will hit the bait, then begin to swim with it, sometimes slowly, other times very quickly. You will commonly feel the "tick" of the fish hitting and then the weight of it as it swims off. In other words, you'll just "know".

Q. Won't the fish in the livewell eat the minnows swimming in there?

A. Not usually. Once you've fought a fish and placed it into the livewell, it's under enough stress and exerted itself in such a way that it won't eat the minnows. If the fish is in the livewell for more than a day, then it's a possibility, but even so, you won't open your livewell hatch to discover the absence of all your bait and a plump fish smiling coyly at you.

Q. What's your favorite lake?

A. It's difficult to have one favorite lake when there are so many wonderful bodies of water in such a condensed area. Each lake in the Park Rapids area is special in its own way.

The continual challenge is finding out how to catch different species of fish on every one of them. This is something that takes time and lots of experimentation. Along with that, there will be days that are frustrating and it might seem that there aren't any fish in the entire lake, but don't give up.

A little information goes a long way in the quest for fish. Local bait shops, avid anglers and fishing guides are all great resources to utilize. Many are very open with suggestions.

Q. When is the best time of year and best time of day to go fishing?

A. Anytime you've got a chance to wet a line. If I had to pick a favorite time of year, it would be spring or fall. As for time of day, my favorite is morning. However, there's potential to catch fish anytime of the day (or night for that matter).

The two biggest walleye's I've personally caught have been in the middle of the day. Numerous guide clients have caught trophy walleye at high noon. The more time you spend on the water, the greater your chances will be to catch fish.