Historically, Minnesota fishing openers are best described in two words: hit or miss. This year, history repeated itself. The 2018 fishing opener with the annual Minnesota Governor's Fishing Opener held in the central part of the state at Green Lake in Spicer. Every year it's in a different location highlighting a local community as prime spot for tourism. "We had a great time," Gov. Dayton said, "I caught three bass, which made my whole day, made my last Fishing Opener very special."
Fishing from a kayak is inexpensive, simple and allows accessibility to great out of the way fishing spots. Kayaks very versatile, with no limit to the places to fish. For myself, having fished most of my whole life, fishing from a kayak never promised to have a lot of appeal — until unsinkable, sit-on-top kayaks came on the market. Kayaks for fishing are rapidly becoming the real deal. Originally as means for transportation and great exercise, they are increasingly popular due to their broad appeal to men, women and children.
CHIRP Sonar continues to be a buzz word in fish-finding technology. Developed in the 1950s by the military, it now comes standard on all the major fishing electronics manufacturers. Not limited to deep water use, anglers are also reaping the benefits of CHIRP technology for use in shallow waters. "Traditional sonar relies on just one or two frequencies to provide all the information to the processor, which limits the level of detail that can be produced," according to Jacob Scott of Lowrance Electronics.
One a recent Sunday, I took a break from fishing. Morning church service and lunch someplace sounded good. My wife, Deb, reminded me of a writers workshop held later in the afternoon in Bagley with author Will Weaver. I admitted to seeing the notice in the Enterprise. My wife taped it to the kitchen counter, a daily reminder. Or a subtle way to say help is needed with my writing. Anyway reason enough to make the drive to Bagley.
What impact does better fishing electronics have on the fisheries resource? How does fishing spots marked with GPS coordinates, shared readily with others, affect game fish populations? Or the growing popularity of luxury home sleeper wheelhouses? What will the additional day and night fishing pressure do to the fishing and the resource?
Marine depth sounders or fish finders are ever-changing. But the good news is, whether you fish deep or shallow, for walleyes, bass or panfish, electronic depth sounder choices are available to fit your individual fishing needs. Manufacturers are reacting to consumer demand, who want an affordable, full-featured depth sounder, by introducing consumer-friendly priced units.
F-M Walleyes Unlimited, Inc. vice president Brenton Hell, like most anglers, has limited time on the ice or water, typically one or two days a week. Recently, I caught up with Hell upon his return from a fishing trip to Flagg Island Resort on Lake of the Woods, an outing he shared with other Fargo-Moorhead Walleyes members. The group found weather conditions less than favorable for human or fish. Thirty-five to 40-below wind chills and gusty winds greeted the eager fisherman.
Prime forage, found in our area lakes, has produced a flourishing crappie population. Crappie topping 14 to 15 inches in length are not uncommon. Ice fishing experts, like Tim Schmid, fish for a number of species all winter, but like so many anglers focuses a majority of their time chasing crappies.
Sport fisherman enjoyed a pretty good 2017 fishing season in the Park Rapids area. Walleyes, elusive then at other times, showed a willingness to engage with anglers. Bass anglers enjoyed an excellent season. Panfish, sunfish and crappies were abundant in supply and size.
I have kept up with the pike regulations development debate. Close to home, some lakes in Park Rapids area are seemingly overrun with small, hammer-handled pike, 18 to 24 inches in length. The DNR first started talking about pike issues, knowing the problems of too many pike was not the case in all lakes. For example, good-sized structure exists in lakes found in the northeast portion of the state. Pike that were lower in abundance grew faster, as found in some south waters. A one-size-fits-all regulation would not work in all lakes.