Kids offer some opening day advice for Governor Pawlenty
Last Sunday marked the 16th annual Kids Crappie Contest held in the Marine Max Marina on Leech Lake. Despite gusty winds, 114 kids turned out for the community event, each one handed a brand new fishing rod and reel as they registered. For the se...
Last Sunday marked the 16th annual Kids Crappie Contest held in the Marine Max Marina on Leech Lake. Despite gusty winds, 114 kids turned out for the community event, each one handed a brand new fishing rod and reel as they registered. For the second year, I was asked to emcee the contest and really get a kick out of interviewing each young angler as they bring their catch up to the official scale. Many times I'll ask them to tell about what they're doing to make the fish bite and the answers range from humorous to serious.
Since the Governor's Opener will take place today on Leech Lake, the first time since hosting Gov. Harold LeVander at the 1968 Opener, the enthusiastic kids were asked what advice they could offer Gov. Tim Pawlenty for a successful opening day. I anticipated sarcasm, but the anglers all gave genuine, helpful guidance that parallels what you might hear in a bait shop or from a seasoned expert. Follow their suggestions and you may have a successful opener as well.
"Be Patient." Taylor, age 12.
Grandparents, parents, uncles and aunts - pretty much anyone who fishes with a youngster probably uses the phrase when occupying the close quarters of a watercraft. It's possible that the adults say these words to calm the child, but subliminally take their own advice. For the Governor, patience is good practice, both while fishing and making political decisions.
"Keep your line in the water." Brian, age 8.
Playing the odds is one of the basic tenets of fishing and you'll definitely have a better chance of catching a walleye or northern this season by increasing the
amount of time you have your line in the water. In fact, this recommendation is so important that you won't be able to catch any fish unless you take the time to cast into a lake, pond, river or stream.
Leech Lake's walleye population has been down for the past few years, due in part to a couple of factors, but measures have been taken to rejuvenate the fishery. It's on the rebound, but Gov. Pawlenty will undoubtedly benefit from dragging a leech or soaking a minnow for elongated periods of time.
"Move from spot to spot." Travis, age 9.
Finding active fish is essential in the quest to catch walleye, northern or any species in our region. The majority of fishing boats today are equipped with electric trolling motors that slowly guide the vessel along prime fishing areas and many anglers constantly move the boat with the trolling motor instead of dropping an anchor.
As the Governor moves from spot to spot today, he'll be guided by one of Leech Lake's most talented fisherman, Chip Leer. Numerous "secret spots" are programmed into Chip's GPS and he will undoubtedly show the Governor and First Lady Mary Pawlenty a good time whether they catch fish or not.
"Make sure your bait is alive." Lindsey, age 10.
Opening day often calls for livebait, especially if catching a walleye is the goal. Leeches and nightcrawlers work great on many of the smaller lakes in the Park Rapids area, but if you're planning to join the Governor in Walker, then shiner minnows, the annually preferred bait for early season walleye on Leech Lake, will probably catch more fish. Yet no matter which bait is chosen, the Governor and many anglers statewide will spend today enjoying one of Minnesota's most popular outdoor activities - fishing!