Gusty winds are big factor in fishing opener

Park Rapids DNR conservation officer Nick Baum reported, “With the windy conditions, I think a lot of people stayed off those big lakes and maybe went to smaller lakes and got off the choppy waters. . . "

An angler returns to the northern public access on Long Lake.
Shannon Geisen/Park Rapids Enterprise
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Windy conditions – gusting up to 30 miles per hour – over the fishing opener blew anglers off larger lakes and onto smaller ones.

Park Rapids DNR conservation officer Nick Baum reported, “With the windy conditions, I think a lot of people stayed off those big lakes and maybe went to smaller lakes and got off the choppy waters. Big Sand, Potato and Fish Hook – those bigger bodies of water – were fairly choppy and made being on a boat for a long time kind of more difficult for folks. A lot of people were in channels and fishing smaller bodies of water, I’d say.”

As for the fish, Baum observed “varied success across the lakes.”

“Honestly, the fishing report was scattered, I’d say,” he said. “I saw some people that were having very good luck. The spectrum was very wide on people catching. It wasn’t just walleyes. People were also keeping and catching panfish and northerns. There’s a few people that were catching and releasing bass.”

Water temperatures are much cooler compared to last year. Baum said temps range anywhere from 45 to 55 degrees.


Jasper Anderson of Sebeka fished all weekend. He cast from the fishing pier on the north end of Long Lake on Monday.

“I caught 14-inch to 16-inch bass. Northerns I’ve caught are about 2 feet long. Crappies are just little dinks,” Anderson said, adding, “I don’t like fishing for walleye.”

Justin Torma of Nevis snags a black crappie on the north end of Long Lake. He and wife Paige, both avid anglers, cast a few lines Monday morning.
Shannon Geisen / Park Rapids Enterprise

Paige and Justin Torma of Nevis are avid, year-long anglers. They often bring their kids, but on Monday the couple was fishing from shore at Long Lake’s north public access.

“I caught one on my first cast and I missed two,” Justin said. “It’s a good spot.”

They like to use hair jigs.

The Tormas like to fish with 1/16th-ounce, hair jigs, which comes in all sorts of colors. "My favorite color is black and yellow, but really any small-haired jig like this works," Justin said. <br/>
Shannon Geisen / Park Rapids Enterprise

Justin said they catch and release, rarely keeping any panfish.

Paige said their two kids love to fish as well. “If they’re not in school, they’re with us in the boat,” she said.

This was their third or fourth outing to Long Lake.


“Usually, everybody here is super-friendly,” Justin said, recalling a time he and Paige helped a struggling angler catch his limit, then gave away a hair jig.

“Every single spring, the crappies are just loaded in here,” Justin added. “When the ice melts, the very first part of every lake to warm up is the north end. It’s shallow here, but where I was casting there’s a shelf. They like that break. It’s about 10 feet of water. They just congregate in there.”


Shannon Geisen is editor of the Park Rapids Enterprise.
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