Spring is a coveted time for walleye anglers. Each body of water has diverse makeups, challenging even the best fisherman. "Early-season walleyes can mean different things in diverse parts of Minnesota," says Joel Nelson, a veteran Minnesota walleye angler. Weather is unpredictable. I have had snowy openers and warm, sunny junkets on others. One Minnesota opener, on Island Lake, it snowed, and to my surprise, I woke up to a boat full of snow.
Jigging spoons were lures used most often by experienced bass fishermen in the early years. They are one of the few baits that work well in deep water. In today's world of fishing, jigging spoons have found a permanent home in an ice anglers tackle tray. Jigging spoons are thick, narrow and heavy, designed to sink quickly and vertically jigged under the ice.
Minnesota has a love affair with fishing, including on ice. All of this is evident from the packed-house attendance at area ice fishing shows. No need to look too far — a recent check of Fishhook Lake finds more people and fishing shacks on the ice compared to other seasons. Let's hope the action continues. This is good news for a state that is experiencing a downturn in license sales.
Late-season pheasant hunting is that time in the sportsman's calendar after rifle deer hunting ends and open water turns to ice. In south-central Minnesota, hunters will find the birds in larger groups, and public land becomes one of the first, best places to hunt. Reports from the field point to an abundant population of roosters waiting for pursuers.
"Success is defined differently for each person," according to Stacy Salvevold of Pelican Rapids.
Fall is a time of change. It's also a great time for catching walleyes, if you hit the right spots. Locating top walleye-producing waters is critical for success. Minnesota Lake Finder — found at mndnr.gov/fishmn — is a valuable source for access locations, size and quantity of fish and data that has been compiled from DNR netting survey results. Here are a few sweet spots with advice to catch them. Go-tos
A recent announcement put Minnesota fishing license sales down 20 percent to date. Contributing factors for the decline: an aging Baby Boomer population and rural populations stable in number, but diverse urban populations on the rise. Getting to fishing areas from urban areas can be challenging enough to deter participation. Folks living in Minnesota lake country are balancing the demands of work and family, lacking the time for fishing.
Roxanne Blanchard, before moving to Park Rapids in 1975, fished casually with her father. Bit by the fishing bug on Mother's Day 1998 when the Minnesota DNR allowed mothers to fish on their day for free, without a license, Blanchard recalled that day. "I caught a huge bass by accident, had to release it. Bass season was closed. As the fish swam away, a desire to fish became deeply embedded, hook, line and sinker," she said. Since that day Roxanne has enjoyed numerous fly-in fishing trips, joined by husband Tiny, son Kyle and a number of close friends and family.
During the Fourth of July, my family looked forward to spending quality time together each and every year at a place called the cabin. The family cabin wasn't fancy and paled in luxury compared to those we see on the lakes today. The walls weren't insulated. In the interior, there were just the bare necessities for spending time "at the lake." It's on a lake with good fishing, private, and not over 60 minutes drive time to get there.
The DNR engaged a group of 14 stakeholders for the purpose of providing input in the management planning process. This group, referred to as the Lake of the Woods Fisheries Input Group, provided diverse local and statewide perspectives and made recommendations on Lake of the Woods fisheries management. The 2018-2023 plan builds upon the successes of and knowledge gained from previous plans by recommending specific goals, objectives and management actions aimed at preserving a high-quality, species-diverse fishery on Lake of the Woods.