Column: The fishing, like the weather, is warming up

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 8, 2002

Just when you think the weather has finally turned the corner, we get another setback. But it seems that fishing, like the weather, has gradually began to pick up throughout the state.

Here are a few reports from around Minnesota:

In the Grand Rapids area with the water temps starting to edge into the 60s the fishing is really picking up in area lakes. The walleyes are really biting on Winnie right now. A 1/8-oz. fireball and shiner are just deadly in 6-10 ft of water. Sand and Bowstring are heating up with nice catches of walleyes; pike and some nice perch mixed in at about 9 ft.

Email newsletter signup

On Mille Lacs fishing has been good with the evening bite on the rocks in 10-18 feet of water. Day bite has been a little slower, but catching some nice fish on the gravel bars in 16-28 feet of water. They’re having the best luck using leeches or crawlers with plain red hooks.

In the Alexandria area a warm week in the lakes area led to some hot fishing on local lakes. Bass fishing is really turning on, and the crappie bite just won’t go away. (Very few complaints about that!) The muskie opener was a bit windy. Lunker hunters searched out calmer waters and reported a lot of follows, and even a few hooked that got off at the boat. Walleye action continues to be finicky, frustrating some anglers, and rewarding others.

In the Detroit Lakes area the walleye bite is starting to heat up! Along with the weather! They’re not exactly jumping in the boat but compared to what it was its going good. Recent fish caught and released include a 5.5, 6, 8, 8.5-pounder, and Rick Harris of Santa Anna, Calif. caught and released his first walleye, a whopping 10-pounder.

For the walleye angler fishing Leech Lake has plenty of options available to catch some fish. The weeds are beginning to hold walleye, the shallows off shore rock piles are holding fish as well as shallow sand flats. The techniques to catch walleyes can vary depending on where you are fishing.

Locally, there seems to be some action in the channel. Quite a few smaller crappie were being caught with a few perch also caught. I haven’t heard much about the walleye action in Albert Lea or Fountain Lake but that should be picking up too. As we get into summer the catfish should be biting. A good place to fish cats is in the channel running behind the Catholic Cemetery. I have caught them off of Katherine Island using only a plain hook loaded with chicken liver. Just throw it out and let it lay on the bottom. Don’t use a sinker or bobber, just a hook.

In the Faribault area, Cedar and Shields lakes have been producing some large mouth along with some crappie and sunfish action. Powerbait worms, Shad Raps and spinnerbaits have produced fish in the shallows. Overall the majority of the fish being caught are in shallow water.

In the Waterville area German and Jefferson have been fairly good shallow along the reeds for bass and also there have been some sunnies coming in. Sakatah also has been producing a few nice walleye and also some crappie and sunfish action.

I was on Tetonka over the weekend and had limited time to fish but did catch and release a nice striped bass; it was still full of eggs. On Saturday a couple of friends of mine went out in the evening and caught about a dozen walleye, but only one was in the 15-inch range. They also had a few real nice perch. The fish are really colorful and healthy looking. Tetonka has also been producing some nice bass in the 2 1/2 to 3-lb. range. So far the crappie and sunfish haven’t seemed to be too active on Tetonka.

* * * * * * * * * *

A weekend at the campground always seems to contain an event or two worthy of mention. Friday night as my brother-in-law, Mike and I had just gotten off the lake, I noticed our friend Larry trying to hold onto the dock at the back of his boat. My vision was partially blocked so I couldn’t see the whole picture. I asked Mike what he thought he was doing. He said Larry’s friend Paul (who is a rather large man) probably wanted to get out at the dock rather than at the boat lift. At next glance I noticed Paul standing in the water placing the bottom half of Larry’s trolling motor on the dock. Upon further investigation, it seems that Larry was trying to put the boat on the lift with the trolling motor still in the water.

He ran up on the lift but stopped cold. Thinking his friend was a little too heavy to be in the front of the boat, he had him move to the rear of the boat, backed up and got a run for it and proceeded to go on the lift over the bottom half of the trolling motor.

Larry sat there trying to figure out why his big motor wouldn’t start. He was ready to challenge the boat lift one more time (without one trolling motor) I didn’t have the heart to tell him he had it in gear. I thought if he solved one problem without any of the free advice that seemed to be everywhere, he would feel a little better.

One of the other campers told Larry he should invest in one of them &uot;All-terrain trolling motors.&uot; Somehow I don’t think Larry saw the humor in it at the time.

Good Luck and Good Fishin.’