Unstable weather messes with fishing

Published 10:18 am Friday, June 13, 2008

Once again the weather seems to be the topic of conversation in our area. Last weekend’s continuous rains did little to settle the fish into their usual patterns. Nothing turns fish off quicker than a storm front, although you may experience good fishing at the onset of a storm it soon dissipates. Over the years I’ve experienced this many times. The barometer peaks and then begins dropping as the storm approaches, this peak is the time that the fish seem most active and as it falls they seem to get finicky. This is just a theory but one that many swear by and in all reality the barometer does have an influence on when fish will feed.

Now I’ve seen a lot of people that will fish during a thunderstorm but I’ve only seen them from a distance because it’s not the time you’ll find me on a lake or even with a line in the water. I’ve always felt that the people who fish while it’s storming and while lightning is flashing all around must be direct descendants of the person that the phrase “not enough sense to come in out of the rain” was coined after. It reminds me of that phrase in a Dirty Harry movie “do you feel lucky?”

There is a distinct difference between fishing in the rain and fishing during a thunderstorm, I’ve fished in a lot of rain and have always had an eye and ear out for any sign of lightning.

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Fishing in this area has been spotty and once again it’s a direct reflection on the weather. We had a couple of nice days in the first part of the week and the fishing started picking up along with the number of fishermen trying their luck. There have been some nice walleyes caught in Albert Lea Lake and although you may catch them any time the best time seems to be late evening. Some people swear by fathead minnows while others say leeches are the ticket. I guess it’s all in what you feel works best for you. Sunnies and crappies are also abundant in both lakes and when you find them you can have a ball, not to mention one heck of a meal.

With all this bad weather we are still fortunate that we are not in a flood zone. The farmers are experiencing some wet fields and may lose some crops but those poor people in Iowa are really in tough shape. We should consider ourselves fortunate.

Camping in the rain is always a special time, especially if you are in a tent. I can remember this one time when I was camping by myself at Spider Lake when it started raining during the night. The tent had a poly floor so it didn’t soak up any water. As the rain continued a significant river began to flow under the middle of the tent. Eventually the water got so high that it started seeping in where the poly ended and the nylon began. I spent the rest of the night in the pickup and in the morning found out that we’d had over 5 inches of rain. It seems like when you’re tenting nothing ever dries out completely once it gets damp.

There are some neat parts of sleeping in a tent during a thunderstorm but lying on a cot with steel legs may not be one of them. On one trip up to Spider with my son Brian and his brother-in-law Jeremy it seemed to rain all day every day, not just a soft rain or sprinkles but hard all day stuff. We had brought along a portable screen tent and finally set our portable grill on the picnic table and started burning firewood in it just to keep warm. This was in July! The times that we were able to be on the lake however, we did catch fish.

There was another time when I was camping at Spider with my brother-in-law Mike and once again tenting in the rain although this time it rained every night for four nights straight. The days were fine it was just the 3-5 inches of rain we got every night that made things a little “damp.” Once again we caught fish whenever we got on the lake. Mike still reminds me of the hole I burned in the floor of his tent when I dropped a match while lighting a lantern.

All in all I guess you could say that rain might hinder fishing but not always hurt it.

Here is an interesting report from the Minnesota DNR.

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) wildlife managers have reported an increase in nuisance bear complaints in recent weeks. Most bear sightings are in rural northern Minnesota, but bears have also been spotted in the Brainerd area and Minneapolis-St. Paul suburbs.

“This is a tough time of year for bears,” said Mark Spoden, DNR assistant area wildlife manager in Grand Rapids. “After hibernation, they are hungry. When berries and vegetation are scarce, bears are often tempted by dog food, livestock feed, birdseed, barbecues, compost or garbage.”

In addition, female bears are chasing away last year’s offspring. These young bears are inexperienced at finding food and searching for territories of their own. They are the most likely to show up in places where they aren’t welcome.

“If a bear enters your yard, don’t panic and don’t approach the bear,” said Spoden. “Always leave the bear an escape route. Everyone should leave the area and go inside until the bear leaves. A treed bear should be left alone as well. It will leave once the area is quiet.”

Bears are normally shy and usually flee when encountered, but they may defend an area if they are feeding or are with their young. They are unpredictable wild animals. Although they rarely injure people, they are potentially dangerous because of their size, strength and speed.

This is only part of an interesting news release by the DNR to read more go to www.dnr.state.mn.com

Until next time, take a little time to enjoy the outdoors – good luck, play safe and good “fishin’.”

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