DNR plans to open Pickerel Lake to liberal fishing

Published 8:15 am Friday, September 18, 2009

The Minnesota DNR issued the following news release regarding Pickerel Lake:

Pickerel Lake in Freeborn County will be open to liberalized fishing from Sept. 25 until Oct. 2 in anticipation of a reclamation project tentatively set to begin in early October.

The 600-acre lake and other adjacent water bodies with connection to Pickerel Lake are slated to be treated with rotenone to eradicate existing fish populations. These fish are adversely affecting water quality and vegetation, according to Marc Bacigalupi, assistant area fisheries supervisor at the DNR Waterville Fisheries office.

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“What we want to do at this time is give people an opportunity to harvest existing game fish from the lake prior to the rotenone treatment,” Bacigalupi said.

Water quality in Pickerel Lake must be significantly improved for the lake to reach its full potential, said Bacigalupi. Rotenone is proven to be a safe and effective fish toxicant that will help restore this important lake’s water quality and allow the establishment of a balanced fish community.

Under liberalized fishing regulations, all species of fish may be taken in any quantity and in any manner (except the use of seines, hoopnets, fyke nets or explosives) by licensed residents.

All gill nets must have metal tags affixed stating the operator’s name and address and be attached to one end of the float line near the first float. Each tag must be a minimum of 2 1/2 inches by 5/8 inches.

Pickerel Lake is in a headwater position in the Albert Lea Lake complex and its reclamation is viewed by the DNR and partner organizations as a phase in the effort to improve water quality and fish and wildlife habitat in the area.

The DNR will issue additional information about the rotenone project once details are finalized later this month.

Fall fishing a rewarding experience

We may have missed out on the usual nice summer weather but it looks like old Mother Nature is making up for it in September. This is good and we must surely savor the moment while it’s there. I have to admit that I do like these warm days and cool nights but I do still look forward to the crisp sunny days associated with fall.

Fall fishing can be very rewarding and when the perch bite is on you can expect to see some dandy fish. The perch bite in Albert Lea Lake usually begins about mid-September and can last all the way up to ice over. Once the weather turns cooler and as many old-time fishermen used to say we have “a good, hard frost” then the fishing as a rule picks up.

As we get later into fall the fish such as northern and walleye seem to be filling their bellies for the winter months ahead. Although predicting where you will find them may be a little harder than in spring or early summer. Once you find their location you can be pretty sure you will be catching fish.

I had a friend that would always hit Lake Francis right after the first hard frost, usually in the first part of October. He would be in search of those “HAWGS” or “lunker” bass. His little “trick” was to use live frogs (can you say PETA) and cast them onto the lily pads and them pluck them off into the water, he said that when he did that the water would just explode when a bass would hit it.

You don’t need to go to Francis to catch them when we have them right here in our own Fountain Lake.

The Die Hard fishing tournament is held on Fountain Lake about the second weekend of October each year. The results have been very good and it goes to show that there are a lot of nice fish in this lake.

The last nice northern I caught in Fountain Lake was in mid-November while trolling.

I have to admit that although I like to cast, trolling is still my number one, preferred way to fish. I guess I feel that covering a lot of territory increases the chance of fish. Once I locate fish then I revisit the area with a few more passes and if there are more fish I may change tactics and switch to casting a jig and twister or try live bait.

I have never claimed to be a walleye guru and maybe the fact that I have little patience for vertical jigging has something to do with that.

Drifting or back trolling are what I like to do for walleye and, of course, in early summer and late fall, casting is also a good way to fish them.

I have to admit I’d much rather troll or cast for northern, bass and muskie than spend a day jigging for walleye. I don’t think there is a bigger adrenaline rush than having a big pike or muskie try to rip the rod from your hands while you’re trolling. On many lakes around the state there are slot limits for pike. On Spider, for instance, the slot is no northern 24 to 36 inches may be kept and only one over 36.

On my last trip to Spider we kept two 23-inch fish and after cleaning them the boneless way there was plenty of delicious white, flaky meat for three adults to devour.

The pike on Spider are fat and offer some mighty tasty eating. We kept only two fish for a meal and caught more for our enjoyment.

The little extra time it takes to remove the “Y” bones is time well spent.

Slot limits are good for certain lakes and I can see where the one on Spider is paying dividends. It gives you more opportunities to catch bigger fish and by releasing them they will be there to fight again another day.

Until next time hunt safe, keep fish’n and, as always, take a little time to enjoy our great Minnesota outdoors.

Remember to keep our troops in your thoughts and prayers throughout the year.