Enjoy the great outdoors right here near home

Published 8:45 am Friday, June 11, 2010

It’s always fun to drive past our lakes and parks and see people of the community using our area resources. We have two nice lakes that have an abundance of fish in them that are there for the catching.

The nice thing about Albert Lea is that you do not need a boat to fish either of these bodies of water. I don’t know of any other area that has as much access to shore fishing as we do. If you are an old hand at it or are just interested in trying it this is the place for you. All you need to get started in fishing is a relatively inexpensive combination rod & reel, some bobbers, hooks and sinkers and of course a fishing license. A little bait might be a good idea too and crawlers, leeches or minnows will all fit the bill and all are available right here in the area.

Once again the Fountain Lake Sportsman’s Club will be hosting their annual “Take a Kid Fishing” event at the Edgewater Park Fishing Pier Saturday June 12 from 9 a.m. to noon. Join them for this annual event. Bring your kids out and they will ALL get a new rod & reel! There will be prizes, giveaways and it is fun for the whole family. On this day parents, grandparents or guardians who bring a kid to the event can fish without a license for this day. This event is put on by the Sportsman’s Club along with the Minnesota DNR.

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The Fountain Lake Sportsman’s Club has a pretty full plate for the summer months. The Take a Kid fishing contest is only one of numerous activities the club participates in throughout the year. The club will also host five different fishing outings for our senior citizens that are residents of area nursing homes. They also assist with the Cub Scouts Day camps fishing events and they have an annual fishing day for the members of ARC, which will be held this year on July 8 from 6 to 8 p.m. The Fountain Lake Sportsman’s Club will be hosting a Pancake Breakfast fundraiser on Sunday, July 13 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Eagles Club in Albert Lea. This is a fundraiser that helps make it possible for the club to do some of the many things that they do for the community throughout the year. Plan to attend this one and not only support the club but also get some good eats.

Speaking of fishing there are still walleyes being caught below the dam and I’ve heard there are fish being caught off of New York Point and under the Interstate Bridge. With the rain and the clouding up of the water there should be a better chance to catch a few of those nice walleye we have in the lake. I’ve also heard reports that the perch are in a biting mood if you can find them. This is an exciting time of year and spending a little time watching your bobber drift slowly in the breeze is a great stress reliever.

Also, according to Hugh Valiant of the of the DNR the fish kill on Fountain Lake was caused by a bacterial infection due to the warmup we had during the spawn. Although we are seeing some dead fish the numbers shouldn’t effect the fishing nor have much of an impact on the fish population. Fish typically affected are bluegill, crappie and bullhead; this bacterial infection does not affect humans.

Along with other parks across the country, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is encouraging families to answer the call of the wild and participate in National Get Outdoors Day by offering a variety of free activities statewide on Saturday, June 12.

The DNR will also waive the requirement for a $5 vehicle permit and provide free admission at all 73 Minnesota State parks and recreation areas that day. The goal of National Get Outdoors Day is to introduce first-time visitors to state parks, state trails, fishing piers, and other public lands. In particular, it aims to reconnect youth — whose participation in outdoor recreation has been declining — to the great outdoors.

In addition to getting free admission to parks and programs, families can pick up copies of the Parks Guide and an 80-page spring/summer Programs & Special Events catalog when they arrive on June 12.

This is a great time to enjoy the State Park experience and find out what enjoying the outdoors is all about.

Here are a few fishing reports from around the state:

BRAINERD/NISSWA – The north end of Gull Lake is kicking out walleyes in 16 to 18 feet near Grassy Island and Center Bar. Merrifield Bay on North Long Lake is giving up a few walleyes in 14 to 20 feet. Redtails, shiner minnows, and leeches are all producing fish. The Highway 371 Bay on North Long is kicking out panfish, and bass fishing is decent with most fish coming out of the shallows. Northern pike are active and mixed in with the walleyes on most lakes

FAIRMONT – Lake Sisseton continues to produce bluegills and crappies in four to eight feet of water. Budd Lake is a safe bet for crappies in 10 to 15 feet. Look to Hall Lake with minnows for crappies and small walleyes during the evening hours in shallow water. Crankbaits are the ticket at Tuttle Lake for walleyes and pike in less than six feet.

FARIBAULT – Walleyes are hitting leeches at Shields Lake and Lake Mazaska on the 10- to 12-foot weedlines. On Roberds Lake, leeches are turning walleyes on the eight- to 12-foot rocks. The docks on Mazaska, Shields, and Cedar Lake are producing panfish. Cannon Lake is giving up bass on plastics and spinnerbaits.

GRAND RAPIDS – Look for walleyes on Lakes Wabana, Deer, Trout, Jessie, and Sand in nine to 14 feet during the day and up shallower at night. Leeches and minnows are both working. Sunfish are shallow and active on most lakes, with Pokegama, Grave, Bass, Cutfoot, and Splithand leading the way. You’ll find crappies off the weedlines of most lakes, while the bass bite has been excellent in shallow water.

MANKATO – Crappies and sunfish remain active in the shallows of Lake Washington and Madison Lake. Flathead catfish have started hitting sucker minnows and bullheads in the deeper holes of the Minnesota River. Walleye and northern pike action has slowed, but bass fishing has been strong on most lakes.

WATERVILLE AREA – It’s been a few weeks since opener, some real nice pan fish were taken since using waxies mainly. Look to Lake Tetonka to “fill your plate” with these delicious fish. Lake Sakatah is giving up northerns in the 3 to 7 lb range.

McGREGOR – The bass opener started very strong, with spinnerbaits and plastics producing fish on all lakes. Crappies remain active on Lake Minnewawa in 10 feet, and you’ll find sunfish up shallower. Walleye reports have been mixed, but Big Sandy Lake remains the best option in 18 to 24 feet with leeches or crawlers. Sucker minnows and crankbaits are triggering northern pike on the weedlines of Minnewawa and Big Sandy.

KABETOGAMA-NAMAKAN -To begin with – we were offered a mixed bag of weather by mother nature and fishing followed suit. All flavors of live bait tend to work. Minnows, leeches and crawlers – different presentations at different depths at different times of day, doesn’t get more mixed than that. A great bite and place to find hungry walleyes last week was shallow, 4′ to 10′. Slip bobber or a light jig tossed shallow and retrieved to the boat worked quite effectively. Minnow and leech both attracted game fish.

Mid-day, under the summer sun anglers had good results fishing from 20′ to 28′ using a slip sinker rig with a leech or crawler. Keep the bait near the bottom using a short snell. Colored hooks seem to give the angler the edge.

Spinners remain optional and should come into play as the season continues.

LAKE OF THE WOODS – Summer fishing has never been better. We seem to be reporting the same thing, but ‘why fix it if it ain’t broken’. The same depth of 28-30 ft of water around Pine Island, Lighthouse Gap, Zippel Bay, Long Point and Graceton Beach. Using a brightly colored jig or gold spinners tipped with a minnow has had much success.

This time of year the Rainy River, Clementson Bay and the Rapid River have an excellent run on small mouth bass.

The Northwest Angle and Oak Island report excellent fishing in either 18-22 feet of water or in 8-12 feet of water. Using a gold or red jig tipped with a minnow while jigging have had the best luck. Northern fishing has been great as of lately, too! You can typically find these guys hiding in a weedy bed.

MILLE LACS – Walleye bite on the rocks and the mud flats are still very strong. Bass fishing in the reeds and the rocks is hot right now. Guys fishing for muskies are doing quite well also at this time. Some of the spots to go for walleye fishing… go the eastside rocks, north end sand up by Malmo. Use live bait rigs, crawlers, and leeches. In the rocks use a slip bobber and a red hook!

Until next time “respect our natural resources, enjoy the outdoors and Let’s go fishin'”.

Take a little time to remember our brothers and sisters who are proudly serving our country so that we can enjoy the freedoms that we have today.