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Dick Herfindahl: Much to enjoy right in our own backyard

Woods & Water by Dick Herfindahl

 

After spending a great weekend in the Wilmar area at the Governor’s fishing opener I am excited to see what we, as a community, can do to top that for next year. I would never have guessed that our community would get the opportunity to host this special event. Though there were times when I had thought about it and wondered why not? Susie Peterson, who is the head of the Albert Lea Convention and Visitors Bureau, put this together and, with a lot of support, did a great job of making this become a reality.

This is our opportunity, as a community, to showcase all of the many great things that our area has to offer anyone that visits here. John Edman, head of the Minnesota Department of Tourism, told us after the announcement Saturday night, that one of the best things about this event is that it brings so many different members of the community together working for one common goal.

I haven’t really heard much about fishing in the area so far this year, but the season is still fairly young. About a week before the opener, my grandson Trevor took old grandpa out on Fountain in search of some crappie and we had a little success, but not as much as Trevor had expected. Trevor has also fished Pickerel a couple of times and has had limited luck catching northern. He said the water in the area has been pretty dirty because of all of the rain. He feels that it really has affected the fishing.  Trevor and a friend of his also went to Lura Lake last weekend and they caught some bass, which was what they were seeking. They also caught a couple of northern and Trevor said there were a few folks there fishing walleye and he did see a few being caught.

There are lot of good fishing lakes in the area and with the warmer weather that has been forecast for the next week or so, the fishing should be pretty good from now on. Stable weather is the key to catching fish, whether it be a cold front that has moved in or a warm up. Cooler weather has an almost immediate effect on the fishing, but if the temperatures stabilize for a couple of days the fish will bite, but a slower presentation will be most effective.

Summer fishing in our area will usually be best in the early morning and later on in the evening because of the shallow lakes and boat traffic. That is not to say that fish can’t be caught at any given time, but low light is best not only on southern lakes but on the northern lakes on clear sunny days.

I had discovered years ago that evening fishing along the shore in Edgewater Park could yield some dandy bluegills along with some nice crappie. When I was a kid I had a friend, Dennis, who was from Austin and his grandpa worked for the City of Albert Lea taking care of Edgewater Park. When Dennis would come and stay over, we would ride with his Grandpa to Edgewater Park and fish all day until his grandpa had finished work. We would walk the whole shoreline of the park catching bullhead, sunnies and an occasional crappie. I have to believe that we fished almost every inch of that park. His grandma would pack us a lunch and when his grandpa took dinner break he’d come and get us so we could have lunch with him. I don’t believe that I have had many lunches that tasted any better than that.

Spending a whole day fishing Fountain Lake was pretty common for me growing up. You didn’t need much money (luckily) because if your bike tires had air and you could dig up a few worms you’d be set. I would usually start my day of fishing at Katherine Island and then move on to the dam and sometimes the other way around. Climbing the walls under the bridge at the dam was always an adventure and it was pretty exciting when you’d see a school of crappie or a lone northern swim through. As a kid I could spend most of the day under that bridge and would never grow tired of it. After the fishing was done, I’d stop at the Northside Creamery (Dairy Bar) and spend some of my mowing money on a chocolate marshmallow sundae or an ice cream cone. Yeah, I’d have to say that there just wasn’t a much better way to spend a summer day.

Until next time, it’s a great time to get out and wet a line and also enjoy one of the many beautiful parks that we have in the area.

Please take some time to honor those who have sacrificed so for the freedoms we enjoy today. Also, take some time to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice, those who served and those troops serving today.