Dick Herfindahl: It’s almost show time for fishing opener

Published 7:43 pm Friday, May 3, 2019

Woods & Water by Dick Herfindahl


The Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener is just a week away and nice weather for the event is on everyone’s wish list. Having the opportunity to host this great event is huge for our community. We have been given the chance to showcase Albert Lea and the surrounding area to the media, not only statewide, but to surrounding states. This event would not be possible without the help of all of the wonderful volunteers who have stepped up and taken on the task while spending countless hours meeting, planning and getting things done. When speaking with John Edmund, who is the head of Explore Minnesota Tourism, after last year’s opener, he said that the thing that makes it special to him is all of the volunteers who are working alongside people that they did not know until they got involved.

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Over the years I have attended numerous Governor’s Openers, but this year is the first one that I will not be participating in as a media guest. I have always gone to an opener with questions in my mind about the host community and what it has to offer. I can’t recall a time when I have been disappointed and that is a direct reflection on all of the work that the communities do to showcase their area. Wilmar did a great job last year, but I feel that we are doing our part to make this year’s Governor’s Opener even better.

Back when my boys were young and still riding their Huffy bicycles around the neighborhood or hunting big game with their BB guns, we would go fishing when the opener rolled around. Brian, my oldest, was always game for going with me on that magic day. For a few years we spent opening day fishing Reed’s Lake, which is a little southeast of Elysian. We always seemed to catch a few walleyes on the opener in that lake, but today when I look on the DNR website there is no mention of there being any walleye in that lake; which makes me curious about where they went and why they are no longer in the lake. I had been going to that lake for many years, but eventually there were too many boats on that little lake on opening day. You had to wait in line to launch or load your boat and parking your vehicle and trailer had gotten to be a real pain. This was when I decided to change it up and spend the opener closer to home.

When I finally made the decision to fish closer to home, I put the boat in at the access in Edgewater Park which had that nice double wide ramp located near the area where the new pavilion now sits. I had decided to fish near the mouth of Wedge Creek. This was a spot where I’d had good luck while shore fishing in past years for crappie and northern. I had both of my boys, Brian and Brad, with me on this day and we did manage to come home with a nice stringer of both walleye and northern. This was at a time when Fountain Lake was not even talked about as having any walleye in it.

When we came home with that stringer of fish, one of the neighbors from across the street came over to see what I had caught. He had a hard time believing that we had caught the walleyes in Fountain Lake. It was in the late 80’s and in those days I was a firm believer in using either a “Little Joe” spinner or a Beetle Spin tipped with a minnow. Over the years I have caught a lot of fish on both of those, but for some reason modern technology and fishing lure manufacturers have steered me away from what was my “bread & butter” for years.

It is funny how a person gets away from doing what has worked to catch fish for years because something new comes along. There are always new “gotta have it” lures on the market every day, but sometimes going back to the basics of fishing still puts fish in the boat.

After spending time with some of the folks from the Minnesota DNR, I am impressed at the amount of time they spend making our resources better for our great state. The harvesting of northern pike eggs that took place in April was one example of the way they use a healthy lake to improve fishing on other lakes.

Please remember to keep our troops in your thoughts and prayers. We must never forget those who are still putting themselves in harm’s way so we can enjoy all the wonderful freedoms we have today.