Fishing and water heating up in Otter Tail County

By Garett Svir, Slab Seeker Fishing Guide Service

Water temps in Otter Tail Lakes Country are hovering around that 50-54 degree mark. Still a little cold for the shiners to be up shallow. So the best walleye action is still yet to come as temps start to climb and the shiners move shallow. Anglers are catching fish pitching shiners on jigs or rigging them. Another great option this time of year is casting a small rig with a worm weight, #6 Octopus hook, and short leader. This rig can be worked through new weed growth with ease and be casted up shallow or drug around the edge of the drop-off.

Panfish action has been fantastic in the shallows on warm, sunny days. When we get a front, the fish push out deeper. Adapting to the day at hand has really been the key. On warm days look to old bulrush stands on the main lake as well as back bays with mud bottoms that absorb the sun. Any wood cover sticking out of the water is also a place to spend some time. I like to use a Rocket Bobber with a Northland Fire Fly jig tipped with an Impulse Plastics Mini Smelt. This rig can be cast a long ways and allows me to ambush fish in shallow water from afar. We’ve actually been doing far better with plastics than with live bait lately. Keep the trolling motor moving for best results and if you’re not finding fish shallow be ready to switch gears and search a little deeper.

Bass fishing has been nothing short of amazing as of late. The early catch and release season for largemouth is something you should definitely take advantage of if you haven’t already. We’ve been doing the best slowly dragging swim jigs tipped with beaver style trailers through available cover whether it be old bulrush stands, tree limbs or lily pads in back bays. As the water temps start to warm small square bill crank-baits will dominate but for now we’ve been getting far more bites with a slow moving jig.

Lots of fun fishing available in Otter Tail Lakes Country right now! See you on the lake.