Spring is here, dance a little Jig 

Spring is here, dance a little Jig

By Ross Hagemeister, meisterguideservice.com

I was visiting with some of my guests yesterday afternoon and they commented on how green everything is around Otter Tail County. It’s been an obvious sign of our spring’s rapid progression, and it’s been wonderful. The lakes aren’t far behind. We’ve seen amazing strides “down below,” however, there was a bit of a cool down last weekend and a few windy and cloudy days, which stalled some of the progression, but overall things are going well.

Ross Hagemeister meisterguideservice.com Nice northern Julie! When you’re fishing walleye this week be sure to bring a bunch of extra shiners. As you can see, walleye aren’t the only species that like to eat them. Julie caught this nice northern on a shiner minnow while walleye fishing. Also, be sure to bring plenty of extra hooks and jigs. Large northern like this one have no trouble biting them off—it’s been happening a lot this week!

Walleye fishermen are beginning to experience consistent catches all around the county as the shiner minnows continue to blast away at their spawn.  A week ago, if you tossed a minnow in the lake with a jig or live bait rig, it might not have gotten bit. This week, if you put a minnow in a “reasonable” location, it will most likely be quickly consumed by either a perch, northern, or walleye. On that note, shiner minnows are still the top bait. If you’re headed out on the lake in the next 4 or 5 days, be sure and bring a bunch of shiners—way too many. Perch and northern will take and damage their share, walleye that are too small and too large will take their’s, and that’ll leave the rest for some keeper walleyes and you always have to count on missing a bunch.

Also, replacing minnows this time of year should be habit. Don’t drag dead minnows. It seems to be a rare occasion these days to catch a bunch of walleye on dead minnows. If you’re minnow is not alive, replace it. Jigs are the top walleye presentation this time of year, especially for those fish that are shallow and need a little casting and retrieving action. Live bait rigging is the other strong option. With Lindy/live bait rigs, be sure and keep an eye on your leader-length, hook colors and sizes, and your weight sizes. Success with live bait rigging is derived from a combination of component factors, and it’s both fun and rewarding when you’re able to dial in what the walleye need.

Many mid-sized lakes experienced a cool down the past few days, which seemed to reverse panfish intentions on those waters. Panfish intentions? That means, crappie retracted from potential spawning areas, and the sunfish are still organizing over the drops. As it turns out, areas that had good panfish activity on some lakes last week, got slower over the weekend as the water temps dropped 2 degrees (upper 50’s). Yes fish are sensitive critters especially any fish that use shallow areas in the spring; because shallow water warms and cools quickly. Therefore, your fishing “warms and cools” quickly when the temps swing. For those of you who enjoy eating northern pike be sure and read up on MN new northern pike regulations!
There are some big changes in place and there’s quite a lengthily explanation so I won’t cover it this article. If you’re a crappie angler and find some good crappie fishing right now, please be sure and release the large ones and keep the mid sized fish for eating, and also read the regulations and check the lake access sign board for any special regulations that may apply to the lake you’re fishing.  It’s getting to be more common to see restricted sizes and limits on panfish species especially crappie—so be sure and read up. Enjoy Otter Tail County’s lakes and rivers this week!

Category: Fishing, Play

Check out the new clothing store and get your Otter swag today!