Windy conditions – with gusts of up to 30 miles per hour – during the fishing opening swept anglers from the big lakes to the smaller ones.
Park Rapids DNR conservation officer Nick Baum said: “With the windy conditions I think a lot of people stayed away from those big lakes and maybe went to smaller lakes and got out choppy waters. Big Sand, Potato, and Fish Hook – those larger bodies of water – were quite choppy and made being on a boat for a long time a little more difficult for people. Lots of people were in the channels and fishing smaller bodies of water I would say.
When it comes to fish, Baum observed “varied success across the lakes.”
“Honestly the fishing report was scattered I would say,” he said. “I saw people who were very lucky. The spectrum was very broad on people who were catching. It wasn’t just the golden ones. People also kept and caught panfish and nords. There are a few people grabbing and releasing bass.
Water temperatures are much cooler compared to last year. Baum said temperatures hovered between 45 and 55 degrees.
Jasper Anderson from Sebeka fished all weekend. He threw from the fishing pier at the north end of Long Lake on Monday.
“I’ve caught 14 to 16 inch bass. The Northerns I’ve caught are about 2 feet long. Crappie are just little dinks,” Anderson said, adding, “I don’t like to fish. the gold.
Paige and Justin Torma of Nevis are avid anglers year round. They often bring their children, but on Monday the couple were fishing from the shore at Long Lake’s north public access.
“I caught one on my first casting and missed two,” Justin said. “It’s a good place.”
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Justin said they catch and release, rarely keeping sunfish.
Paige said their two kids also love to fish. “If they’re not at school, they’re with us in the boat,” she says.
It was their third or fourth outing at Long Lake.
“Usually everyone here is super nice,” Justin said, recalling a time when he and Paige helped a struggling angler reach his limit and then gave a hair jig.
“Every spring the crappie is just loaded here,” Justin added. “When the ice melts, the very first part of every lake to warm up is the north end. It’s shallow here, but where I was sinking, there’s a shelf. They love this break. It’s about 10 feet of water. They just gather in there.