Wishing for walleyes
ALEXANDRIA, Minn. - Anglers are probably more than ready for this year's fishing opener, especially because they've had to wait an extra week.
Typically, fishing opener weekend and Mother's Day weekend are always the same, but this year, fishing opener happened to fall one week later.
According to the Department of Natural Resources, state law sets the walleye opener two Saturdays prior to Memorial Day weekend, which does not occur this year until the last weekend of May.
Dick Gustafson from Christopherson's Bait in Alexandria predicted today's opener to be better than last year's opener.
"People should have an easier time finding fish this year," said Gustafson. "Plus, the weekend weather is supposed to be good."
Since there was an early ice out this year, Gustafson said the crappie fishing has been going well. Anglers can find crappies in the shallower water; in the two, three or four foot range.
In addition, the north end of lakes are a good place to look when searching for crappies.
As for the walleyes, he said it should be a good weekend because the walleyes have already spawned and moved away from the spawning areas.
Walleyes will more than likely be found in the 10 to 20 foot range, he added.
One issue that might affect fishing this weekend, however, is water temperature. Because of the recent cold spell, Gustafson said water temperatures have dropped at least 5 or 6 degrees and will continue dropping if the weather doesn't warm up.
Fish generally aren't as active in colder water temperatures.
When it comes to bait, Gustafson said to try smaller and slower baits, like leeches or even shiners.
He also said to try jigs and Lindy rigs.
"And bobber fishing is always good," he suggested.
Northerns will most likely be in the same depth of water range as the walleye - between 10 and 20 feet.
Gustafson also mentioned fishing licenses and suggested that if anglers don't already have their license, they should get it before the opener to avoid the rush.
Celeste Beam is a reporter at the Alexandria (Minn.) Echo Press, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.