It has been awhile since I have been able to get on the water for the Minnesota fishing opener. So I was pumped to get out this year and do some fishing with the masses. We headed up to where my father-in-law grew up and where his brother still has a lake place for our fishing. We were in the Battle Lake-Ottertail area for the weekend and fished a couple of lakes.
Weather Details: We had a cold front blow through on Friday, it was fairly weak but we definitely had shifting winds, pressure and temperatures. We saw temperatures go from the 80s on Friday to the 60s on Saturday, by Sunday we were back up into the mid 7os. Winds did play a factor in our fishing and made several spots difficult to fish. Typically a little wind is appreciated to break up the surface of the water, but winds on especially Saturday were pretty tough. I know that the front made things challenging for us on Saturday. The fish (walleyes) just weren’t in a feeding mode. The bite improved as the weekend wore on and by Sunday the fish seemed to be in a more standard pattern.
The fishing started on the Friday before the walleye opener with some crappie fishing in the reeds near shore. We had pretty good luck on the crappies and put together a nice basket of about 20 big ones between the 4 of us fishing. Water temperatures were in the low to mid 50s which is ideal for the crappies coming in to spawn. We used simple hooks and minnows for the crappies and picked up a few sunfish on leeches as well. At midnight we went out after some walleyes. It was chilly and very dark with no moon. We trolled Rapalas around shallow structure and tried to stay in water from 4 to 8 feet. We didn’t have a bite after 2 hours and went in. Typically, this would be a dynamite pattern, but I think the fish were feeling the effects of the cold front.
Saturday we went out again around 8 am and tried early on for some walleyes. We ended up with quite a few bites but they were all small northerns. This would be a trend for the day and the weekend. The northerns were extremely active and were tough to keep off the hook. I am guessing I caught 20-25 of them over the course of 2 days of fishing. I don’t complain too much, it is fun to feel the bite and fight the fish!
Speaking of northerns we had a fun adventure on Saturday and went trolling after big northerns in a little lake. The lake has no access and has grown some pretty good sized northerns and bass over the past few years. I trolled a big spinner bait and caught a number of nice northerns as well as a few big bass. Most of my northerns were in the 3-5 pound range but I did have a follow from a fish much larger, he just missed the bait 3 times.
Saturday night we finally got on some fish by anchoring in a transition point around dusk. My father-in-law picked up 3 nice walleyes. I again couldn’t keep the northerns off and caught 5 or 6 of them. It was nice to finally see and net a few walleyes and it was a perfect night on the water.
We did some lindy rigging on Sunday morning to see if we could convince a few more walleyes to bite and struggled, at that point we went back after some sunfish and ended up with a few more nice bluegills and crappies.
All in all we had a fantastic trip. It was nice to be out again and the weather while challenging for the fishing was pretty good for the fisherman.