Cold fish

June 1, 2009

Faith Outdoors

I went up to Lake of the Woods for a couple of days of fishing last week. The complete results of my trip will be disclosed in my upcoming outdoors column for the month of June.

What I can say now is I encountered an unseasonably cold and late spring up on Warroad. While we reached a high temperature of 97 almost two weeks ago, the northern part of the state stayed in the 50s. Seems hard to believe there could be a 40-degree difference between north and south, but it has been like that all spring. Consequently, the lakes up north are a lot colder than their southern counterparts.
When my two fishing companions and I hit the water last Wednesday, the water temperature was 51 degrees. So, the fish were just moving in toward their shallow spawning sites. After struggling to catch fish, we eventually switched to the method I employ in the fall — anchoring and fishing with a jig and minnow.
Actually, this method works throughout the open-water fishing season, but seems to be much more effective than other methods in early spring and late fall. In a normal year, the walleyes would be moving back out of the shallows after the spawn by now and the smaller males would be biting aggressively. Usually, those fish can be caught trolling with spinners and live bait. We tried that and caught a few fish, but the action was slow overall. That prompted me to switch to the jigging method.
Fish in this cold water are sluggish and require a very slow presentation to get them to bite. It looks like we are having our second consecutive extremely late spring. The good news is, the fishing should be good for a good chunk of the month of June.
Speaking of June, there’s something coming up that serious walleye anglers won’t want to miss. On Monday, June 15, the protected slot limit for walleyes on Upper Red Lake relaxes. It goes from the current 17-26 inches to 20-26 inches with a four-fish limit. Starting June 15, anglers will now be able to keep all of those beautiful walleyes from 17 to 19 inches that seem to be so abundant in the lake. I’m hoping to get up there once the slot limit changes.

About Dave Hrbacek

Staff photographer and writer for The Catholic Spirit. Also, avid outdoors enthusiast with a passion for hunting, fishing and photography. Married to Julie and have four children, three boys and a girl.

View all posts by Dave Hrbacek