Fishing season opener arrives
The 2006 fishing season opening day will weed out the fair-weather anglers from the die-hards.
"It's going to be in the mid-30s, looks like," said Jensen Anderson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Forks. "There's going to be some showers and even a snowflake or two. We're hoping to get the temperature up into the 40s."
Slicker weather, but at least the wind won't be too rough. Anderson predicted a 10-15-mph breeze for this morning.
"Typical opening day fishing season," said John Jensen, a buildings and grounds worker at Big Bog State Recreation Area north of Waskish. He said he is familiar with snowy opening mornings.
Jensen said the forecast hasn't deterred people wanting to fish on the first opening day for walleye at Upper Red Lake in nine years. The reserved camping sites in the park are taken, he said, as well as the first-come-first-served sites and the cabins. He said everybody is excited about the prospect of fishing Red Lake, and if the wind is from the north, boats can shelter in the protected north shore of the lake. He said the Tamarac River would also be open for fishing today.
"I think we would rather have fair weather," said Ted Sledge, assistant regional fisheries manager with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. "The fish will be there, but the conditions won't necessarily be the best."
He said DNR officials would be available at the hatchery north of the Tamarac River near Red Lake if anyone has questions on opening day.
Sledge said he would be out fishing, too, but he declined to disclose where he planned to drop his hook. However, he offered suggestions for others looking for a good spot.
"Big Wolf Lake would be a good opener lake," he said. "It's part of the Cass Lake chain. We had good reproduction in 2001-2002. Big Lake would be another good opener lake. Big Lake has a pretty good 2001 class of fish ranging 12-18 inches."
Big Wolf Lake is between Bemidji and Cass Lake off U.S. Highway 2 and Big Lake is about six miles farther north.
Sledge said statewide the walleye limit is six fish per day, although some lakes, such as Upper Red Lake with a two-fish limit and protected slots, have special regulations that apply. He urged anglers to consult the regulation book, noting that Big Lake has special regulations for northern pike with a 24-36 inch protected slot. That means fish smaller than 24 inches and one fish over 36 inches are legal.