The weather could not have been better last Saturday for Confidence Learning Center's 33rd Fishing Classic tournament. With the golfers on Friday getting a little wet, the fishermen definitely got the better day. I'm sure there is a golf joke there but I'll leave that one alone. This year my fishing partner was good friend Bob Hanson, one of the pro's that back when I was starting to fish walleye tournaments was always willing to share some advice. So I was pretty excited to be able to spend the day reminiscing and hopefully catching fish.
Last Sunday the Brainerd Warrior fishing team had a full field on Crosslake. As I drove to the access through downpours, hail and lightning I had to wonder what the day would bring. I had my fishermen in the boat and we were waiting for take off after a brief meeting at Moonlight Bay. It would be a learning day for our boat since none had fished the lake before.
Last week I was lucky enough to guide on Mille Lacs for the Trolling for the Troops event held at Camp Ripley. The event started on Thursday afternoon at camp where we got to meet our veteran anglers and have dinner where we got to see old friends and meet some new ones. Some of the guides go to the Mississippi River in search of smallmouth bass and we would be hitting the waters of the big pond.
For the first time ever, I got to experience Ely in the summer, and what a great reason to go there. It was the 50th annual Veterans with Disabilities fishing trip and I was asked to come up and guide. The event started Monday with veterans from all over the country coming to Veterans on the Lake Resort to get some time in the boat seat. Although catching fish is just a bonus, they say, we did have to get enough for the fish fry Wednesday night so we were all excited to get on the water early Tuesday morning.
Have you ever had a decision that seemed really easy to make? Well that's what my opener was like. With cold and windy conditions, I decided I had all summer to fish and would spend the weekend turkey hunting or trying to find a few last morel mushrooms. And with most of the fishing reports sounding poor, it is a decision I feel pretty right about.
It is that time of year again, a weekend many Minnesotans hold as sacred as Christmas or the Fourth of July. The fishing opener can also be one of those make-it-or-break-it days on the water with Mother Nature usually throwing a wrench in the plans. Over the past years we have had everything from snow to beautiful sunny days. But the cold ones are normally better fishing for me, so this year should be pretty good. With a decent forecast of around freezing in the early morning hours to 50 for a high it should be a great weekend.
It only takes a second for things to go your way. It can be hunting, fishing or related to pretty much anything. On this occasion it was turkey hunting. My wife decided that she would like to try it this year and with the first season of over-the-counter licenses available, timing was perfect. The night before we were going out, I checked a few spots where I had gotten or at least spotted a few birds. After a little scouting we had a couple spots but nothing that was great.
After an extended stay at the Rainy River, it is back to reality. Well it looks like I'm in luck. The reality is the crappie bite has been great on some local lakes, and there should be enough action to keep us occupied until the walleye opener. With the colder cloudy days we have been having, your favorite spot might not be going quite yet. Don't let that stop you from your first fresh fish fry since hard water.
As the rest of the anglers in Minnesota are still waiting for the walleye opener, we are giving it our all and getting some great rewards on the last days of the walleye season on the Rainy River. Settling in at River Bend's Resort, we are getting spoiled having the river full of fish only a few feet in front of our cabin. The fishing has been nothing short of great, with plenty of eater walleyes and some really fat picture fish. The action is making it hard to switch gears to sturgeon. But sturgeon is next on our list since we only have one more day on the river.
Even though the reports from the Rainy River walleye fishermen were not good last week, the weather looked promising, so Larry Stromback and I decided to make the trip. As soon as Easter dinner was over, we hit the road excited to put the boat in for the first time of the year. I was glad we had some hand warmers as the cold wind made for a chilly start.