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      Minnesota Fishing Report Clubs - ONLY 20 FREE MEMBERSHIPS Per Area - Join Today - FREE   03/08/2018

      Fishing Minnesota has added a new menu item (see above) called Fishing Report Clubs. It's a way to keep the really good fishing reports coming and being shared only with those who also provide detailed fishing reports. We will only approve new members who request to join if they have already posted a recent fishing report in the area forum, associated with the Fishing Report Club area  you want to join. Initially we are going to limit the number of regular memberships, in the Fishing Report Clubs, to the top 20 members in each Club, to those with the best frequency and quality fishing reports provided in the club and less so in the regular fishing report forum open to all members. The higher quality fishing report reserved for the club of course. If  you want see detailed fishing reports/tips  around your area and will share your detailed fishing report as soon as you join, then Join Now! Some of the clubs are starting to fill fast. Use the Fishing Reports Club link in the Menu above (after you've posted a fishing report in the regular area forum) and request to Join.

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The Cranker

Spring Time Fishing In Ottertail County

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The Cranker

Another spring open water season is upon us and I can’t help but get pumped! What a great time of the year when everyone is excited to get there boat out of storage or a brand new boat all rigged up and ready to go fishing: The Minnesota Twins playing, the ice is thawing and the snow is all melted. There are much longer days, and the start of what I consider the start to my fishing season. Typically, normal ice out, in the middle of April, early season crappie fishing is one of my favorite types of fishing. It is a time to spend some quality time on the water with a fishing buddy or just some time alone. For me catching crappies ranks right up there with walleyes, salmon, trout, and the few weeks before walleye opener can be great for slab crappies and sunfish. It takes some patience, some changing of tactics, bait and staying mobile to find where the fish are, but when you catch one crappie you can bet there are a lot more there. Here is what works for me:

Crappies and Sunfish normally move into the reed beds to spawn when the water temperature reaches around 50 degrees or higher. The lakes and rivers that I spend a lot of time fishing in the spring peaks around 51 degrees. The areas that will receive the most activity early on are on areas of mud on the northern end of the lake. The northern end of the lakes receives the most sun in the spring time, and the dark mud bottom will absorb the sunlight. I like to try to target these mud bottom reed flats right away.

I like to go to the reed lines in the morning or before sundown. I will use my electric trolling motor and be a quite as possible in the reed lines and work different depths, but as sunset gets closer the shallower I will fish. Boat control is the key to any fishing! Try to keep your boat positioned just far enough away from where you locate the fish. Then cast into those reeds or break lines without spooking the fish. If you do this you will increase your opportunities 100%!

I tend to use a slip bobber and a jig tipped with a minnow or a small jig or fly tipped with larva or a grub. I am always in search of what these pan fish are feeding on, at the time. As the water temps increase you will see different forage hatching. That is why it is important to have multiple bait presentations with you at all times.

I mainly use the 1/64 to 1/32 ounce and have found that the best colors seem to be yellow-green-red and white. Of course each lake and river is different with water clarity and the fish may take another color better so I usually have a variety of colors and see what works the best. I feel that it is also a great idea to rig up and have three or four rods with you. The reason is that pike, walleye and bass can hit your jig and take the whole works with them. Nothing is worse than finding and getting into crappies and then having to take time to retie your line because jaws just hit your rig. The other reason is to be able to try a different color of bait presentation without having to re-tie your line every time.

Another key element I use is the wind. When I am searching on where to start fishing I will target the reed line that the waves are going into. There is a pretty good chance that the pan fish will be in these reeds searching for the baitfish and other forage that has blown in there by the wind. One of my favorite situations is where I have had a 15 mph wind all day and it dies to almost nothing in the evening hours. With light tackle I like to go into these areas very quietly. If crappies are in these reeds you will know after a few casts. More than likely they will be there. If there is a lot of wind, I will use my anchor and let my bait drift into the areas that I want to fish. I do this because it will be much easier to manage the boat rather than trying to fight the waves with the trolling motor.

On a dead calm night you’ll want to again use the trolling motor and move just a little bit to find the fish. Again, you want to be quiet because a lot of noise in shallow water can really scare the fish. And always don’t be afraid to go back to places you tried and hour earlier because sometimes pan fish will move in from deeper water and you might have left 10 minutes before they came in these areas.

The pan fish fishing gets better each week in the spring and can stay that way well into May and June as far as fishing in reeds goes. There are other methods that work well such as casting beetle spins but I seem to have better luck in June when it comes to spinners etc. There is something about watching that bobber go down that really gets exciting and fun. There are some nights in the spring when you really can’t get the line out fast enough. So when the ice gets off the lake and get out there and give crappies and sunfish in the reeds a try, it can be a great time. Listen, take your wife/girlfriend and especially a kid out fishing this time of year. There is lots of action and it’s a great way to introduce someone into our greatest past time and that’s fishing! Oh yeah, don’t forget to bring warmer clothes, facemask and gloves with because that ride across the lake early in the spring can be a cold one.

For those who do not know that Ottertail County has some of the best fishing there is in the State of Minnesota. Especially when it comes to panfish. There are some just unbelievable crappie and sun fish lakes near Perham, Minnesota in Ottertail County. Lakes like Big Pine, Little Pine, Lake Lizze, Lake Lidia, Ottertail Lake, Battle Lake, Lake Rose, Long Lake, Pelican Lake, Dead Lake, Star Lake and the list goes on and on. There are 1000 lakes in Ottertail County alone!

For those fisherman and fisherwomen who have never been to this area to fish. I invite you to Perham, Minnesota and fish and stay at the Cactus Resort & RV Park. Take a tour through the Cactus Resort. See any of the four cabin suites or learn more about a Park Model RV Cabin. This area has some of this states premier fishing and hunting! To learn more Click Here

Fish On!!!

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Good information Cranker.

Personnelly, I have good to plastics and leave the minnows are the bait shop. Once you try plastics you will never buy minnows again, save your money for gas.

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • pikeandchester
      Spent some time on Jefferson (east) and Francis. Ice is holding up well. Accesses are a bit beat up but manageable. still a bit of crusty snow on top and the ice is thick, didn't measure. Still trucks driving out. Fishing was very tough, was trying for sunnies  caught one small bass. Lots of lookers. Drove by Madison yesterday and saw trucks with wheel houses out.
    • smurfy
      drove by the chain yesterday about 3;30 ish. sure was quiet out there. i didn't see a soul on horsehoe, a few on becker, and a couple on cedar island in the bay just south of the road access.
    • CigarGuy
      My neighbor at my cabin recently bought several acres adjoining his property and another neighbor had posted part of it-thinking he owned it.  My neighbor was planning on having it surveyed, so for the heck of it, I downloaded the trial OnX hunt map.  Only one pin on my property is visible in the winter, it was right on the pin.  We went and checked his property lines out and the neighbor that posted it, didn't own as much property as he thought he did. The OnX map property lines were fairly close to the actual lines, which were verified when surveyed.  If there are indeed pins or some kind of stakes in the ground, this should get you close enough to use a metal detector. 
    • Wanderer
      None of the GPS mapping or GIS can be used as legal documents.  The best thing would’ve been to spend the $350 or so for Title Insurance when the land was purchased.  With the insurance the lines are checked and any discrepancies are corrected. After that, yup, it’s up to getting a new survey. best of luck to ya.  
    • Borch
      Pretty nice weather and travel conditions right now.  The ice will be around for a while.  Fishing was slow for us today.
    • papadarv
      Spring is here, open water soon. In Feb. Navionics did a big High Def. update to many lakes. Several  lakes i looked at appeared to have great contour improvements. Two lakes Coon in Anoka and Ottertail in Ottertail co., which i am very famuliar with, were part of the group. I decided to compare the 2 lakes to Iakemaster so I spent the $30 for the 2 maps for Humminbird Fishsmart App. I also obtained a Garmin LakeVU of a portion of Coon. Navionics & Lakemaster very close to each other, Garmin LakeVU not so close. The screen shot has Navionics on left, Lakemaster cennter & Garmin right.  Boating App owners - great time to do the Update all.
    • pikeandchester
      The GPS ideas are great. Garmin Huntview for Minnesota is $79.99 and OnX has 7 day free trial. The plan is to have the property surveyed. I believe Cliff makes a good point, do it right from the start. More time for fishing less time messing around looking for markers and  buying equipment just to possibly end up having the survey done in the end. Thank you for your responses they have been very helpful!
    • Mike89
      good luck there!!!!
    • JBMasterAngler
      I decided to skip Mille Lacs today. With the poor fishing reports and even poorer travel options out there, I’m hoping next week might be better. So bring on the sun for the next 7 days!
    • JBMasterAngler
      Got out to west rush early this morning. No slush issues while I was there, but that could be different by days end. The landing was quickly degrading in just the few hours I was there...landing on east lake is worse. Only caught 5 crappies. Schools were scattered and on the move, and fish weren’t very active. Ice was about 32 inches, which made hole hopping very difficult with an ion auger. Caught a nice sun burn on my face