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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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deacon

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 :)

    • Getanet
      Well, spent Thursday and Friday on Kab for my first time ever. It's a beautiful lake, the weather on the other hand could have been better for camping. It poured both nights, and during the day it seemed like it was either windy, rainy, or both. Unfortunately we didn't have much luck and didn't boat a walleye. We fished around Bittersweet Island and that general part of the lake, and fished at varying times, depths and presentations. About the only thing we didn't try was fishing around sunrise. Talked to a grizzled vet of the lake at the landing on Saturday. He said sometimes the strange weather patterns turn the fish off up there. I'm going to go with that excuse - we had a great time but was certainly disheartening after hearing how great the fishing was on Opener to have such poor luck.   Will definitely be up there again though. Beautiful area.
    • ducksnbucks
      Thanks guys for the info. Had a great time with the girls yesterday afternoon. We caught bluegills up to 9", crappies to 11", saw a lot of nice bass, and as we wanted, caught some nice cats. All fish were between 19 and 24", extremely fat fish and lots of fun to catch. The girls were thrilled at the action and all fish were released to be caught another day. Bluegills were not creating beds yet but the crappies were starting to. Thanks again and have a good one!
    • LoonASea
      With your boat on the trailer,,, with the bow slightly raised (like you're on plane) make sure your motor is as close to 90 degrees to the ground ,,, Most pulling is caused by one side of the prop cutting more water then the other side ,,, Good place to start any way 
    • CJH
      Anybody have any water temps on the Chain?  I'll be up in Alex this weekend to get the boats in and just wondering where its at. Thanks!
    • Wheres_Walter
      We fished Frazer bay Friday and Saturday afternoon-sundown.  Early evening we did best in 30-35 FOW on lindys and chartruese jigs with chubs.  The last 90 min before dark we had more success at 7-12 FOW.  Nothing big but we caught a lot of 10-14" fish, more than enough to fill a skillet for our group of 5, plus put a few in the freezer.  All around great weekend, look forward to hitting it again this weekend.
    • Borch
      Good to have you back fishandfowl!  Gotta love it when a plan comes together.
    • osok
      As stated above most likely the Trim tab under the cavitation plate. Might have came loose, or corroded away if it's a sacrificial Zinc type. Agree with Leech, did you make any changes to your boat recently?  
    • Rick
      The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has determined that a supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) is required for the Fargo-Moorhead Diversion Authority’s revised flood risk management project.  The DNR will prepare the SEIS to analyze modifications in the revised project proposal. The DNR invites comments on the scope of the SEIS through June 11. The scope will determine what will be evaluated in the SEIS. Broadly speaking, the SEIS describes the proposed project, identifies environmental impacts and considers mitigation and alternatives that may lessen those impacts. The supplemental review, which is not an entirely new EIS, will focus on those aspects of the revised project that were not evaluated in the original environmental impact statement (EIS). The DNR will conduct the SEIS work concurrently with its review of the Diversion Authority’s permit application for its revised project. The proposed Fargo-Moorhead flood risk management project is a dam and diversion channel system designed to divert flood waters around Fargo, North Dakota; Moorhead, Minnesota; and surrounding metropolitan areas. The DNR denied the Diversion Authority’s previous permit application in October 2016 because it included insufficient mitigation; it did not meet state and local plans, rules and statutes; and there are alternatives that can provide needed protection. Since then, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton created a joint task force to develop engineering options to address concerns about the project’s impacts. The project applicant considered the task force’s work in developing the current project proposal. DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr said substantial changes to the original proposal require additional analysis. He said the DNR’s determination that an SEIS is needed is entirely separate from the agency’s ultimate decision about permitability. The SEIS will help ensure that the potential impacts of the project, as revised, are thoroughly assessed and disclosed, he said. “I want to emphasize that Minnesota continues to support enhanced flood risk management for the developed portion of the Fargo-Moorhead area that can meet Minnesota state standards,” Landwehr said. As required by state law, the DNR will not decide on the permit application until the SEIS is deemed adequate. The SEIS adequacy determination is not a project approval, but is rather a decision about whether the supplemental review was completed properly. The DNR is expected to complete the SEIS and adequacy determination in fall 2018. A permit decision is expected soon thereafter. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is preparing a federal supplemental environmental assessment for the proposed project, which is similar to the state SEIS in scope and purpose. The DNR will accept comments on the scope of the SEIS during a 20-day period beginning May 22 and ending June 11 at 4:30 p.m. A copy of the SEIS is available for public review at: DNR Library, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155. DNR northwest region office, 2220 Bemidji Ave., Bemidji, MN 56601. Minneapolis Central Library, 300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55401, Government Documents, 2nd Floor. Moorhead Public Library, 118 5th St. S, Moorhead, MN 56560. Fergus Falls Public Library, 205 E. Hampden, Fergus Falls, MN 56537. Fargo Public Library Downtown, 102 3rd St. North, Fargo, ND 58102. Written comments on the scope of the SEIS must be received by Monday, June 11 at 4:30 p.m. Comments may be mailed to:  Jill Townley, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, 500 Lafayette Road, Box 25, St. Paul, MN 55155-4025. Comments may be emailed to: environmentalrev.dnr@state.mn.us with “Fargo-Moorhead SEIS” in the subject line. If using the email address, include your name and mailing address so that you can be added to the mailing list. Comments may be faxed to 651-297-1500. The SEIS preparation notice, and additional details about the proposed project and the DNR’s review process are available on the Fargo-Moorhead project page. ###   Frequently Asked Questions What is this project about? The proposed Fargo-Moorhead (FM) flood risk management project is designed to divert flood waters around Fargo, North Dakota; Moorhead, Minnesota and surrounding metropolitan areas. It would control flows through the Fargo-Moorhead metropolitan area by placing high hazard dams on the Red and Wild Rice rivers. The dams, along with two tieback embankments, would then stage water in an upstream staging area. Water would drain from the upstream staging area into a 30-mile diversion channel around the metropolitan area that would outlet north of the metropolitan area. What is the history of the DNR’s involvement with the project? The DNR prepared a state environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Diversion Authority’s proposed project. That EIS process concluded in June 2016 with the DNR’s EIS adequacy determination. On Feb. 18, 2016, prior to completion of state environmental review, the DNR received an application for a Dam Safety and Public Waters Work permit for the FM project, listing the Flood Diversion Board of Authority (the Diversion Authority) as the applicant. Based on the October 2016 Findings of Fact for the Dam Safety and Public Water Work Permit Application, the DNR denied the permit application for the proposed FM project. In early 2017, the Diversion Authority informally coordinated with DNR staff regarding the permit denial by engaging in work sessions aimed at addressing the DNR’s concerns and discussing potential options moving forward. Later in 2017, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton created a joint task force to discuss flood control options and make recommendations. The task force created a technical advisory group that included engineers and staff from the Diversion Authority and the DNR. The technical group presented the task force with engineering options to address concerns about project impacts. What is the revised project design? On March 16, 2018, after considering the recommendations of the task force and technical advisory group, and engaging in additional discussions with the DNR, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Richland-Wilkin Joint Powers Authority, the Diversion Authority submitted a permit application for a revised FM project, known as “Plan B.” The “Plan B” project changes the alignments of the southern embankment alignment, the eastern tieback and the western tieback. This plan also allows more flows through town. These component changes result in a new inundation and staging area, and also result in modifications to, and elimination of, some project structures, such as the Comstock ring levee. Plan B also results in reduced impacts to Minnesota acres, cemeteries and organic farms. What will happen next? The DNR has determined that these project design changes are “substantial and may affect the potential significant adverse environmental effects of the project” and has ordered preparation of a supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS). The SEIS is designed to evaluate the potential impacts of the proposed project that were not assessed in the original EIS. During the SEIS process, the DNR will also be reviewing the Diversion Authority’s Plan B permit application. However, the DNR cannot make any decision on the application until the SEIS process is complete. The DNR currently anticipates completing the SEIS in October 2018, and making its permit decision shortly thereafter. Additional information about the SEIS and permit application are available on the Fargo-Moorhead project page. Discuss below - to view set the hook here.
    • DRAGFOOT
      We did well Thursday, Friday and Saturday out front of Pine just out of the gap in 19ft. Got on the lake just fine Saturday....was actually better than the previous two days as far as rough water is concerned I thought.
    • ANYFISH2
      Welcome back Fishandfowl! Congratulations on your bird. It seems like it has been a tough year for many. Hope you can stick around and share your adventures with us some more.