Choppy waters make fishing an arduous task; waters quiet down on Mother’s Day
What a time for gale from the northwest.
Still, anglers being a stubborn lot turned out in good numbers on many Kandiyohi County lakes seeking the finicky walleye Saturday morning as the 2013 fishing season opened.
Chilled boaters were greeted by whitecaps and rollers on the Minnesota game-fish opener.
Zach Hinze, 20, and Kurtis Lindee, 21, gave it three hours on Big Kandi, near Lake Lillian.
“I was not prepared for waves coming over the gunwale,” Hinze said. “I would have dressed differently.”
They found sheltered waters to the lee of the island but didn’t see anyone pull anything in, except perhaps a perch.
At the Park No. 1 store at the west end, manager Bud Groen hadn’t seen a fish at 10:30 a.m.
“It’s a better day for drinking coffee,” he cracked.
People couldn’t even catch sunfish Friday, he said, a pretty good sign that fish just weren’t in the mood.
The air temperature as the sun rose Saturday was in the high 30s, about 10 degrees below normal. The wind was the real problem, hurtling over the prairie at 25 to 35 mph.
And yet, 23 boat trailers were in the parking lot.
Jeff Kjorness of Danube was loading up his boat after three hours out with sons Jordan, 8, and Justin, 15. “It’s cold out there and you can’t fish where you want to,” dad said.
Three generations of Kopaceks from Olivia fought the waves in a 14-foot aluminum. They did get a smallmouth to bite but that season doesn’t open for two weeks. Grandpa Ken with son, Kyle, and grandson, Karter, 12, agreed they might tackle another lake but they “were going to warm up first.”
Lake Elizabeth is well sheltered by woods and higher terrain but the water was boiling there also. There were a dozen trailers in the public access lot.
Like Big Kandi, boaters were giving up at 11 a.m. after a good try without success.
“It was hard to fish, it’s so windy out there,” said Bryan Seiffert of Coon Rapids who was fishing with a friend from the Twin Cities “guided” by Bryan’s brother Darrell Seiffert of Litchfield.
Shannon Visser and son Paul, 9, headed out at the same time, proving once again that anglers are eternal optimists.
Little was stirring on Diamond Lake at the county park. There were a half-dozen trailers in the Park No. 3 lot and two boats sighted in still waters, safe from the wind.
By evening Bud Groen had left a message that Todd Theis of St. Paul had reported to the store a catch-and-release 29-inch walleye. Bud and his wife, Joan, are in their 26th season operating the campground “Where the Lakes Begin.”
In the northern flank, the story was no different. The popular Ringo Lake “boardwalk,” along U.S. Highway 71, was deserted Saturday morning.
Sunday dawned differently. The blustery wind backed off and the temperature at 6 a.m. was freezing. It quickly warmed up and the sun shined bright for the third day in a row. By 11:30 a.m., the mercury was at 47 degrees at New London headed toward 60.
At J’s Bait and Sport in Willmar, the hot dogs and burgers were on the grill all day Friday and Saturday until owner Jabran Mustafa closed at midnight Saturday for a few hours of sleep. He reopened at 5 a.m. Sunday.
“There were a lot of fishermen going out Friday night even as the wind started to pick up but (traffic) slowed down on Saturday,” he said. “There were some walleye being caught, mainly from shore of the northwest corner of lakes, like Ringo, Willmar and Lake Elizabeth.
A customer stopped for bait, a roll and coffee, Sunday morning, Jabran related: “He said he’d fixed a Mother’s Day breakfast in bed for his wife and now he was going fishing.”
At Mel’s Sports Shop in Spicer, the public access across the street was “pretty empty” Saturday, hardly typical for one of the state’s walleye hot spots.
At Brad’s 71 Bait & Sports on Eagle Lake, owner Brad Foshaug called it the “worst opener he can remember. Business has been slow. It was ugly. There were some pan fish caught but it was pretty much a bust everywhere.”
Perhaps, he speculated, with a dry laugh, “next weekend will be the real opener.”