Where Beauty & Nature intersect

The 2014 Park Rapids Area Fishing Opener

The 2014 Park Rapids Area Fishing Opener is upon us….at last! The buzz of the line winding station has been heard daily as the fishermen have been preparing for another heavy opener day walleye bite. We had one of the coldest winters on record and the surface water temps reflect that fact by remaining below 50 degrees. Some of the 7 day forecast calls for rain, don’t forget to pack away a Frog Togg’s™ rain suit, chances are that you will need it.

Most long time Park Rapids area walleye fishermen will be found fishing near the river inlets and outlets. Angling on larger lakes with colder water will produce better results using this method. Walleyes spawn based on water temperatures and the larger lakes are still 6 to 7 degrees colder than the smaller, shallow lakes. This fact will push the spawn time back by a few days on those deep lakes. Fishing in the rivers will produce a decent catch after dark, so a headlamp will be helpful in preparing your gear. We are catching the tail end of the walleye spawn and some large females can be found in the rivers. The “eater sized” males will remain in and around the rivers one or two weeks after the majority of the females have dispersed back into the main lake. Be respectful of nature and release the females to lay eggs for the next generation. Keep the smaller more tasty males. The eyes’ are not interested in fast moving baits and are opportunistic eaters during the spawning season. A night crawler affixed to a heavy jig is the best set up to put fish in the boat.

The northern pike are done spawning for the year and are ready to replenish their protein stocks. They are a cold water loving fish and will be active early season. Most pike over 5 pounds move out to deeper areas of the lake after water temps warm up. In the first weeks after opener you can find them feeding in shallow bays where food is more abundant. Large northern pike will be feeding in the same vicinity as the walleyes; near river inlets and outlets. Bemidji made KenKatch™ Tackle’s inline bucktail spinners will entice the giants to attack. Don’t forget your camera, this is a great time of year to land an enormous pike!

When surface water temperatures reach 52 degrees, the crappies move on to their muddy spawning grounds. Tie on a light weight FluFlu™ Jig and pair it with a crappie minnow for the best chances for action. Head to the “swampiest” shallow area of the lake, they favor those spots to lay their eggs. Once you locate a few fish, drift back to the edge of your casting range and drop anchor. If you are near a large enough spawning area, you can catch fish at a steady rate for hours.

Just a reminder that bass fishing season opener is May 24th; make sure to release any accidental catches in a timely matter. The shelves are stocked and the bait tanks are full at Smokey Hills Outdoor. Our Ice Castle inventory is truly impressive with more units in stock than almost any dealer, anywhere. We remain humbled and grateful for your support. Thank you for helping us to set record sales again this year. We will continue to offer top notch service and advice for all of your outdoor sporting needs. See you soon!!

Pictured here Park Rapids area fisherman, Ryan Marjama.
Courtesy of Smokey Hills Outdoor Store, May 2014

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