The frost is still growing on the windshields of Park Rapids area vehicles in the early morning hours but the weatherman is predicting that summer will get a firmer grip in the coming ten day forecast. If the predictions become reality, our area water temperatures will finally warm up and so will the angling action.
Surface water temperatures are important early open water fishing season and this year is no different. Locations where a smaller body of water drains into a larger body of water will be a good place to fish. Water temperatures are still hovering below 50 degrees on most of our area lakes and many of the male walleyes are still close to the river inlets and outlets. Walleyes will be attracted to these warmer water haunts based on the more abundant feed available. A few “bruisers” will still be found in the rivers after dark as long as surface temps remain below 50 degrees. Tie on a Bemidji made KenKatch™ long shank jig with a shiner or rainbow at tow for your best chances of hooking a wall hanger.
The area northern pike population is strong and healthy. While many fish are sluggish in cold water; pike are more active. Find them at varying depths as shallow as 4 feet and as deep as 20 feet. Almost any underwater anomaly will attract them this time of year as the lakes have very little standing vegetation. A “good ‘ole” standard white spinnerbait has and will put big pike in the boat when lake temperatures are cool. If you are on the hunt for a trophy, head to one of our Park Rapids area lakes that have slot limits on northern pike. The DNR has been successful in growing large fish over the past few years.
Some of our shallow lakes have already signaled the crappie to spawn. This makes for “easy pickings” even for a novice angler. Once again, surface temperatures play a key role in finding and catching a haul. Crappies prefer mucky bottom areas of the lake to procreate. Be on the lookout for shorelines with floating bogs and cat tails. The water will be warmer there and the habitat is opportune for spawning. If you are planning on taking a youngster fishing, this will provide the action to keep everyone smiling. A weighted bobber, lead weight and Gamakatsu™ painted hook paired with a crappie minnow will do the trick. They will spawn as shallow as 8 inches of water and as deep as 4 feet.
Try your luck at defeating the longest standing world record for a freshwater fish. The yellow perch was caught in 1865 in New Jersey weighing in at 4lbs 3oz and measuring 18 inches. The Park Rapids area perch are certainly “jumbo status” and a 4lb 4oz monster might just be breathing water on one of our excellent area fisheries. The current water temps mean that they are still spawning. Perch lay their eggs starting just before dark and into the night in depths from 4 to 10 feet. They will disperse their eggs on weeds or sunken logs. Any variety of small Northland™ jigs paired with a wax worm or crappie minnow will produce positive results.
The Walleye fishing league is now underway and both bass fishing leagues are starting soon. It’s not too late to join either one. You don’t need to be an expert fisherperson to compete. It is a great excuse to get out fishing once a week and try different lakes. All three leagues are very welcoming, stop by the store for more information. It is definitely RV season and Smokey Hills Outdoor Store is ready with a wide variety of Ice Castle RVs on the lot. If you would like to customize a fish house/RV to your personal specs, we have an expert staff to help you do so. We would again like to thank you for supporting this Park Rapids area business, we are truly grateful! We look forward to seeing your smiling faces soon!
|(Courtesy of Smokey Hills Outdoor Store – Picture: Bryan Flynn caught this
8lb 4oz walleye yesterday 5/15/14 on a Park Rapids area lake)