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Where Beauty & Nature Intersect

Weekly Fishing Report – May 23, 2014

The sun is shining and the fish are active on the Park Rapids area waters. While the birds are using fishing line as nesting material; our local anglers hope to use it to pull in a monster bass for this weekend’s opener. The ten day weather forecast is predicting most days to be in the upper 70’s to low 80’s. This will be a great week to make memories in the Park Rapids area!

The ever elusive walleye has not been so elusive in recent days. They have moved slightly deeper than to be expected given the current water temperatures. Action has been found from 15 to 25 feet of water. Your electronics will break the lake of its secrets. The eyes’ will follow the schooling shiner minnows which are still near the river inlets and outlets and on the “flats”. Minnesota made Fly Way Tackle’s™ “Walleye Snell” paired with one of our Red Lake spot tail shiner minnows will put fish in the boat and a smile on your face.The crackle of the exhaust from high horsepower motors will blanket the Park Rapids area lakes as “bass boats” make their 2014 maiden voyage. The May 24th Minnesota Bass Fishing Opener is upon us and there are ideal early season conditions to have a fun filled day of setting the hook. The largemouth bass spawn takes place when the water temperatures are between 55 and 65 degrees. The current average surface temps are 55 degrees. Search out shallow, mucky bays and utilize your trolling motor. This is the preferred spawning habitat of largemouth. Remember to bring a good pair of polarized sunglasses to cut the water’s glare. “Sight fishing” is a very successful method when they are on the beds. Scan the lake bottom for a depression that looks like a large “bowl”, bass are nearby. They often build their nests in close proximity to some sort of anomaly or debris on the lake’s floor. A Gamakatsu™ weighted 4/0 hook paired with a Papa’s Bait™ “Brush Hog” will get the “big mama’s” to open their jaws.

The Park Rapids area trophy pike are on the prowl and ready to snack on any shiny lure put in front of their jaws. They are right at home in the cooler, early season open water. While some species of fish need warmer water to become active, pike actually prefer colder water temps. Large pike will not necessarily be confined to any certain depth in the water column. You will be able to locate them based upon the location of their favorite prey. Crappies certainly fall into this category and it is easy to pinpoint their location as they are currently spawning. Find the pike snacking on crappies from 2 feet of water and at depths up to 20 feet deep on nearby drop offs. They will come up to feed as needed throughout the day. Small inline “bucktails” such as Bemidji Minnesota made KenKatch two bladed inline spinners will help you land a monster. Don’t forget to buy a few heavy duty Wendell’s leaders to safely tow your attractive lure back to the boat. Pike are known for their razor sharp teeth!Park Rapids area made Dream Away™ hand tied jigs are weapon #1 for your next crappie hunt. The male crappies are busy protecting their nests. They prefer to spawn over a mucky bottom, often near a beaver dam or other submerged tree cover. The females are in the vicinity of the nests, they deposit their eggs and then leave to feed while the males stay behind. The crappies are active feeders during the spawn; it will be easy to catch enough for a meal. Look for warmer surface water temps and “bog” areas of the lake to put fish on your hook. Pair your jig with a crappie minnow for the best results.

Follow the Smokey Hills Outdoor Store Facebook™ page to stay updated on the local bass and walleye league standings. Our staff has been busy preparing for the open water fishing season and new products are on the shelves. We still offer the widest selection of firearms, Ice Castle fish houses and Ice Castle RV’s in the area. As always, we thank you for contributing to our continued record setting success. Stop by the store to get the “skinny” on your Park Rapids area lake. See you soon!

(Crappies caught by a Smokey Hills Outdoor Store employee recently on a Park Rapids area lake)

Park Rapids Lakes Area Chamber, a Partner of Explore Minnesota Minnesota Chamber of Commerce Northwoods Bank, Partner of Park Rapids Lakes Area Chamber Citizen's Bank in Park Rapids, MN Park Rapids Downtown Business Association Park Rapids Lakes Area Convention & Visitor's Bureau