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Now that the area lakes are free of ice the next thing on my wish list might just involve some sort of “magic” air freshener or maybe even a giant shop vac that could be used to rid Albert Lea Lake of all the dead fish. To say that it takes your breath away would be an understatement; especially when the wind is from the right (wrong) direction. Oh well, with any luck at all it will only take another week or two to rid the area of that toxic dead fish smell. Ahhh – the smell of spring is in the air!

The folks from the DNR were spotted depositing fish in Pickerel Lake earlier this week. I’d have to say it means that they are starting over, hopefully not totally from scratch. I really haven’t seen any dead fish along the shore of that lake but then I haven’t taken the time to investigate it too closely. I’d like to believe that the lake wasn’t a total loss and that some of the fish actually made it through the winter. At least Fountain Lake survived the hard winter that old mother nature seems determined to drag out for as long as possible.

Fountain Lake can be a good lake to fish early in the season but like so many area lakes as summer progresses the watercraft numbers also increase. Spending a relaxing day of fishing on the lake may become a little more difficult as summer progresses. I believe that the best time to fish many of these area lakes is early morning or late evening. Early morning will probably be best because most folks that ride jet skis or water ski don’t usually hit the lake at the crack of dawn. I look at it as peaceful co-existence because a lot of fishermen, like me, enjoy fishing in the early morning; so they can have their time and I can have mine.

I don’t know how many other lakes in our area have had a freeze but I have heard that Reed’s Lake by Elysian didn’t have a fish kill. This was my favorite opening day lake for many years and I would take the boys there almost every year until it became way too crowded. That was when I switched to Fountain and eventually I began spending every opening weekend attending the Governor’s opener.

If you are looking for an opening day lake I wouldn’t look past St. Olaf or Beaver Lakes which are close by and can offer some pretty good fishing. St. Olaf can be good for northern and panfish while Beaver may offer some good early season walleye action and later on the bass fishing can also be pretty good.

I will be attending the Governor’s Opener again this year and this year’s event will be held in the Brainerd area on Gull Lake. I have never fished Gull Lake so I am looking forward to yet another first time event. Each year I always look forward to visiting new areas of the state while attending the Governor’s fishing event. The Governor’s Fishing opener is actually more about promoting a certain area of the state and Minnesota Tourism in general than it is about fishing.

This year’s event is being held in one of the more popular vacation areas of the state. Brainerd is reasonably close to the Twin Cities so with the busy lifestyles of today’s world driving a couple of hours for a weekend of fun on the water can seem pretty appealing.

For many years I had heard about the Whitefish Chain of lakes in that area so one year we decided to check it out. My wife Jean and I along with the two boys joined our friends Kenny and Georgette and their two kids for a week of fishing and camping. I soon found out that my little 14-ft. car topper boat looked totally out of place alongside all of those big cruisers that seemed to take pleasure in making us look like a crappie bobber bouncing on the high seas.

I can remember this one guy in particular who seemed to take great pleasure in trying to rock our boat. He was an older guy with a super-tan and he had two young bikini clad women laughing with him as he kept circling our boat in his big cruiser all the while raising his drink in his hand. After he had gone around for the second time and we were trying to keep the boat from swamping I reached for my giant “Husky Devil” Daredeville spoon which I was hoping to bounce off his tanned forehead. Luckily for one of us he must have had enough fun so he turned and took off for another part of the lake to impress someone else no doubt. An experience like this can sour a guy on ever returning to a certain area of the state for a “fun filled” vacation. I will just have to keep reminding myself about the “one bad apple” ism.

I have never really been one for fishing in crowds anyway so that probably explains why I like fishing those quiet little lakes in our part of northern Minnesota. There are many times when I will be the only boat on the lake so I only have the wildlife to share a sunset with. Now that’s what I’m talking about!

Until next time; check the old tackle box; re-string your reels and plan on spending some time fishing one of our great Minnesota lakes.

Please remember to keep our troops in your thoughts and prayers because they are the reason we are able to enjoy all the freedoms that we have today. 

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