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Gearing up for next weekend's fishing opener

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By now most of us have had enough of the rain, wind and cold. It seems as though our April and May got themselves mixed up on the calendar.

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Those that have been able to pick times to get out are still getting pan fish in the six to eight feet of water next to what will be emergent weed line areas. The pan fish bite should still be available and active through the opener. We will continue to have cold nights, but warming days and rain is in the forecast for our opener.

We are only six days away!  It is a good idea to create a checklist if you haven't already been getting out. It can reduce the stress and make the experience more enjoyable. Take some time to think of things like; fishing license, boat license, plug in the boat, landing net, batteries charged up, gas in the boat...you get the idea!

When you get to the public access to launch your boat, remember to be courteous and efficient. Don't get in line to launch until after you have un-tarped, un-strapped, loaded equipment, and are really ready to unload your boat. Once unloaded, move your boat away from the ramp so the next boat can also get into the water.

I am going to suggest that you take the big three (minnows, leeches, and crawlers) with you for this opening weekend, I believe all may be in play due to the fact we are a couple weeks ahead of previous years with our water temps. I believe we will have a variety of "bites" going in the area depending on your choice of lakes. It is very common to find fish up on the flats in six to 12 feet of water and not just relating to the drop-off edges. Early in the season, the rule of thumb is to start shallow and work yourself to deeper water until you contact fish.

The Northern Pike and Bass will still be active shallow. They are all taking turns on eating up some of the same forage. Remember that Bass and Muskie season are not open yet for this next weekend.

If you are going to be getting kids out for some of their first opener experiences, make sure they have good gear and are dressed appropriately. Getting cold and discouraged can turn a young person off to this great lifetime recreational activity. If the walleyes aren't biting for you, change it up and catch some pan fish. Kids love to get bites and catch fish...heck...we all do!

(Laabs runs Brad Laabs Guide Service in Detroit Lakes.)

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