Muskie season opens Saturday
The last fishing opener of the spring is this Saturday when muskie season opens statewide in Minnesota.
There is a new size limit for muskies in Minnesota lakes, with one fish allowed over 48 inches unless otherwise stated. Special regulation lakes for muskies are listed on the DNR website and should be posted at the public accesses.
The early spring combined with warm water temperatures and well-developed weed beds for this point in the season give muskie anglers hope for some active fish on the opener.
Muskie anglers can burn bucktails over the tops of the weed beds, reeling as fast as they can without breaking the surface of the water with their lures.
Fast retrieves also prevent muskies from getting too good a look at the bait in the clear water, which makes muskies more likely to make a "mistake".
Most anglers have their favorite species of fish, with fans of walleyes, muskies, bass and panfish all having many good choices for lakes in the Bemidji area.
Bass are very popular with anglers nationally, partly because bass are aggressive willing biters. Largemouth bass are overlooked by many anglers in the Bemidji area, with more anglers preferring to fish for walleyes, panfish or muskies.
Based on the conditions, anglers have the option of switching species to try and stay on active fish.
Many lakes in the Bemidji area are good multi-species lakes, with several species of gamefish and panfish present in different parts of the lake.
Muskies, crappies and walleyes are low light feeders and usually bite best in the mornings and evenings or under low light conditions.
When conditions are bright and sunny, anglers may be better off switching to species like northern pike, bass, sunfish and perch, which are usually more active during the day.
Walleye fishing has slowed in many lakes as water temperatures increase and the mayfly hatches begin. Many of the walleyes are currently changing locations, so anglers may have to abandon many of the areas they have been fishing early in the season.
Walleyes have been moving out of the shallows in many lakes as the shiner minnows finish spawning.
Many walleyes have been moving to deeper water on the edges of mid-lake structure, to take advantage of the mayfly hatches.
Jigs and minnows work well for walleyes in shallow water, but when walleyes begin to move into deeper water, most anglers switch to live-bait rigs tipped with leeches, nightcrawlers or larger minnows.
Anglers may want to consider adding spinners to their live-bait rigs when plain live-bait rigs aren't doing the trick
Many walleyes have been concentrated in areas with rocky bottom, especially on the larger lakes like Leech and Winnibigoshish. Good electronics and the ability to read the signals given by sonar can be very helpful in finding areas with rocks.
It can be frustrating fishing rocks, with anglers needing to develop a good sense of feel to tell the difference between a rock and a bite or they will spend much of their time getting snagged.
The bass opener was a little slow last weekend for many anglers, with the bass just finishing spawning in many lakes. Once the bass have had a little more time to recover from the spawn, bass fishing should improve.
Crappie fishing has also slowed on many lakes, with crappies moving out of the super shallow water and switching to their summer patterns.
Most crappies will either suspend off the sides of structure or bury themselves at the bottom of the weeds during the day and then move into structure in the mornings and evenings to feed.
The trick to crappie fishing during the summer is often knowing where the crappies are going to be when they become active and then being at the right place at the right time of day.
Perch fishing has been good on many of the larger lakes, but many of the perch will be changing locations soon, with many of the perch moving into deeper water to feed on the mayfly larvae emerging out of the mud.