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Timing is everything -- catches come in bursts

We are already through our first week of February. It seems as if this winter season is moving along swiftly. February will usually have some of the days that can be enjoyed by just sitting on a bucket while ice fishing and taking in the beauty of the experience. The Derby's held on Lida and in Menaga had just that kind of day for the participants. Even if it is 0 degrees, with no wind and sunshine, it is pleasant to be out. Lida's derby had a little more catching than Menaga. The turnout for both was great, and everybody seemed to be enjoying themselves. Lake Lida had a few walleyes weighed in as well as a few crappies, sunfish, perch, bass, and a couple of six pound northern pike.

Reports for the area continue to vary. Many have experienced -- including me -- having walleyes come in on the locator or camera and not taking the baits. Timing seems to be everything, as others have reported great catches, but they seem to come in short bursts. I was also fortunate enough last Sunday to be a participant in that experience.

Some of the pan fish reports have been similar to the walleye experience -- feast or famine. I have heard of some parties getting into a hundred sunfish day and others only scrounging a few. It is easy to see some of the lakes that have had heavy fishing pressure for six weeks now and it seems that moving away from these high-pressured areas and exploring a little away from the crowd has turned the trick for those having success with the sunfish and crappies.

There always seems to be those that give fisherman a bad name by trying to cheat themselves and their fellow fisherman. The DNR just released the results of some aggressive checks. The greatest violations were fishing to many lines (we are already allowed two each in the winter!), no fishing license (is there a cheaper form of entertainment were your investment that comes back in the form of management of the resource?), and over limit (no excuse for this selfishness). I am glad we have a system in place to keep track of the abuses, but it is sad that we have so many that don't respect the reasons behind the rules. Please use the TIP line if you are aware of violators. We need to protect our resource for everyone to enjoy.

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