Lake temperatures have been stuck in the low- to mid-40 degree range for weeks now. The early ice out has been followed by very inconsistent weather, a slow warm up, cold nights, snow, and lots of wind.

This warm weather we have finally started to have will warm the lakes up, and the panfish bite will just continue to improve. The weather was stable enough for the DNR to finish up the walleye egg harvest at Lake Sallie.

Almost all the docks are now installed at both Becker County and Otter Tail County lake accesses. This will make it very convenient for boat anglers to get on and off the lakes for spring panfish angling before the opener in a couple weeks.

Many seasons we have started the opener with some of the docks still yet to be installed. The early ice out has us ahead of the game this year. Dock and lift installers have already been busy for weeks now.

Most lake levels are low for this time of year, so be aware of that as you start your boating season. The recent rains we have received have helped bring lake levels up the last week to 10 days, but we could use more rain soon or we could be in for shallow water launching and loading at accesses all summer.

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RELATED: See more Brad Laabs columns

Anglers that have been used to buying their license for themselves and their spouses are finding a significant change in play this year. Spouses need to be present or a certificate can be obtained instead of a license that the spouse can take to a licensing agent and redeem for their license. The easiest way to get the couples license is for both to go together to purchase this year’s fishing license. I am not sure of the reason for the change, after so many years of one being able to purchase a license for both.

Just another reminder that I had shared in a previous article, that we have a number of Becker County and Otter Tail County lakes in our area that have new regulations in response to the Bluegill Initiative.

Check your DNR fishing regulation book, the DNR website, or read the posts that are at every lake access to stay on top of all the regulations pertaining to fish slots and limits. We have numerous special regulation lakes in our area regarding walleye, northern, crappie, and bluegill. The signs posted at every access help make it easier to stay on top of changes or rules of the lake you are entering to be aware of any regulations that it may have. Signs are also posted informing you of any invasive species that may be present. Always remember to clean (boat/trailer/anchor), drain (boat bilge/live wells/baitwells), and dry (live wells/baitwells).

(Laabs owns Brad Laabs Guide Service in Detroit Lakes)