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Bobbers on the water: Local enthusiasts gear up for fishing opener Saturday

WORTHINGTON -- Saturday's weather forecast calls for a high of 55 degrees and wind. Those are certainly not the ideal conditions for Minnesota's walleye fishing opener, but then there have been years when the weather's been worse.

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A mix of perch and walleye can be seen in this net during a Department of Natural Resources Fox Lake muskie assessment in Martin County. Submitted Photo

WORTHINGTON - Saturday’s weather forecast calls for a high of 55 degrees and wind. Those are certainly not the ideal conditions for Minnesota’s walleye fishing opener, but then there have been years when the weather’s been worse.

As fishing enthusiasts oil up their reels and organize their tackle boxes for the big day, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources-Windom Area Fisheries Supervisor Ryan Doorenbos said walleye populations in southwest Minnesota lakes should provide for some good fishing this year.
“Lake Okabena is one that we always consider to be a good fishery all around,” Doorenbos said, adding that reports last summer included catches of numerous small walleye. Those fish have another year of growth on them now and “should be starting to come into keeper size,” he noted.
“Round Lake is another lake that looks to be a pretty decent fishery this year,” Doorenbos said.
With his work in the 10-county area, the DNR supervisor said Lake Sarah is the premier walleye fishery with consistently good populations of the gamefish.
“The size structure (of the walleyes) is a size we don’t see in our other lakes,” he added.
Neighboring Lake Shetek, meanwhile, continues to be a good walleye and northern pike fishery.

Fishing for northern pike opens Saturday as well, with East Graham Lake in Nobles County, Lime Lake in Murray County, and St. James Lake and Kansas Lake, both in Watonwan County, having higher populations of the gamefish, Doorenbos said.
While many people will be in search of the elusive walleye and northern pike this opening weekend, Doorenbos encourages people not to overlook the panfish.
“We really do have some good panfisheries in the area,” he said. “Indian Lake has a good crappie population … and you have Fulda Lake with blue gills, sunfish, bass and northern pike.”
DNR Fisheries-Windom offers a guide on 2016 fishing opportunities on more than 40 lakes, as well as the Des Moines River, in southwest Minnesota. The guide, which can be viewed at http://bit.ly/1TbxqqL , includes primary species and other species fishing enthusiasts can try to catch at each site.
As people gear up to go to their favorite fishing spot this weekend, Doorenbos reminds anglers in boats to wear personal flotation devices. Also, with statewide efforts continuing to reduce the spread of aquatic invasive species, he asks that all boaters pull the boat plug before leaving a lake access.

Related Topics: FISHINGWEATHER
Julie Buntjer became editor of The Globe in July 2021, after working as a beat reporter at the Worthington newspaper since December 2003. She has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism from South Dakota State University.
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