Your Best Spring Fishing in Minnesota
March 19, 2014
There's never been a better time for spring fishing in Minnesota, so grab your favorite rod and reel and hit the water! Here are the places you won't want to miss.
Early in the month you'll probably be fishing on the ice on this Martin County lake. Amber is the first and deepest lake in the Fairmont Chain comprised of this water body, Hall, Budd, Sisseton and George lakes. All are natural impoundments of Center Creek in the Blue Earth River Watershed.
Amber has had great crappie production in late years, and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' fisheries sampling proves that out. This should be another good year, with good-sized fish too.
Part of the beauty (and unknown) of fishing southern Minnesota in March is that you never quite know when you'll be fishing on hard water or the real thing. Most years, there's a decent chance that, by the end of the month, you can be fishing open water. Either way, hungry crappies should keep you busy.
Fish should be running consistently in the 8- to 10-inch range in this fertile lake, with bigger ones a possibility.
Here's another ice or open-water play for you, depending on what the climate conditions offer up this late winter and early spring. No matter, as Winnibigoshish perch are going to be staging for their annual spawning run back into weedy bays. The fish start gathering at the lips of these bays in late March under the ice, and they steadily move back as the ice fades.
Keep it simple. Fish with a short ice rod or even just a jigging stick in 6 to 8 feet of water. Bait up with a small minnow, live or dead, and don't be afraid to use just a half-minnow when you start. The fish won't care!
Big Stone Lake
Tired of fighting opening-day crowds on the big, famous walleye lakes in central and northern Minnesota?
One of the best solutions is to head west to Big Stone Lake in Big Stone County, right on the South Dakota border. Quite simply, the shallower and more fertile water there warms quicker and has the fish feeding harder. Plus, the border-water season opens in mid-April so the crowds are absent. They probably go to central or northern Minnesota!
Big Stone is a narrow lake, measuring 27 miles long and up to one mile wide, with a surface area of 12,610 acres. That figure may seem daunting, but the maximum depth of 16 feet makes it easier to handle.
Big Stone provides a high-quality walleye fishery. The walleye population has been maintained by natural reproduction and by supplemental stocking of fry. Every year seems to produce a good class of walleyes joining the mix, and so nice-sized fish keep coming. The prime 16- to 19-inch keepers are quite abundant.
Fish like you would any other allow prairie lake: Drift with spinner rigs baited with nightcrawlers or shiners, or troll crankbaits along breaklines.
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