The annual Lake Minnetonka crappie contest is supposed to be a harbinger of spring, though in recent years anglers braved frigid weather that more resembled winter.

Not this year.

The 46th annual contest, now dubbed the Minnesota Bound Crappie Contest, is Saturday, and the forecast calls for partly sunny skies and a high in the mid-50s.

“It might be the best one we’ve had so far,’’ said Minnesota Bound host Ron Schara, who resurrected the event three years ago.

“The crappie contest is the real kickoff to the fishing season,’’ he said. “It’s a fun fish. It’s a fish that always bites this time of year. They’re easy to find. And kids can enjoy catching them.’’

Upward of $50,000 in prizes will be offered, and anyone who enters a crappie is eligible to win a new boat, motor and trailer package. A kids fishing clinic runs all day, which includes free fishing prizes for kids. And there’s a fish fry, too. Proceeds go to Fishing For Life, a nonprofit group that connects kids, families and communities to fishing and the outdoors.

The contest runs from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., and the headquarters again are at Lord Fletcher’s in Spring Park. The entry fee is $5 if you preregister, and $10 the day of the contest. See for details.

Meanwhile, Schara said he plans to wet a line Saturday, between his other contest duties.

“The crappies will be in the shallows,’’ he said.

The bays on the north side might be best.

What to use? “You can’t beat a crappie minnow, small jig and a bobber, in 3 or 4 feet of water,’’ he said.