Jim Braaten

Jim Braaten lives near Kenyon, Minn., and has been an avid outdoorsman for more than 35 years. He lives on the family farm that was first settled by his ancestors 152 years ago. He has been an outdoors writer and photographer, and he owns a business producing and marketing calendars.

Tough walleye bite during typical opener conditions

Posted by: Jim Braaten under Walleye Updated: May 9, 2009 - 5:55 PM

Fish camp 2009 convened once again on Lake Andrusia (located just west of Cass Lake), the site of our group’s 8th annual Minnesota Fishing Opener bash staying at the Finn ‘n Feather Resort.   The weather was cold, the wind was biting, the precipitation ranged from a light mist to a steady rain with an occasional snowflake thrown in just for good measure.   Once again for the opener the weatherman promised conditions that were simply too good to be true.   We should have known better than to expect warmer, dry conditions as was predicted…after all, this is the Minnesota Fishing Opener and it usually serves as a reminder each spring that winter-like conditions are not completely a thing of the past.

The day started slow with most of our group's 15 fishermen hitting the lake at or about daybreak.   Heavy, overcast clouds with a light wind out of the NE ranging about 5 to 10mph were the conditions we dealt with during most of the day.   By noon, the group reported very limited success with only two small walleyes in the tank biting in water around 9 feet.   Later in the afternoon, we discovered a more active walleye bite hitting in the 21 to 23 foot depths using small white jigs with spot-tail shiners bounced along the bottom.   Still, it took some finesse to get the proper hook set as their bite was very light.

By the time afternoon was turning into evening our group had amassed enough walleye, a few decent perch, and a couple of nice northern to ensure our annual fish fry would be on for the evening.   Certainly it has not been the most productive opener, by any means…but fortunately the fishing action seemed to pick up as the day grew on.

As a side note, it’s my perception there appears to be fewer fishermen in general out this 2009 fishing opener weekend — likely due to the economy.   In comparison to other years, there seemed to be less boat traffic heading north, fewer boats competing on the lake, and fewer cabins occupied at the resort.   Even our fishing group that usually consists of 20 to 25 anglers was missing about 8 anglers this year due mostly to family financial challenges.

Will post another report tomorrow!   Good luck to everyone out on the lake, especially to all those mother's on their big day tomorrow.   Happy Mother's Day!!

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