Many of you may recall that Duluth, Minnesota is our sister city here in Thunder Bay. Minnesota anglers are some of the most committed in the sport, and this past Saturday, they needed that commitment to launch the 2013 Walleye season for the state. At dawn it was just over freezing in the “Arrowhead” – about 70 miles south of us, and that Northwesterly wind was gusting to 40 MPH. Frankly, most anglers opted, wisely I feel, to wait for another time. The fishing was lousy for those who did brave the elements. First off, most lakes in northern Minnesota were still ice covered, but NOT safe to walk or travel on. Records show the late “ice out” may beat the Minnesota record set in 1950. Last year, most Minnesota lakes witnessed the earliest ice-out ever recorded.
BTW: Kipp Duncan, Duluth area conservation officer for the Minnesota DNR, put it this way, “I talked to people who fished from midnight and all day Saturday at the Island Bridge, and saw 4 little walleye.” Hoods up – Gloves on – ice in the rod islets OMG.
The annual fishing contest between Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, and LT Governor Yvone Prettner did go off as planned in Park Rapids about 130 miles west of Duluth. Dayton caught the first walleye – a 16 incher – at 12:20 am, and then returned to the warmth of his hotel room. He was back on the lake about 8AM with North Dakota Governor Jack Dairymple who exclaimed “It’s cold, it’s windy, it’s icy. It must be a Minnesota fishing opener”. No information was available on how long that little excursion lasted.
Here in Thunder Bay, the last of the ice inside the “breakwall” is gone. Technically we can now land and take-off with our float planes… swimming?…not so much!
In Armstrong? – still ice.
Although this coming weekend is our official opener, it is unlikely the ice will be gone. In the interest of our guest’s comfort and our ability to offer premier fishing experiences we keep a close eye on the weather/environmental conditions. Unfortunately Mother Nature doesn’t always cooperate; however, the weather warming up next week should make for an awesome weekend. Next weeks guests will be the first to arrive at their chosen destination – along with our staff- to start off the 2013 fishing season. From past experience we know that anglers who fish at ice out (or just after) often find shallow water angling productive, for both big hungry Pike and Walleye seeking anything to eat after spawn. This time of year belongs to the hardy, serious fishermen making it worthwhile to tolerate the conditions.
Let me close with three important lessons learned from this year’s Walleye Opener:
~No matter what we print on our calendar… Mother Nature decides the opener !
~No matter how uncomfortable those life jackets are, keep ‘em on… ten minutes in our cold early spring lakes is about all you’ve got before hypothermia gets you.
~There is still nothing quite like the pure, wilderness experience of Ontario’s fly in lakes. No fighting for fishing spots, no congested ramps, no crowded lakes… no kidding.
We would love to book a trip for you and you family, or group of friends, and we still have openings for this season. Contact our trip planners to book your next wilderness getaway today.
As always its great to hear from you. Send me an email or post a comment on my blog.