Guest Blog post by: Nik Dimich, Dimich Outdoors
Getting ready for the Minnesota Fishing Opener is something that we all need to take the time to do to ensure we are ready for the boat landing. Tick, tick, tick…even though fishing opener is fast approaching, there is still time to make sure everything is ready before you get to the boat ramp. Here are several tips to help your first day fishing be successful all the way up to setting the hook and that part is completely up to you!
Because of the late ice out (remember 2013?) there again might be a good chance some docks may not be in at some public accesses. What this will do is put more people at the accesses that are open.
To alleviate some stress, here are a few things to help you land your boat. One is to bring hip or chest waders, as you might have to go in the water. Having a launch line connected to your boat is also invaluable after you launch your boat, especially if you don’t like to climb in the boat and be backed into the water to unload. If you don’t mind, having someone back you in is a very good idea. That way you can get out of other people’s way while they launch. Just be sure to have everything in your boat prior to launch in. Nobody likes to see a boat being loaded at the ramp as they wait in line.
Another good idea is to wrap your launch line around your boat’s spindle a couple times. This will hold your boat in place while you detach your trailer strap line and safety chain. Just make sure the boat and trailer is backed all the way into the water before unlatching anything, especially if it’s on a roller trailer. Remember, the heavier the boat the easier they roll and be sure to remember to PUT YOUR PLUG IN and tilt up your motor. It’s more fun to fish in a boat than a submarine. Glug, glug, glug means there is no plug!
To battle invasive species from spreading and help protect our fishing lakes for future generations there are a few things, both legally and ethically, that need to be done before leaving the landing after a day of fishing. Minnow transportation from lake to lake in your boat’s livewells is no longer legal. Also, all minnows and other live bait must be dumped at the landing’s dumpsites; this is also where you put aquatic plants that get caught on your trailer and motor and must be removed.
If there isn’t a designated dump station then discard minnows and aquatic plants on the ground and not in the lake. If you do wish to transport any minnows or live bait, be sure to carry an extra cooler or an aero-rated bucket in your truck that is filled with water from a well or city water, but not from the lake. You must also drain all water from your boat’s livewells and bait containers and be sure to pull the plug on your boat. Again, all water must be drained from your boat.
While being on the water after a long winter’s hiatus is always nice, a bent rod and screaming drag make it all the more enjoyable. If you do get into a nice bite and I hope you do, don’t get so caught in the action that you forget once you reach your boat’s possession limit, you may not fish for that specie anymore. There is no “culling” once the possession limit is reached. Before it is reached, you may cull fish if it is done in a timely matter of returning the fish back to the water. “Culling” fish is the act of releasing a fish to keep another. Again, fish must be returned to the water in a timely matter. Also, when releasing a fish be sure to ease that fish back into the water. You can actually be ticketed for tossing back a fish high in the air. And make sure you don’t keep a slot fish just because it might die. Like conservation officer once told me, it’s all part of nature, nothing is wasted and the “good Samaritan” ruse of “not wasting a fish” won’t work.
To help you catch all those fish, I highly recommend buying new line to start the season and re-spool each one of your fishing reels before going out. Even though it might be a bit cheaper to spool your own, the professional spooling at bait shops and sporting goods stores/departments is much tighter.
Also be sure to check rod tips and eye for cracks or breakage that could sheer the fishing line once you set the hook. When getting minnows, be sure to bring all sizes, as with the cold water you never know how active the fish will be. Also try different sized jigs and vary your jigging motion and speed until you find what works. Usually colder water means a slower presentation.
Have fun and be courteous at the landings and on the water. It’s been a long winter. Help people out rather than criticize. Bring and wear your life jackets. Have a throwable seat cushion (life jackets and bumper buoys don’t count). Buy a 2014-fishing license. Leave the required sized skin patch on when transporting cleaned fish (panfish are the only fish that do not need a patch for transportation). Remember your daily limit remains the same regardless if you eat some for shorelunch. For almost all species the daily and possession limits are the same; perch are the only fish that have an increased possession and that is 20 per day and 40 in possession.
Be safe, watch out for ice bergs and, if you can, take a kid along. We hope you found these tips from the pro in getting ready for Minnesota fishing opener helpful. If you need any more information, to please contact us here at Visit Grand Rapids as “We Are In Minnesota’s Nature.” Our fishing is great, but that is only the tip of the iceberg, we have something for everyone in the family. Bring the entire family, from grandparents to the little tykes. You won’t be disappointed. www.visitgrandrapids.com or call us at 1-800-355-9740
Have fun fishing.
Nik Dimich is a fulltime, year round Grand Rapids, MN and Lake Winnie area fishing guide and outdoor communicator. To book a trip or media event, please contact him at www.DimichOutdoors.com or “like” Dimich Outdoors and Nik and Becca’s Outdoor Promotions on Facebook.