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Walleye, Northern season to open

Staff photo by Clay Schuldt Three days before the Minnesota fishing opener, an angler fishes near the Minnecon boat landing on the Minnesota River.

NEW ULM — Fishing enthusiasts taking to the water for the walleye, northern and sauger fishing opener on Saturday, May 9, should pack some cool weather gear with an early morning temperature forecast in the 30s.

Bring some rain gear too. Afternoon temperatures could reach the high 50s with scattered showers.

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) outdoor recreational guidelines urge people to only put people of the same household in the same boat, maintain six-feet social distances, stay close to home, not stay overnight, bring all needed supplies with them and only travel as far as they can travel and return on a single tank of fuel, or a single electrical vehicle charge.

Francis Rieger, owner of R & R Bait & Tackle, 1405 N. Broadway, New Ulm, predicts Minnesota River fishing to be “fantastic.”

“People pre-fishing the river tell me they’re getting walleyes,” Rieger said.

You could call the river the super bowl of fishing variety.

The DNR Minnesota River fishing outlook says the river provides excellent fishing for channel and flat head catfish, sauger, walleye and white bass. In addition, occasional crappie, northern pike, small mouth bass, buffalo and common carp, freshwater drum (sheep head), gar, red horse and shovel nose sturgeon are caught.

Rieger said a good number of people have been fishing Lake Hanska near the beach, Clear Lake south of Gibbon, Lake Crystal, and lakes in and around St. James, Tracy, and Hutchinson.

Rieger said he believes fishing interest is good.

“I’ve had guys calling me about wax worms and coming from as far away as Marshall, St. James and St. Peter,” Rieger said.

“I think leaches will be popular bait now. Even jumbo leaches, which I have. Night crawlers are popular too,” Francis said.

The DNR reported that Hutchinson area lakes offer great bass fishing and that Preston Lake in Renville County produced a nice walleye spread in last summer’s gill net survey. Walleyes averaged 17.2 inches long and 14.3 walleyes were caught per gill net.

The DNR reported there should be no shortage of pike in St. James Lake with 17.2 per gill net in 2017 and strong, natural reproduction.

For more information, visit https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/fishing/outlooks

Fritz Busch can be emailed at fbusch@nujournal.com.

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