Publisher’s Perspective

By Tim Douglass, Publisher of the Pope County Tribune

It was nice to see all the activity in Glenwood and Starbuck on Friday.  The highways were busy and many vehicles were pulling boats and pontoons on their way to area lakes.

It is the unofficial start of the summer season with the opening of the Minnesota Fishing season for walleye and pike.  And, of course, bass fisherman can target bass but it is catch-and-release only for the next two weeks.

Walleyes are the main target of most anglers on opening weekend, although if you fish almost any lake in Pope County, panfish and crappie will be biting.

A friend of mine sent me a photo of a mess of nice-sized crappies he had caught last Thursday.  The caption said an old Bohemian fisherman once said:  “When the dandelions are blooming, the crappies are booming.”

The crappies caught that day proved that adage true because the dandelions were out in force around the area.

Anglers in this area enjoyed a perfect opening day, weather-wise.  The fishing, I was told, was slow in the morning, but picked up as the wind picked up later.  I was able to get out on Minnewaska later on Saturday and enjoyed the weather and even caught a few fish.  Typically, Lake Minnewaska is better a week or two after the opener, but the early ice-out and cooler spring temperatures meant the spawn was over and indicated a good walleye bite.  Many anglers agreed and were out in force, with most of the boat landings in the area packed with trailers and people landing their boats for the day on the water.

A bit darker day, however, would have helped because the water was very clear and water temperatures meant fish still wanted to be shallow.  The walleyes caught and the ones I saw caught all seemed to be well above the 15-inch size.  Many anglers caught walleyes in the 20-inch range, and only one of those is allowed per angler.

The pike were a bit of a nuisance but its always fun to catch one, despite the size.  They hit hard and fight like you have a rocket on your hook.

We will get a full report from area anglers and bait shops for next week’s Tribune & Times, but if the weather continues to cooperate, getting out on the lakes in the Pope County area and doing some angling is well worth the effort.  And if you’re going, don’t forget to target crappies or panfish, they’re plentiful and biting.

Trout anyone?

A recent addition to the area is the opportunity to fish for trout in Spruce Creek, northeast of Alexandria, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Since 2019, catchable-size brown and rainbow trout have been stocked annually into Spruce Creek by the Viking Sportsmen and Minnesota DNR. Shore fishing is available in Spruce Hill County Park. In 2023, more than 3,000 trout were stocked into Spruce Creek.