The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Outdoors

March 24, 2014

Searching for spring -- and open water

(Continued)

But forget about launching the boat. “There’s still 15 inches of ice on the lake,” he said.

Further, with shoreline conditions quickly deteriorating, venturing out on the lake proper could be a dicey proposition. “I wouldn’t do it,” he said.

Instead, his business is mainly with the anglers who are savoring some pretty good walleye fishing on the ice-free Des Moines River that flows through Saylorville Reservoir.

So if you still insist on launching that boat to wet a line, even further south we must travel.

About 240 miles later, in Stoutsville in northeast Missouri, Wanda Turner was busy last week sprucing up ChiggerHill Bait and Tackle near Mark Twain Lake after locking it up last fall.

“We weren’t planning on opening until the next weekend, but the local fishing club called to tell me they were holding their crappie tournament this weekend,” she said. “The ice went out on the lake last week.”

“We had as much as 10 inches of ice on the big ponds around here so there was probably at least as much on the big lake,” she said, adding that having that much ice in northeast Missouri is rare indeed.

“It’s been a tough winter and having all of those 4- and 5-degree days we had is pretty unusual,” she added.

And when it comes to ice-fishing, an infrequent occurrence in her neck of the woods, discretion always is the better part of valor.

“A few people might venture out on some of the small coves to ice-fish but it’s not recommended,” Turner said, explaining that fluctuating water levels resulting from the operation of a power plant on Mark Twain Lake makes venturing on to the ice extremely hazardous, even in the coldest of winters.

And the fishing?

Too early to tell, she said. Last year, the crappie fishing, for which the lake is known, wasn’t all that good for a variety of reasons.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Outdoors
  • mfp sports jcross outdoor column 7-20 Chasing walleyes in South Dakota nice We slowed to a crawl the other day on the dusty Day County township road in northeast South Dakota, a courtesy to the farmer who was baling ditch hay south of Webster.Otherwise, we would have enveloped him as he drove his open tractor in the choking

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fishing report Outlook on area lakes

    July 6, 2014

  • Cross column: No wake, no fish ... no problems on the water Patience is always a virtue when fishing.

    July 6, 2014

  • Cross column: Where does the buck stop in your home?

    Displaying your trophy catch can be debatable

    June 29, 2014

  • Know Your Lakes: Series maps

    Missed out on the weekly lake preview Wednesday's in the print edition? That's ok, we have you covered here. View the series thus far and download a printable PDF.

    May 24, 2011

  • Storms came at horrible time for pheasants For pheasants and pheasant hunters, there were no silver linings to be found in the storm clouds that inundated the countryside with heavy rains this week.A foot of rain falling in just a week is never good, but for pheasants, it came at precisely th

    June 22, 2014

  • Early morning is beautifully lonely Benjamin Franklin was on to something when he extolled the benefits of "early to bed, early to rise." While I can't vouch for its effect on health, wealth or wisdom, rolling out of the sack certainly seems to pay dividends for outdoor activities. The

    June 15, 2014

  • mfp sports cross column 6-1 Cross: Take a kid fishing, no license needed A few years ago, while cruising with a co-worker through an area community on a steamy summer day, we passed a vacant lot. There, oblivious to the heat and humidity, a group of kids were playing a game of pick-up baseball, racing down well-worn paths

    June 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cross: Once upon a time, when fishing was simple... Once upon a time, fishing was a pretty simple affair. A rod-and-reel, some bait and tackle, perhaps a rowboat if you were lucky, and you were in business. While the basic premise of angling -- to catch fish -- remains, it sure seems to have grown mor

    May 25, 2014

  • mfp sports jcross opening day 2 Almost too nice to catch Leech Lake walleye LEECH LAKE -- Opening day of the Minnesota fishing season on Leech Lake arrived Saturday, cloudless and with nary a breath of wind. It was the nice weather one might expect all winter-weary anglers to embrace as we motored away from harbors, resorts

    May 11, 2014 2 Photos