The Free Press, Mankato, MN


March 24, 2014

Searching for spring -- and open water


“But the experts who really know the lake are predicting a great year. We hope so.”

Now, 500 miles is a long way to drive to float your boat, all to wet a line.

Understandably, with gas closing in at the better part of four bucks, you might like to find some winter relief a bit closer to home.

Look no further than Red Wing, a mere 90 miles eastward, where downstream from the dam, Pool 4 of the Mississippi River is ice-free and the walleye season never closes.

“The fishing has been decent,” said angler Luke Bollum, who has made several trips to the river during the past several weeks.

The avid angler who also works in the fishing department at Scheel’s in Mankato said that he and some fishing buddies have managed to boat a good number of walleyes by jigging vertically with minnows.

“But the area has been getting a lot of pressure right now,” he said. “Get a 40 degree day and you might have 150 boats out there.”

But hey, having a little company out there is not really a problem, is it?

To finally be able to float a boat, wet a line? Call it a party, a celebration of spring.

And as with any party, the more, the merrier.

John Cross is a Free Press staff writer. Contact him at (507) 344-6376 or by e-mail at

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • mfp sports-jc outdoor column-7-27 Singing the praises of the prairie When pioneers first traveled through Minnesota, they marveled at the seemingly endless, inland sea of tall grass prairie that greeted them.It is estimated more than 18 million acres of grasslands stretched from the southeast to the northwest corners

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • 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

  • 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

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

    Displaying your trophy catch can be debatable

    June 29, 2014

  • 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