By Mike Max

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s almost here. The annual Minnesota walleye opener kicks off Saturday.

We begin our series preparing for the elements, and this year, at least last month, there were plenty of elements.

We don’t seem that far removed from this: Ice fishing. We’re certainly not far removed from this: The April blizzard, which created a fishing panic.

“Very bad thoughts. I’m thinking this is the worst possible thing,” Fishing Guide Steve Carney said. “I thought it was just going to kill us.”

That’s what makes it remarkable to be on the water surrounded by green. The water temperatures have changed.

“Now things just went nuts. I mean we’ve had 70s and 80s, water temperatures kicked up like 20 degrees,” Carney said. “It’s really changed fast.”

If you do go north, don’t think a lake is safe if only some of the ice is gone and there is open water.

“People think that well the ice is off the lake, let’s go fishing. But you have to keep in mind that water is probably 34, 33 degrees so you’re dealing with very cold water, very sluggish fish,” Carney said. ‘It’s a safety thing too. Just because you see half the lake open and half with ice, there’s still chunks floating around that you’re going to end up dodging.”

Wherever you journey, go shallow where the water is warmer. And know what shallow means.

“Well it depends on the lake you’re fishing. What the maximum depth is., what the oxygen levels are, how deep the oxygen goes,” Carney said. “On some lakes, shallow is 12 feet and one some lakes it’s 2 feet.”

And if you have a choice, hit a small lake versus a big one.

“It’s not going to be typical with people scattered like they usually are. I think it’s going to be pretty darn busy,” Carney said.

Mike Max

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