The sun was shining but opening day had a chill in the air that forced my crew to return home to add another layer of clothing. Devil Track Lake was ice covered only three short days prior to the fishing opener on Saturday, and the occasional miniature iceberg floating around the lake made it feel more like the Bering Sea than an inland lake in Minnesota.
Fishing was slow, to say the least, with water temperatures in the lower 40s and very little cloud cover until later that afternoon. We caught one small walleye in the morning then struggled to find any fish until the wind picked up and the clouds rolled in around 4 p.m.
Walleyes typically feed better in lower light conditions created by either wind, clouds, or the time of day. Walleye use their excellent vision and keen sense of vibration to locate and capture prey during these favorable feeding conditions. The bite improved with the afternoon clouds and we managed to land a dozen edible walleyes before 6 p.m.—not too shabby.
The lakes and rivers are slightly lower than normal, likely due to the lack of precipitation, which can create poor spawning conditions for walleye that use the current to lay their eggs each spring. There is some rainfall in our forecast this week, which will help “green-up” the woods and curb any wildfires—if the forecast is accurate—but too late to aid the spawn since it has likely already happened in most lakes.
Trees have begun sprouting leaves and the grass is slowly turning from brown to green while spring transforms to summer. Mosquitoes are buzzing, peeper frogs are peeping, and sun-soaked snowbirds are trickling in from Florida or Arizona to enjoy another summer in Cook County.