Happy Fishing Opener to all of you that made it out! I hope you shared many laughs and caught whoppers on your opening fishing excursions! Friday night marked a tradition for my crew. Mike, Sean and I got together and grilled burgers and brauts before it all kicked off at Midnight. Also to join us, and new to the group was Mitch Petrie - a first timer when it comes to the midnight opening start. We rolled into our hopeful spot at about 11:00 and played the waiting game. We were surprised at how comfortable it was on the water. There was no wind or rain, and it was pretty warm. Well, that was until about 11:30 when mother nature dropped the classic opening fishing cold front. Brrr! It instantly dropped several degrees, and the wind came up so strong that it almost knocked us out of the boat. All a guy can do is laugh, because that's what happens every single year on the opener. The forecast called for it, and we got it!
Our Midnight opener was a tough one to say the least. When we packed it in around 3:00AM we only had one walleye to show for our efforts. Lucky enough, it was the new guy that hauled it in. Mitch bagged himself his first ever midnight walleye - and a nice 21 incher to boot! From the reports, he might have been the only lucky guy to catch one that night. Nice job Mitch!
While the tough conditions slowed the bite down, it certainly didn't slow down our efforts. We dropped off Mitch, and picked up Doug for the next part. We were quickly on our way to lake Minnetonka for the day. Back on the water before the sun rose greeted us with a stiff north wind and tough conditions. We accepted that this was how it was going to be for the day, and got down to business. Since a guy can't pre-fish for the opener, it took us a little bit to find them. About an hour into our morning I finally got on the board. Mike followed me up minutes later, and quickly we had two in the jar. I followed him up with one more dandy 24 incher as the sun rose, and that was it. The light switch had shut off on that spot and we had to move. The next spot was much the same. We found the fish and caught a few, but they were sure being difficult. We could physically see them in the clear water, but they would hardly touch a thing. The ones we did catch however were really nice, averaging about 23- 25 inches. Breakfast and a nap were in order, so we did just that.
After our break we again moved to a new lake to try our luck. Lake number 3 greeted us with yet another new bite. This time it was a crankbait bite instead of live bait. I just love getting them on crankbaits whenever possible. We didn't slam 'em, but had enough action to keep us busy for a bit. We added a couple more to the livewell before we headed out. Our fish fry was growing in size, and our success level kept rising. To fish three different lakes in one day is pretty darn cool. To catch walleyes on them in the toughest of conditions is even cooler. Our minds were made up that we were going to fish the big school that we found earlier that day, so we headed back to our spot on Lake Minnetonka with high hopes. The fish were still there, but not all that active. We moved on and caught a few from a couple of different spots. Our evening ended there as we accepted our need for sleep.
Before it was all said and done, we fished three lakes with success. A pretty rare thing to do on opening day, but it was fun. We never sat still for very long, and mixed up our techniques. We caught our walleyes on everything from Jig and minnow, slip bobber, crankbaits and lastly but most importantly, the infamous T-rig. We managed enough for our opening day walleye fry, and threw back several that were too large for our liking. The largest for the weekend topped out at just over 28 inches, and was caught by yours truly. While the weather was cold again this year, we made the most of it, and I am considering it another great opener. To hear everything from our opening weekend excursions as well as a few others around the state, tune in tonight at 8:00PM on WCCO 830. Mike Max and I will be in studio talking about the fishing opener and how it all went down in Minnesota. Until then, Keep on Livin' the Dream!