After a cold and rainy spring, many (self included) are eagerly awaiting the start of the 2011 fishing opener that gets underway across the state this Saturday. The next few days of continued bad weather will offer the perfect opportunity to re-spool, check batteries and tire pressure and to make sure everything is ready for one of the most anticipated weekends of the year. Before I get in trouble, I should also remind people to get out those Mother Day Cards before things get going.
Many opportunities will be available in the Tomahawk area. Here's two anglers might want to take advantage of:
The walleye bite on area flowages was particularly strong this past weekend. Some males caught were still milking, but the run is likely coming to a close as water temperatures continue to warm. Areas that should continue to produce are around dams, trestles and bridges on area waters. Also, try just downstream from the dams and other areas where the walleyes spawn, as these spots can also hold the recovering females that will resume feeding a few days after spawning. Some nice 18 to 20-inch walleyes were also caught last weekend that were already spawned out. Keep things simple with a hook and sinker or jig tipped with a fathead. Last weekend we caught dozens of walleyes in the middle of the day. Low light areas like right before and after dark are also good times.
Another possibility to take advantage of this weekend is the great trout fishing that exists in the greater Tomahawk area. The trophy waters of the Prairie River or area stocked lakes are just a few places to check out - remember a special DNR trout stamp is needed to fish inland rivers. One bit of advice is to try these waters a little later in the day, as the warming water will often produce more active fish and most of the angling pressure from earlier in the day will have passed. All smaller feeder creeks currently have plenty of water in them, so check the DNR's listing and give one a shot. Just keep in mind they could go the other way depending on rain and be overflowing banks this weekend.
All area waters are ice free, the walleyes are biting, the migratory birds have returned and the opener is finally upon us. Despite the snow falling outside this morning, I think its pretty safe to say we are at spring's doorstep. Remember to only take what you need and put the rest back for seed. Good luck to everyone heading out this week and for the opener. Be safe, have fun and enjoy your Northwoods opener.