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Fishing around Minnesota has been lively

Fishing has been excellent this season and snagging a fishing license opens the door to fishing opportunities throughout the state, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

"Go ahead, fill your weekends with lawn mowing and household chores but don't say we didn't warn you how good the fishing has been," said Jenifer Wical, marketing coordinator with the DNR's Outreach Section. "We've heard that anglers have enjoyed a great bite so far and you too can seize the opportunity to have fun fishing this summer."

Here's more about how fishing has been so far this season from DNR fisheries managers.

Northwest region

Fishing in the northwest region during the early season has been excellent, particularly on the large walleye lakes like Upper Red, Leech, Cass and Lake of the Woods, according to Henry Drewes, northwest region fisheries manager.

Cool water temperatures in the low to mid-60s prolonged the good spring walleye bite. Bass and sunfish were in the shallows recently as they completed their spawning season.

"Resorts have been reporting a good start to the tourist season and the bait stores and public accesses are busy," Drewes said. "Lots of folks out enjoying good fishing!"

Northeast region

In the northeast region, fishing improved along with warming temperatures in the far northern waters. Many natural walleye lakes in the southern part of the region are enjoying an excellent 2013 year class of walleye providing 12- to 16-inch fish, according to Chris Kavanaugh, northeast region fisheries manager.

"Farther north, the 2012 and even 2011 year classes are good and providing fish the same size. Bass and panfish action has picked up in many areas and smallmouth bass fishing in the Grand Marais area has been very good," Kavanaugh said.

There are also many trout fishing opportunities available, from lake trout on Lake Superior to stream trout in North Shore streams and many inland lakes, as well as opportunities for muskellunge on several waters.

Central region

In the central region, water levels on the St. Croix and Mississippi rivers began dropping toward summer levels, which means good fishing for walleye, sauger, smallmouth bass and white bass.

"The fishing is excellent in the central region," said Brad Parsons, central region fisheries manager. "Walleye and smallmouth bass fishing has been terrific on Mille Lacs Lake. Northern pike and largemouth bass action is fast along the vegetation borders of metro area lakes and northward."

Fast fishing action has followed warming water temperatures and the start of bluegill spawning.

"Consider harvesting selectively and returning some of those big bluegills to the water to maintain the population balance," Parsons said.

There are also opportunities to fish for truly large fish, especially in the larger rivers. The catch-and-release season for lake sturgeon re-opened on June 16, and summer is prime time for Minnesota's biggest predator fish, flathead catfish.

Southern region

"Fishing in southwestern Minnesota has been terrific and most anglers are very satisfied," said Jack Lauer, southern region fisheries manager. "In general, with the warmer temperatures the fishing has really picked up."

Near the Ortonville Area, crappies have been biting on Lac qui Parle Lake with numerous limits being taken. Most fish have been around 12 inches. Artichoke and Traverse lakes have been very good for walleyes. Fishing for larger freshwater drum has been excellent on Artichoke. East Oliver Lake has been providing good catches of smallmouth bass. Big Stone Lake has been providing some decent fishing for bluegills and largemouth bass.

Fast walleye action was expected with the warming temperatures in the deeper lakes (Diamond, Eagle, Nest, Florida and Green lakes near Spicer). Panfish action has been really good for both nice-sized crappie and bluegill in many lakes from Waterville to Spicer. Largemouth bass fishing is always good with 6-plus pounders commonly caught in lakes such as Long (near Willmar), East Solomon, Diamond, Florida and Eagle. If you like to fish for smallmouth try Eagle, Nest, Koronis or Green lakes.

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