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Otter Tail County lakes should be active this weekend

From the number of gleaming eyes he has seen at night while electrofishing, Jim Wolters does not expect walleye anglers to be too unhappy this weekend when they open the fishing season on Otter Tail County lakes.

The Department of Natural Resources fisheries manager knows a lot of walleyes are right where they are supposed to be at this time of the year - on the flats.

Wolters, who works out of the DNR's office in Fergus Falls, believes anglers should find walleyes chasing perch and shiner minnows in the shallows, which is typical early season behavior for Minnesota state fish.

Wolters and his fisheries crew finished their walleye egg stripping operation on the Dead River April 26. Once they recover, walleyes generally go into a strong feeding pattern.

"The females that have spawned are going to be pretty active," Wolters said.

Wolters also feels anglers will benefit from the weather, which has been more spring-like this year.

"It isn't like last year or the year before," Wolters said. "We're ahead of the game."

So where will the competition be?

"We're going to see a lot of pressure on Otter Tail, Rush and the Pine lakes but there are other lakes too," Wolters said.

Warmer water temperatures trigger feeding and the DNR has already been operating on lakes in the 50-55 degree range.

Wolters expects panfish to provide anglers with a good opening weekend alternative to walleye hunting. Northern pike are early spawners and are expected to be active as well.