Thursday, June 17, 2010

Fishing Otter Tail County -- A Photo Essay

Fishing Otter Tail County -- A Photo Essay

Wherein your Intrepid Blogger Runs and Hides from Bad Weather in Northern Wisconsin to take Refuge with his In-Laws on Lake Otter Tail, Minnesota

How cold was it when I got to Northern Wisconsin? Would you believe 40 FREAKIN' DEGREES AT NIGHT??? Ridiculous. My brother takes the water temperature on our lake and on April 15 it was 73 degrees. The day I arrived it was 64 degrees and falling. Unbelievable. How cold was it? Check out the following photos:

The air temperature was so much colder than the water temp that it looked like a scene from a horror movie.

Why not add some 20 mph wind and rain to the 40 degree weather? Lovely fishing. Nothing I like better than October fishing in June.

We spent two freezing hours and only had a handful of fish to show for it, so we said screw it -- let's go find the better weather. My in-laws live on Otter Tail Lake in Northwestern Minnesota, where the weather was much, much warmer. So fair-weathered angler that we are, we packed and headed west.

We hit Otter Tail just in time to see the end of the walleye tournament. It seems most of the decent fish were taken early in the day, and the largest was a 6 1/2 pound female.

Weigh in at the Walleye Tournament on Otter Tail.

Boats coming in for final weigh-in at 3:00. Most fish were caught by 9:00 in the morning.

A six and a half pound walleye in the release pen.

After watching weigh-in, we hit the water with our guide Denny. We went after some trophy walleyes, as the weather was perfect--slight breeze, slight overcast, and about 70 degrees. An all around nice day and certainly a billion times better than fishing in the freezing cold in Wisconsin.

Your intrepid blogger getting ready to slam some walleyes.

Four hours later, this was the only fish -- a six inch perch. Sigh.

No fish. We fished hard, four rods in the boat, but nothing to show for it. As my dad says, sometimes you get the bear--sometimes the bear gets you.

Rather then chase walleyes all day, we returned back to home base, got in the pontoon, and decided to hit some wind shielded coves with our fly rods. We got a lot of 6-8 inch sunfish, including some really beautiful punkinseeds.

8 1/2 foot Heddon Mark I was perfect for fishing my favorite home made "jointed bass bug."

Close up of the beautiful 8" punkinseed with the "jointed bass bug" in its mouth.

Close up of the "jointed bass bug" lure. People are sometimes surprised the Punkinseeds will take a 2.5" bass bug, but they are like freshwater piranhas. This one came out of the water when it hit the bass bug.

The next morning we decided to fish the Otter Tail River, below the Phelps Mill dam. We brought out some different fly rods -- my fishing buddy Marc H. was fishing a nine foot Wright & McGill glass rod from the 1960s, and I was using my 7 foot bamboo.

Marc H. in action with his Wright & McGill.

Fishing the shore line of the Otter Tail River.

Me and my bamboo on a spillage tube.

Well, we got some fish on the River but decided to get back in the boat and search out some bass and crappie for our fly rods on Otter Tail Lake. The whole family hit the water and while it was a bit crowded with four fly rods going out at the same time, we managed to make it work.

Bamboo and crappies -- a fun afternoon!

Close up of a beautiful fly rod fish.

Ten year old daughter with a sunfish on a bamboo rod. Nothing better.

Marc H. with a 12" largemouth; we fished a lot of boat docks and got more than our share of bass between 8" and 14" long.

Even Grandpa Johnny got in the bamboo fun! Fishing bamboo is a family affair.

We hit the weedbeds off shore and switched to some bigger water rods. The daughter used an 8 1/2 foot graphite and was shocked she was able to take some fish!

Surprised daughter -- picking off Crappies in 12 feet of water!

Your author hooking and landing a 16" northern pike.

Marc H. got his own snake.

It was an awesome day of fishing even if the fish weren't the biggest in the world. With the weather warming, we had a fine dinner at Zorbaz on Otter Tail and hit the hay early, intent on a full day of fishing in the morrow.

In Part 2: Wherein Your Intrepid Author Gets In To Some Bass...

-- Dr. Todd

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