Minnesota Fishing Report

What a refreshing stretch of warm weather we’ve had the past few days! All of a sudden, the lakes are passable. Public accesses that are located on the north side of lakes are quite easy to get through right now and the drifting and hard pack snow that have clogged south lying accesses are nearly open. With each passing day above the freezing mark, passage onto lakes gets easier. Now that we can enter lakes more freely, let the fishing begin. Since panfishing is slow right now, tullibee fishing has picked up in Otter Tail Lakes Country. With it’s great diversity of lake types and depths, the Ottertail lakes region offers great tullibee fishing. Tullibee are typically found suspended over deep holes; the easiest lakes are the ones that have limited amounts of deep areas. If there aren’t already tullibee anglers on the lake you’d like to try, then drill a set of holes across the deep water zone and then try a viewing search method with your Vexlar/Marcum etc. by simply placing the transducer in the hole and looking for “flash” signals. Because tullibee suspend over deep water (45ft–100ft), they will give themselves away on your electronics because the sonar cone from your unit is large in diameter at deep depths. If you don’t locate fish, don’t panic. Get your gear out and fish anyway. Fish 1/2 to 3/4 of the way to the bottom and if they are around the area you should be able to “call” them in with flasher lures and spoons. Most seasoned tullibee anglers sit and rapid-jig two lines simultaneously. Use small sunfish-type lures (tear drops, or tiny spoons) tipped with waxworms, and like fishing for any species, there are certain colors that work better then others so you might have to fine-tune. Other anglers like to use drop-line presentations, which consist of: a flasher-type lure without hooks (spoons like Dare Devils), a short leader of line under the flasher, and a hook and wax worm or a small tear-drop and wax worm. Tullibee are great to eat smoked and they fight like trout. If you don’t like smoked fish or have the means to smoke fish, then you can throw them back. Good luck ice fishing in Otter Tail Lakes County this spring.

Ross Hagemeister