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Opener 2010: Weather wasn't

They don't get much bigger than this. Ted Bergerson, a Dent angler trying his luck at the Zorbaz bridge on Little Pine, pulled in this 11-inch sunfish.1 / 2
Warren Henderson, displaying a plump crappie he pulled from Little Pine.2 / 2

Weather and fishing, two favorite Minnesota topics of conversation.

In the East Otter Tail lake country fishing opener weekend, there was more talk about the weather than fishing-or at least catching.

"The weather was perfect...the fishing wasn't," said Scott Joki, a Plymouth angler who spent Saturday on Little Pine with a multi-boat group of nine. They caught four walleyes among them-one of them a dandy 24-inch specimen.

"Really, last weekend should have been the opener it was freezing, it was snowing," said Joki. Now, that kind of weather is a typical Minnesota opener.

May 15-16 were the nicest opener days in years.

The unusually warm April, followed by winter-like conditions the week prior to the opener, confused the walleyes and baffled the fisherpeople.

"The fish spawned so early, during April, and then the water temperature dropped by 10 degrees the first week of May," said Tom Adamczyk, owner of Gene's Sports Shop in Perham.

Just wait until next week, said Adamczyk. With warming water temps, the walleyes will be active.

"The cold weather and rain last week shut tem down, said Todd Joki, pulling in his boat at the Little Pine access after a slow weekend. "But it will pick up next weekend."

Over at the Zorbaz bridge, where shore fishermen often stand elbow to elbow on the opener, things were slow as well.

Mike Korby of Big Lake, fishes the bridge almost every opener. He and his sons pulled in a few northern pike but no walleyes. Korby's mom is Rose Korby, a Perham Resident.

Korby was out by midnight on Friday, and saw a couple walleyes pulled in but that was about it until mid-morning Saturday.

For Rachel Danielson, Perham, fishing the bridge was "a little frustrating," since she had a line in the water by 5:30 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday but had only a couple sunfish to show for her efforts. "I thought there would be a little more action," she said.

"It's slow, but it's a beautiful day so who cares," said Ted Bergerson, Dent, who was fishing the shore on Little Pine. He tried the Otter Tail River near Frazee on Saturday, pulling in a half-dozen northerns-including a four-pounder.

On Little Pine, he pulled in a monster sunfish.

"You see 9 inch sunnies, but it's rare to see an 11 incher," said Bergerson, displaying a sunfish as wide as the mouth of his five-gallon pail. He also had a 10-inch crappie.

Warren Henderson from Perham also pulled in a nice crappie from the shores of Little Pine.

He's anticipating good fishing ahead.

"If the temperatures stay in the 80s, it should be good fishing next weekend," said Henderson.

Overall, the best opener reports came out of Big Pine Lake, said Adamczyk, Gene's Sports Shop.

"But they were really scattered, " said Adamczyk, noting the walleyes were anywhere from 6 to 22 feet below the water.

Otter Tail Lake was slow, said Adamczyk, as was Little Pine-based on the reports coming into his shop. Shiners were the best bait for opener, he added.