As we head into the month of March, open water fishing has just started. No more ice fishing, dragging portable shacks around and drilling holes.
Here are some options for spring anglers wanting to get out well before the Minnesota inland opener.
Mississippi River (Red Wing)
I cut my teeth on walleyes on this stretch of the river and for action, it can’t be beat.
I have a tough time dealing with the crowds, especially on weekends. If you want to just get the boat out and check out your electronics, Red Wing is a good option.
Missouri River (South Dakota)
Fishing opened up on the river about two weeks ago. The spring bite on the Missouri River is second to none. The fish are plentiful and it’s an easy river to figure out.
The six-hour drive from the cities is a bit challenging but it’s well worth it. Shiner minnows are the key there in the spring and make a huge difference in your catches.
This is one of my favorite places to fish on the planet.
Rainy River (Baudette)
Probably the best place in the state for a trophy walleye in the spring.
It’s now a catch-and-release fishery as the big walleyes from 6 to 9 pounds are very common. I personally can’t stand the crowds as the accesses are limited and loaded with boats and trailers through April.
If you can stand the chaos, it’s a great place to be in March and April.
Steve Carney is an ECM outdoors columnist