Updated May 2012
Click on the following headline for information on the 2012 Fishing Opener Survival Guide.
Minnesota Fishing Opener 2011 story below
Fishing is an important part of Minnesota’s culture. As the open water fishing season got under way on Saturday, May 14, it’s time for the area to gear up for 2011 with a few tips and tricks for finding fish.
Maple Grove Patch spoke with both local and statewide fishermen to find out what you need to know this summer. From baits to prime locations, these fishermen hope to help you find success when you hit the water.
Perhaps the most important advice?
“You’ve got to look around,” said Brian Brosdahl of Max, MN, who owns Bro’s Guide Service. “When you enjoy what you’re doing, the fish bite when you least expect it.”
Fishing Maple Grove
Doug Benson began fishing 45 years ago growing up in Fridley. For the past 20 years while living in Maple Grove, he said he’s become a more serious fisherman.
Benson, 58, said is a good spot for pike fishing. He said he is familiar with walleye fishing on Medicine Lake in Plymouth.
Mark Johnson owns Johnson’s Bait & Tackle on the border of Plymouth and Maple Grove. He said his top spot to fish in the area is , mainly because of its fish variety.
“It’s got everything in it,” Johnson said. “Walleye, sunfish, crappie, perch. Very good lake, and it’s pretty well populated.”
Trust your bait shop
Brosdahl, who speaks at fishing seminars across the Midwest, said anglers of all ages and abilities should always look to their local bait shops for guidance in the area.
The shops will have advice on where to go and how to attempt catching the fish of your choice.
“These are place we don’t want to see disappear,” Brosdahl said. “They want your business. They’ll let you know where to go and what’s hottest in the area.”
When heading to the lake, Brosdahl said his biggest advice is always bring enough bait.
“Don’t hold back on bait,” Brosdahl said. “It’s your best asset.”
Best bet for bait
Johnson said leaches, fatheads and sometimes shiners are best for catching walleyes. Later in the year, he said he uses crawlers and leaches.
For northern pike, Johnson’s choice is using sucker minnows as well as spoons and spinners.
“Every lake has it own personality,” Brosdahl said. “But when I go fishing I always have minnows and leaches. Right now I load up on minnows.”
Best fishing depth
It’s important to know at what depth fish are swimming while fishing. Brosdahl said it depends on the type of fish you are seeking.
“This is key for this time of year—just know that most of your fish you’re seeking, walleye or panfish, are near shoreline areas,” Brosdahl said. “Not necessarily really shallow, but a depth of six to 12 feet. That’s where most of your fish are right now.”
Johnson said his best advice for fishing Maple Grove’s lakes is to try the weed edges.
“Generally weed edges is the key for walleye,” Johnson said.
Checking a lake map or an online depth map is a good start for finding where the lake reaches those depths.
Maple Grove lake access points
The city of Maple Grove’s website gives a detailed list of the city’s lake access and availability.
Cedar Island Lake: 6 a.m.-11 p.m.—Access at Cedar Island Shores Park. There is on street parking only
Eagle Lake: Open 24 hours—Access at 6861 Magda Drive. Parking for 13 vehicles with trailers only. Vehicles without trailers can use the Woodcrest Neighborhood Park at 11067 63rd Ave. N.
Fish Lake: Sunrise to 10 p.m.—Access at Bass Lake Road and Fish Lake Regional Lake park. Parking for 12 vehicles with trailers only.
Rice Lake: 6 a.m.-11 p.m.—Access at 9401 Fernbrook Lane N. Parking for 56 vehicles without trailers, and the access is directly off the parking lot.
Weaver Lake: 6 a.m.-11 p.m.—Access at 8591 Co. Road 101. Parking for 10 vehicles with trailers. Weaver Lake Community Park is located on the southwest side of the lake.