Ducks liked the rainy weather over opener

By Bill Bartusek

The weather was for the ducks! The weather was rainy and windy, as duck hunters headed out for the opener.

Over the past few years, the duck opener has been slow. Low duck numbers and bluebird skies were usually to blame. This year, things should be different.

Reports indicate that duck numbers are up quite considerably. In the northern part of the state, the drought had a silver lining. Rice crops were much better then normal because of the low water. Finally, the weather was for the ducks! This kind of weather keeps ducks flying low and in the range of waiting hunters.

I haven't gotten any early results as to the success of area hunters, but I will say, there was a lot more gunfire this weekend in comparison to years past. Whether they were more successful remains to be seen.

As I fished, I saw quite a few ducks flying around. They were low,

and they were flying in a big hurry!

Fall fishing continues to be very good. Lakes all across Minnesota are rising because of the recent rains. Many are at or above the levels they were at this spring. While the lakes were low, weed growth increased. Now the water has risen over these weeds. Bass and pike have moved into these areas to feed on small fish, creating a great scenario for anglers.

Armed with spinnerbaits and crankbaits, anglers can catch these fish quite regularly. I hit the water with two of my neighbors, and we boated a lot of pike and some big bass. The walleye have moved shallow too!

As we drove by Lake Mille Lacs, you could see the boats much closer to shore than they were just a couple of weeks ago. Panfish are hitting too, although they are a bit more difficult to find at this time. They are also a bit sluggish, because the water has cooled to approximately 59 degrees. They aren't biting as aggressively as they did during the summer.

Congratulations to my sons Bill and Joseph who caught more than 17 pounds of bass last Saturday on Lake Waconia. This was enough to place second in the Fishers of Men bass contest.

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