The hunting and fishing purgatory of March? No such thing

The good news is that winter will be around for quite some time.

The bad news is the same.

Welcome to winter purgatory. One of the best times of the year to get outdoors because most people are content to sit it out.

Fishing licenses expired Feb. 28 and most people don’t renew them until the eve of the fishing opener. Inland waters walleye fishing ended last Sunday. Fish houses and portable fish houses must be off the ice soon as well: March 4 on waters south of Highway 2 and March 18 on waters north of that line.

Turkey season doesn’t start up until mid-April around the same time as the regular stream trout opener.

Most hunters and anglers only tend to venture out to visit shindigs like the Outdoor News Deer & Turkey Classic March 8-10 and the Northwest Sportshow March 21-24. Otherwise, the couch or easy chair is the place to be while the television set is tuned to one of the many hunting or fishing shows.

All of that is why this is a great time to get out there. The crowds have dispersed and some of the best opportunities to be had prevail. It’s bucket list time. We are living in unpredictable times, and the months of March and April are the most unpredictable of all.

Minnesota’s jumbo perch lakes are about to enter what, in my opinion, is the greatest fishing opportunity of the year. Bluegill and crappie lakes are also great in late winter through the ice. Catch a bunch, release almost all of them, and take home a fresh meal.

Stream trout anglers who have never tried the southeastern catch-and-release season might want to try it. Watch the ice ledges along the sides of the creeks but soak in the silence of a slowly slinking stream before the spring melt floods them.

Someday soon the snow will begin melting, and snow geese will fill the skies. Waterfowlers who haven’t tried this hunt might want to follow the scouting reports as they move north. The action is hot and heavy once it strikes.

Fill the gas tank and drive north until the Canadian border shows up on the GPS, then keep on driving. Border waters are open to ice fishing for a long time and offer terrific angling. Whether you want to chase giant pike on the ice near where rivers flow into lakes, or venture onto a quiet lake trout lake, trophy ice fishing in March (and even April) is an exhilarating experience. Just remember that ice is beginning to weaken and two feet of ice isn’t as strong as it used to be!

There’s more. Shed hunting, turkey scouting, foraging, and birding are all good excuses to cancel the cable subscription and let the couch remain unfilled. Bring the kids, bring the dog, and bring your husband along for the experience.

Surprises abound when you step out of your comfort zone.

Categories: Ron Hustvedt

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