Area fishermen can expect a good weekend for the fishing opener this Saturday and may have a lot of company from up north as well.
"Don't go north," said Doug Lage, conservation officer with the state Department of Natural Resources office in Marshall.
Some of lakes in the northern part of the state are still frozen, and while lake temperatures in this region are a little cool, the ice is gone and the fish are flourishing in the 55 to 57 degree water.
"It's going to be pretty decent, better than we anticipated," Lage said. "The docks are in the water, and we're ready."
According to Lage, Lake Sarah and Lake Benton ought to be hot spots in the area.
"It looks pretty good from Windom to Marshall," said Nate Hodgins, assistant area fisheries manager for the DNR office in Windom. "Lake Benton, Lake Shetek and Lake Sarah. Sarah is one of the lakes we don't have to restock, we haven't since the early 1990s.
For some reason the habitat is favorable to walleye reproduction. We don't know why."
For Lake Benton, formerly plagued with curly leaf pondweed, which in years past has choked the surface of the lake to the point boats could not navigate it, there is some good news for sportsmen.
On Tuesday, Lincoln County Environmental Administrator Robert Olsen told the county board he had examined Lake Benton and so far found no trace of the invasive weed.
Sportsmen need to be aware of the rules for preventing the spread of invasive species, such as curly leaf pondweed and zebra mussels.
"We just want to let people know last year was the last for warnings," Hodgins said. "This year if you're pulled over and have not pulled the plug on your boat, or are transporting water in your bait well or vegetation, that'll be considered a violation and you will get a ticket."
According to Hodgins, the DNR is considering setting up road stops to check for violations.
The DNR reminds anglers to dress warmly and wear life jackets. With the cooler water temperatures, the danger of exposure increases.