Gathering "intel"

In order to be successful in a new area, you have to put in your time on the water. (Submitted photo)

As I enter the first Spring fishing period here in my new location in the northwest part of Minnesota, I am patiently trying to learn the lakes as fast as possible and finding out there are wonderful, fish-filled lakes as well as the lakes that just don’t pan out. I try and fish about 3 to 5 lakes a week in between guiding gigs to try and build up a portfolio of viable lakes. It’s all about “trial and error” and you take the successes with the failures.

The one thing I have learned is that the fishing pressure here in the northwest is nothing like the five county metro where I spent the majority of my guiding career. It’s very refreshing to be the only trailer at an access and more refreshing not to have to do battle with 20 boats fishing a particular hot spot.

I have learned to also keep an eagle eye on the lake accesses and monitor the boats and trailers I see. There are a lot of North Dakota cabin people up here and I watch where they fish and you can learn a lot from observing the boats and trailers from cabin people because they have been around a long time and know the lay of the land.

The bottom line is you have to hit the water and experiment on your own. Everyone up here keeps a tight lip and fishing information is almost impossible to gather, you have to get it on your own time. I figure in another season or two I will have a pretty good foundation and collection of viable lakes… it just takes time!

Jeff Weaver is an outdoorsman and columnist.

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