Southwest MN Sailor June 2022

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June 2022

FREE Your Summer Guide to Southwest Minnesota!

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2 – SOUTHWEST SAILOR, JUNE 2022

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PUTTING THE ‘TEE’ IN Jake Erickson’s new business opens up a whole new world for golfers Any golfers’ bucket list undoubtedly includes walking among the azaleas and dogwoods at Augusta and taking on Amen Corner. For most, that will never happen. That’s where Jake Erickson comes in. Erickson, a 2011 Murray County Central graduate, last year opened his Golf on Broadway Golf Simulator Bar in downtown Slayton, which is home to two golf simulators where golfers of any skill level can play Augusta, or any one of dozens of nationally-known links across the country. Broadway Golf is one of two businesses Erickson owns, and this one plays off one of his true passions of golf and also allows him to continue his love affair with the sport. “They didn’t have a golf team here when I was here,” he said. “I played baseball my senior year and went to the section championship and lost to Tracy. I could’ve opened enrolled to someplace that had a golf team, but I stayed here. I think it was two years after I graduated that they opened it up for golf.” Erickson, who was born in Minneapolis, then moved to the Balaton area and finally to Slayton by the time he was 10, studied at South Dakota State University for a year before earning a degree in audio production at Hennepin Technical College. He owns a business in Marshall called Device Repair — opened in 2017 — which focuses on repairing things like cell phones, computers and tablets. And while his Marshall business is a major focal point in his life professionally, Erickson’s personal passion is on the links. “I’ve always been an avid golfer,” he said. “I was doing my own music, that was kind of my career path, and when I was doing that I met my wife. Within a couple years of us being together, we had our first son, and that was what prompted me to move back here.” Upon returning to the area, Erickson opened Device Repair, which progressively got bigger and bigger over the years, to the point where he felt the need to hire a full-time employee. After getting that business off the BY PER PETERSON editor

ground, Erickson felt the need for more, whether it was another store somewhere else or something much different. Enter Broadway Golf, which is housed in a building owned by his father. Once home to Hampel’s, a former appliance store, the building is now home to Erickson’s new enterprise — a two-bay golf simulator. Erickson originally started his Device Repair business in the building, but eventually closed up shop in Slayton since business was better in the larger town of Marshall. However, the building in Slayton was still there, and Erickson eventually changed direction and followed his other passion of golf. He purchased a pair of commercial golf simulators for about $40,000, as well as other equipment to get his new venture up and running. Besides that, he had to gut the building to suit his needs. “We started in September, clearing everything out,” Erickson said. “My dad does construction and rents some other space out, and we were going to beat the band. Ever since we started this, people started hearing about it, and the reaction has been great. It’s been pretty much all positive.” Besides clearing room for his new business, Erickson had to sound-proof the area around the simulators, since the second floor of the building is home to apartments. Using his audio / studio background, Erickson sound-proofed the first floor out of respect for the tenants upstairs. “We don’t hear them, they don’t hear us,” he said. “We’re doing our best to respect the tenants upstairs.” The software for the golf simulator offers users a choice of more than 120 golf courses, including the vast majority of PGA courses. The cost of virtually golfing at Broadway is $45 per hour, per bay. The simulator puts the golfer in a virtual world of their own at whatever course they choose. Hitting the links virtually is about as close as one can

GOLF

JAKE ERICKSON has parlayed his passion for the game of golf into a golf simulator business in downtown Slayton. Photo / Per Peterson

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Currie, Minnesota

continued on page 4

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4 – SOUTHWEST SAILOR, JUNE 2022

GOLF ON BROADWAY gives downtown Slayton a fresh storefront next to the town’s bowling alley.

Golf Continued from page 3

JAKE ERICKSON demonstrates putting on one of his golf simulators. Photos / Per Peterson

get to actually golfing. Users can use their driver off the tee, a wedge for their short game and a putter when on the green — it’s like a video game, only in real life with your own clubs. “It’s very accurate,” Erickson said. “Usually it takes one person about an hour to play 18. You don’t have to go look for your ball, the next person can immediately hit … It’s a video game that’s interactive.” Erickson said he has had a good response to his new business, including a number of people outside of Slayton. Golf on Broadway also has a full kitchen and offers food and liquor. He has a couple of pizza ovens and a fryer so he can offer “bar food” like burgers and wings to his patrons. “Next year we’ll have leagues,” Erickson said. “We tried this year, but we just weren’t ready. Owning a business, I very much understand that nothing happens overnight, it takes time for people to know what something is. It just takes time.” Erickson and his wife, Brooke (Farrow), have three children: Elliot (5), Ruby (3) and Isla, who was born in December 2021. He gives a lot of credit for being able to juggle two businesses to his full-time employee at Device Repair, and because of that he has been able to focus some of his attention on his new business in Slayton. “I really was just looking for something else, and I’m just really passionate about golf,” he said. “Once I kind of got the idea of opening this, I just went for it.”

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Lamberton is ready for a party BY PER PETERSON editor

I

t’s been about one-and-ahalf years ago that a group of Lamberton residents got together to discuss a pretty important subject: how to celebrate the town’s 150th anniversary. Now, as the big weekend draws near, final plans are in the works for one of the town’s biggest celebrations ever. “We had a 125th back in 1997, and I was around for that and heard a lot about the centennial,” said organizer Sam Furth, who has been in charge of the adult activities for the big weekend — and “Whatever else I can help out with,” he said. “I can remember when this all got started; I went over to talk to Jane (Zimmerman) and said, ‘You know, Lamberton’s got the 150th anniversary coming up here,’ and she said, ‘You know, I was thinking about that, too.’ That’s kind of what got the whole idea going, I guess.” Through monthly meetings that have taken place for more than a year, that idea has blossomed into what

LAMBERTON continued on page 6

SAM FURTH AND DEBBIE VOLLMER have been heading up the committee overseeing Lamberton’s 150th anniversary celebration this summer. Photo / Per Peterson

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Lamberton Continued from page 5

will be a four-day jubilee with events for kids and adults alike. “For me, it’s been really neat to see this event evolve, from the beginning stages, just picking the dates, finding people to be on the committee,” said Debbie Vollmer, chair of the planning committee. “It’s grown so much from when we first started talking about this. The weekend needs to get here — we’re

so anxious for this to happen.” The celebration will commence on Thursday, June 23, as the Lamberton Memorabilia Display will open at 9 a.m. The Leon Olsen Band will perform at 4 p.m. that day, and at 4:30 p.m., Lamberton will reach back in time with a beard growing contest — an event that took place during the town’s centennial and the former jubilee celebration.

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“I tell them we have our contest on the 23rd — June 24th, that thing’s gone,” Furth joked about those in town new to donning a beard. “To me, the beard growing contest was important, to make sure we keep that tradition,” Vollmer said. “Lamberton seems to be all about history, so to see that aspect of it and include things like axe throwing, caricatures, and some carnival games is important.” Later Thursday, the town’s amateur baseball team, the Long Sox, will play at 7 p.m., and a Little Mr. and Miss

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Lamberton Pageant will take place. The opening night will wrap up with the Hammertime Band playing from 8-10 p.m. Highlights Friday include a rock climbing wall, inflatables for the kids, a youth axe throwing contest, horse-drawn buggy rides, the all-school reunion at 5 p.m., firemen’s water fights, redneck olympics and a youth outdoor movie. “A lot of people are excited to come home for the all-school reunion,” said Vollmer. Furth added that the all-school reunion committee has put in countless hours of planning and has garnered more than 300 commitments for the reunion, which will include tours of the former school; a new school near the athletic complex on the east side of town will be built in the coming years. “I’ve talked to a couple people in the community who are looking forward to getting in touch with their old classmates who are maybe in a different area of the country,” said Furth. “They’re really looking forward to catching up with others and spending time during the weekend with people that they haven’t seen in a long time.” On Saturday, a 1.5-mile or 5K walk or run will begin at 8 a.m., at which time the medallion hunt will start. There will be basketball and volleyball tournaments, a classic car show and antique tractor display, flea market, a 4 p.m. kiddie parade and a grand parade starting at 7 p.m., with birthday cake to follow. A free street dance featuring Red Dirt Road will begin at 8 p.m. on Saturday. “We’ve had generous sponsors — the band is $3,500, and we had two people come forward to sponsor the band,” said Furth. Vollmer said one of the goals of the committee is to offer as many free events as possible (not counting the volleyball and basketball tournament, or food and drink). “Most everything is free,” she said. “All the bands are free; we’ve had such generous donations from our businesses in town. People who can’t make it to the all-school reunion say, ‘Here’s a small donation to help.’ It’s been great to see that kind of community support.”

LAMBERTON continued on page 7


SOUTHWEST SAILOR, JUNE 2022 – 7

Lamberton Continued from page 6

The Lake Sarah Baptist Singers will start the day off Sunday, leading up to an ecumenical service at 11 a.m. A bean bag tournament will being at 1 p.m., and the Jerry Hauth Band will start entertaining the crowd at 1 p.m. as well. And don’t forget about food. A wide variety of fare will be offered — from hamburgers and hotdogs and smoked BBQ, to Asian dishes, steak on a stick and waffles. Food and drink will be provided by a number of Lamberton organizations, including LJ’s on Main, the Lamberton American Legion/Auxiliary, Lamberton Fire Department, Mark Arkell Foundation, Our Saviors Lutheran Church, the Lamberton Leprechauns 4-H Club and the Lamberton Area Community Foundation and Pool Committee. A changing table and breastfeeding tent will also be available all weekend at the city’s park. “Lamberton is one of the few small towns in southwest Minnesota that doesn’t have a ‘celebration,’” Furth said. “We have Hot Iron Days, which does very well … Sanborn has Watermelon Days, Tracy has Box Car Days, Springfield has Riverside Days, but we don’t have that major celebration.” Furth said it was important for the planning committee to make sure that all age groups are included in the celebration. “There’s a lot of planning that goes into this … we’ve got some diversity on our committee,” he said. “We want to get as many people here, and we want everybody to enjoy themselves.” Vollmer said planning for the 150th essentially started from scratch, compared to annual celebrations in other towns that only need some tweaking each year. “We have tried to make it something for everybody,” she said. “We don’t want to exclude an age group or other interests; the committee is very proud of the events that we’ve come up with. The involvement from the community has been great — sponsorship-wise and people getting excited.” Besides the Lamberton Commercial Club, sponsors include Anderson Electric, Ericksons Country Furniture, Lamberton Stockyards, Mary Olson Family Memorial, West Central Sanitation, American Family InsuranceAngie Gode, Beers Family Dental, Farmers Coop Oil, First Security Bank, Jeckell Enterprises, Redwood County Farmers Mutual Insurance, Dietl Stor It, Highwater Ethanol, L&S Construction, Lamberton Lanes, Main Street Nutrition, Red Rock Chiropractic, Redwood Electric Coop, Sturm Funeral Home and Wilson Trailer. The Commercial Club, Vollmer said, is made up of a number of people who didn’t grow up in Lamberton, but their ties to the small town have grown strong throughout the years. “We didn’t grow up here, but we’re putting together the celebration,” she said. “We live here, or work here — it’s just kind of neat to see that group of people come together for this. It’s a great group of people.” Furth, who made a point of recognizing and thanking the City of Lamberton for its continued support of the big event, recognizes for better or worse, Lamberton is a farming community that consists of many retired farmers, some who have a lake cabin. That means on a weekend during the summer, a lot of them choose to go to their lake place and are not around,

leaving the town even quieter than it already is. He and Vollmer hope the June celebration will serve as a reminder to how special Lamberton is to all. “It’s going to be a great weekend, I think,” Vollmer said. “Something like that can bring the community together.” • Other planning committee members include Gayle Erickson, David Friedley, Deb Furth, Char Graff, Randy Hammerschmidt, Sue Imker, Barb Learning, Doug Moody Jr., Julie Senst, Lydell Sik, Jenny Stavens, Karen Weber and Zimmerman. Barb Lenning is handling the financial side of the event. Members of that main committee broke off to work on sub-committees for the larger events and activities. “Everyone has worked hard on this,” Sam Furth said. “We just keep moving forward. All our events are set.” • According to “Voices From The Past, History of Lamberton Minnesota,” the name “Lamberton” was given to

IN AN HOMAGE TO THE PAST, this year’s 150th anniversary celebration in Lamberton will include a beard growing contest. “Voices From The Past” image

the railroad stopping place and its post office. Henry W. Lamberton was a land commissioner for the Winona & St. Peter Railroad line. He had picked up reservation land, each with a stream nearby, in 12 sections with the knowledge and foresight that the

railroad would soon run that way. • For a complete schedule of events for the 150th celebration, go to www. lambertonmn.com.150th-celebration Lamberton’s latest history book will be on sale during this summer’s 150th anniversary.

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The therapeutic power of horses is evident at Redemption Ranch BY PER PETERSON editor

F

For decades since the early 1970s, the

Zollner homestead between Wabasso and Milroy was mostly a quiet one. Areas where chickens and cattle once roamed became empty.

But that was the past.

Today, chickens, a very large turkey named Tim Tim, and four horses have brought new life to the Zollner farm. And Nancy and Randy Zollner have taken that life and share it with youth through Redemption Ranch, a camp they have built to spread the love and light of Jesus Christ to children and families with the help of their equine friends, Maggie, Copper, Jiggs and — their 2-1/2-year-old daughter Allee’s favorite — Heidi. “To me, Christianity is the way you live your life,” Nancy said. “We’re all going to go through stuff, and you have to have hope. I think that’s evident when we’re hanging out with the horses … but there’s tough times, and some of these kids have been through tough situations. Every kid has gotten something different out of this.” Redemption Ranch, Nancy said, is not about therapy in its traditional sense. However, she fully appreciates the therapeutic benefits of animals like dogs and horses. “Horses can detect your heartbeat, 6 to 8 feet away,” she said. “They, in and of themselves, are therapeutic,

NANCY, ALLEE, AND RANDY ZOLLNER, pictured with Allee’s favorite horse Heidi, open their Redemption Ranch to families every summer, giving youth a unique chance to interact with horses and in the process examine their faith through tough times. Photo / Per Peterson

but we are not therapy.” Growing up on the border of North Dakota and South Dakota, Nancy has been around horses since she was 9 years old, and after reading a book, she

knew in her heart that she wanted to get involved with something similar.

RANCH continued on page 9

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Ranch Continued from page 8

Nancy’s dream actually began almost 20 years ago when she read a book given to her by a friend. The author of the book, Kim Meeder, and her husband, Troy, started Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch in Bend, OR, in 1995. “The whole book is about Kim’s story,” Nancy said. “I actually have never read books — I never had time to read — but I had this book and opened it one day … it’s all about horses and helping people. The number one thing is, it’s Christ-centered, how the saving grace of Jesus has helped people, but he does it a lot of times through horses. I read the book — I bawled my eyes out and I knew what I wanted to do.” In 2016, Nancy visited Crystal Peaks to take part in similar ministry training and returned with a wealth of knowledge. She also took part in training called Faith Based Equine Assistance Philosophy in Mankato. After her divorce and meeting Randy, Nancy was convinced it was time to get her dream off the ground. “I just kept taking the next step,” she said. The steps that led to Redemption Ranch were many. Nancy and Randy were married in 2018, and the couple planted 3 acres of pasture and put in about 200 fence poles. Randy is the fourth generation to farm the homestead, which is located a few miles west of Wabasso. Before they moved into the house, there had been no livestock or animals on the farm since 1975. “When my dad was a kid, they had cows and chickens,” Randy said. “When he graduated in 1972, that was it. Every time a kid graduated, chores got more for the other ones, and in so many years, they got rid of the cattle and chickens.” But getting Redemption Ranch off the ground was no easy task, as their first year in operation was derailed by the pandemic. “Everything was shut down that March, and I was like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me,’” said Nancy. “You try to get something going … the churches were shut down, everything.” The pandemic hit the Zollner family hard personally as well, when Randy was infected in October 2021. He was on a ventilator and wasn’t expected to survive.

Redemption Ranch is not your run-of-the-mill summer camping experience, as kids have the opportunity to interact with horses. RIGHT: Nancy Zollner, who runs the camp, with Heidi. Redemption Ranch image

To this day, he’s still feeling the effects of COVID-19. Because of his long recovery time — it took him eight days to be able to walk again, and he wasn’t discharged from the hospital until the middle of December that year — Nancy went on leave from her teaching position at Westbrook-Walnut Grove. “God’s grace saved him — he decided his time was not done here,” Nancy said. “We’ve had quite a journey.” A big part of that journey includes Redemption Ranch, a 501(c)3 non-profit, which is currently open to youth ages 7-17. There is no charge for the camp, and the Zollners have reached out to area churches in an attempt to keep it that way. The first year, in 2020, the camp was open to only small groups; in 2021 things started to resemble more of what the Zollners had in mind, as they were able to open up to more and more youth. The Zollners have four full-time mentors who help at the camps, which are 90 minutes in length, twice a month. “We start with a devotion with a big group,” Nancy said. “We introduce ourselves, and one of our camp leaders will take over. One time, we did stuff that was based on superheroes. We do games … the kids got to hose down the horses.” The Zollners have learned that every child is different in that some are eager to form a relationship to a horse, while others are more reserved. The kids are encouraged to do as much as they’re comfortable with. “Most kids have never even haltered a horse,” Nancy

said. “One of the fun lessons I did was I brought out all my different kinds of halters … most of these kids don’t use that stuff. We talked about how one thing all serves the same purpose — they got to go out and catch a horse and figure out how to lead them.” The camp, which also features horse riding and crafts, puts a direct focus on team building, as kids work in groups of two or three in making obstacles for the horses. “You have to lead the horse, but you can’t talk,” Nancy said. “The cool thing is, especially with the younger kids, they make an obstacle an 8-year-old can walk through, not a 1,200-pound animal. And they have to work with their partner without speaking.” Kids are also welcomed to actually paint the horses with words, pictures or phrases. “It doesn’t hurt them, and the kids love it,” Nancy said. “Last year, they wrote ‘Faith, Hope and Love’ on a horse,” Randy said. More information on various camps at Redemption Ranch can be found at https://www. redemptionranchmn.org

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10 – SOUTHWEST SAILOR, JUNE 2022

Southern region fishing outlook Outlook by areas Spring arrived late this year. Chilly and windy weather persisted during the entire month of April rolling back some highly anticipated panfishing plans and early boater recreation. On our perennial last-to-go-out large, deeper lakes near Spicer — Green and Koronis lakes — huge winds broke ice open on April 22. Their average ice-out

date is April 15. DNR walleye spawntake crews at Windom and Spicer area offices toiled hard during days of high winds to set nets and collect eggs from their localized walleye population. These operations produce essential walleye stocking needs for maintaining a natural genetic strain within the local watersheds. April rains and snow spilled across

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the state alleviating some thirsty soils from last year’s drought; however, many lakes are well below spring normal water levels so anglers this year may want to check their access locations before heading out to launch. In addition, water clarity conditions on some lakes were a bit more roiled this spring because of the ongoing days of high winds. Typically, lakes in the southern region of Minnesota offer very good fishing opportunities for a multitude of species each spring. Numerous shallow lakes warm up sooner, favoring an active fish bite by hungry fish. Fish populations in this part of the state tend to grow faster and reach catchable size in fewer years. It is not uncommon to see a 15inch walleye or 7-inch bluegill within two years. Northern pike growth is accelerated as well, seeing 24-inch pike in about 2 to 3 years. If you do not have a boat, shore fishing is popular as well. Spring and fall are great times to try for panfish along shoreline habitat or in channels between connected lakes, bridge areas and especially fishing toward the evening hours. Visit the DNR website to locate public water access ramps and fishing piers. Also, plan ahead by using internet aerial mapping tools to view any location for understanding vehicle parking space and shore fish-ability. Public access is not just managed by the DNR. It can also be provided by county, city and other local units of government. If you have any questions about lake conditions, fish populations and depth maps you can search for your lake with the popular DNR online tool called LakeFinder. You can get the same information but in a portable, mobile-friendly format that knows exactly where you are at with LakeFinder mobile. Often overlooked is the Minnesota River flowing through the heart of the southern region. This hidden gem makes for peaceful fishing floats in smaller boats or by canoe to catch walleye or catfish. Fishing near tree snags or deeper holes offers a chance to catch world-class flathead catfish. If quiet time angling from the river bank is your quarry, shore fishing provides the

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ease to catch various species without needing a boat. The upper section of the river near Montevideo can be great for catching limits of eater-size channel catfish. Remember anglers and boaters, Clean In Clean Out when boating or fishing in Minnesota. Protect your waters by following state aquatic invasive species laws. Clean, drain, dispose and keep all plugs out while transporting. Another reminder is that water temperatures in the spring are still cold. Hypothermia can set in within minutes of falling overboard, so please wear your life jacket. If you need fish population assistance, contact the local Fisheries area office in that area of the state. Have a great fishing experience and take a kid fishing! The following fishing information is highlighted below by each DNR area fisheries office in the southern region: Hutchinson, Ortonville, Spicer, Waterville, Windom, and the Minnesota River crew. They provide a snapshot of the lake’s fishery based on recent netting surveys that evaluate the fish population. The following list of waters represents some of the better walleye fishing prospects for the 2022 open water angling season: • Lake Shetek (Murray County) – walleye from 15 to 17 inches in length and lots of 10-inch crappie • Dead Coon Lake (Lincoln County) – plentiful walleye in the 17-18 inch range • Currant Lake (Murray County) – loaded with walleye, having a catch rate of 33.3 per gill net in 2021 • Round Lake (Jackson County) – many walleye sampled over 14 inches at a rate of 14.7 per gill net in 2021 • Big Kandiyohi, Carrie and Ringo lakes (Kandiyohi County) – shallow lakes that offer early walleye bites • Lake Marion (McLeod County) – this lake south of Hutchinson is expected to produce good walleye fishing • Belle Lake (Meeker County) – this lake north of Hutchinson is coming off a hot bite this past winter • Big Swan Lake (Meeker County) – another great walleye resource in the Hutchinson area • Artichoke Lake (Big Stone County) – has a high population of all sized walleye, many 15 to 18 inches • Long Tom (Big Stone County) – has copious walleye ranging from 15 to 17 inches • East Toqua Lake (Big Stone County) – offers a very good walleye opportunity for fish over 20 inches • Fountain and Albert Lea lakes (Freeborn County) – both have good numbers of large walleye • Lake Washington and Tetonka lake (Le Sueur County) – traditional favorites for the walleye opener • Minnesota River – provides an outstanding option to catch walleye with numerous fish over 6 pounds. This river is a destination to catch so many species of fish including flathead catfish over 50 pounds. • Windom Area Fisheries – covering Cottonwood, Jackson, Lincoln, Lyon, Martin, Murray, Nobles, Pipestone, Rock, and Watonwan counties. The Windom fisheries management area is located within the prairie pothole region, which is characterized by very productive and shallow lakes. Many of the lakes and wetlands located in this region are susceptible to winterkill,

OUTLOOK continued on page 11


SOUTHWEST SAILOR, JUNE 2022 – 11

Outlook Continued from page 10

especially when water levels are low and ice remains snow covered for long periods of time. The winter of 2021- 2022 proved to be somewhat mild, as snowfall was minimal, and ice duration and thickness typical. Oxygen monitoring was conducted periodically during this last winter and that information can be viewed here. Overall, ice anglers reported a good ice fishing season. Most ice fishing activity ended in early March because of unseasonably warm temperatures that deteriorated ice conditions and public accesses. Anglers should expect good fishing during the open water season, as walleye and northern pike populations are in good shape in many Windom area lakes. For additional information regarding stocking, fish surveys, oxygen monitoring, contour maps and other fish management activities, visit the Windom area fisheries page. Walleye Lake Shetek (3,462 acres) Murray County Lake Shetek is one of the largest water bodies in the Windom area, consistently producing quality walleye fishing. The 2022 walleye opener should be a good one, as the gill net catch rate in the 2020 survey was 14.8 per gill net, which is near the upper end of expected catch rates for lakes like Shetek. The 2021-2022 ice fishing season was good on Lake Shetek and that should continue into the open water season. Lengths of walleye averaged around 14 inches, with good numbers of harvestable fish available. With an additional summer of growth, many of these Walleye should be around 15 to 17 inches in length. If walleye action is slow, anglers can try their luck in catching panfish. Black crappie are also present in Lake Shetek in good numbers, so action could be fast if you locate a downed tree that they are hanging around. Decent numbers of black crappie over 10 inches are present. Although fishing pressure may be high on the opener, Shetek’s vast surface area should provide plenty of options. Lake Sarah (1,176 acres) Murray County Lake Sarah is a perennial walleye hotspot, being one of the only lakes in the Windom area that has a self-sustaining walleye population. The catch rate of walleye in 2021 was 38.0 per gill net, which should provide some phenomenal fishing in 2022. Lake Sarah still boasts one of the best walleye populations in the area. Multiple strong year classes of walleye are present, which should provide good angling opportunity. We have such a good population of walleye on Lake Sarah that we conducted a walleye egg take. During egg take operations during the spring of 2021, many 25-plus inch walleye were observed, with fish up to 14 pounds being captured. Natural reproduction checks have indicated that the population will continue to be strong, as the electrofishing catch rate of youngof-year walleyes has exceeded 149.5 per hour in most years since 2010. Historically, the best walleye fishing to be from mid-May to mid-June, and then again in the fall. Zebra mussels were detected in Lake Sarah during the fall of 2018, so it is very important to clean your gear and not transport water from Lake Sarah to other waterbodies. Make sure to plan ahead, as this walleye “factory” will likely be busy on the opener. Clear Lake (68 acres) Lyon County Clear Lake in the city of Russell is overflowing with walleye. In 2021, the gill net catch rate was 61.0 per gill net. While it is an incredible catch rate, it makes it that much more impressive given the small size of the lake. Many of the walleye sampled were 14-15 inches in length. Dead Coon Lake (547 acres) Lincoln County Dead Coon Lake should be your destination for an action-packed 2022 opener. The 2021 walleye catch rate on Dead Coon was 17.3 per gill net. Walleye that were in that 17-18 inch range dominated the 2021 catch. Dead Coon Lake should be a destination that isn’t terribly overrun by fellow anglers on the opener. A good lake to consider if opener weather is troubling, given the size of the lake along with the fish population.

Currant Lake (394 acres) Murray County Currant Lake is loaded with walleye, having a catch rate of 33.3 per gill net in 2021. With a couple of year’s growth, there should be a good number of walleye of harvestable length, with walleye up to 24 inches being sampled. If you are looking to get away from the crowd. East Stay Lake (221 acres) Lincoln County One thing is for certain, anglers will not be able to STAY away from East Stay Lake if they give it a try this spring. The waters of East Stay Lake are literally crawling with walleye. The survey conducted in 2020 netted 26 walleye per gill net. Not only are there a lot of walleye, they are large as lengths ranged from 7.6 to 26.4 inches and averaged 18.8 inches. The only problem you may have at this gem is that you will catch too many big walleye, as many of them exceeded 20 inches in length. Additionally, this lake does have Curlyleaf Pondweed (non-native aquatic vegetation) that can alter your normal angling strategies for walleye. Round Lake (929 acres) Jackson County This ever-popular walleye lake may be poised to give up some fish on the 2022 opener. In the 2021 survey, walleye were captured at a rate of 14.7 per gill net. Many of the walleye sampled were larger than 14 inches, so there should be good opportunity to harvest some fish. If walleye aren’t biting, Round Lake also boasts a good crappie population which should provide another angling opportunity. If you like a good fight, try catching some white bass that have also taken off in Round Lake (30 per day bag limit). White bass (some are approaching 16 inches) are feisty fighters and are good to eat. Talcot Lake (678 acres) Cottonwood County Talcot Lake has given up a lot of walleye in the last couple of years, with good bites being reported several times over the last couple of years. The winter of 2021-2022 again produced a great walleye bite. The excellent bite was not a surprise, as the 2020 survey indicated an abundant walleye population, as the gill net

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OUTLOOK continued on page 12

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12 – SOUTHWEST SAILOR, JUNE 2022

Outlook Continued from page 11 catch rate was 25.0 per gill net. Lengths of walleye were nice averaging 15.6 inches. Talcot Lake could be busy on the opener given the recent success that anglers have had out there. Loon Lake (679 acres) Jackson County Extensive stocking efforts in Loon Lake have the walleye population in great shape, with good walleye fishing being reported several years in a row. Likewise, the survey in 2020 indicated an abundant population as the gill net catch of 24.3 was the second highest catch ever recorded on Loon Lake. Lengths of walleye ranged from 9 to 24 inches and averaged 15.6 inches, with the majority of walleye being between 13 and 17 inches. The good fishing should continue into 2022. Lake Okabena (785 acres) Nobles County Located in Worthington city limits, Lake Okabena provides ample recreational opportunity for area residents if they don’t have a boat or

prefer shore fishing. Lake Okabena should provide good walleye fishing this spring as the gill net catch rate was 10.0 during the 2018 survey. Additionally, many adult walleye were observed while nighttime electrofishing for fingerlings during the fall of 2021. Average length of walleye in the 2018 survey was 14.1 inches with 50% of the sample being 15 inches or greater.

Lime Lake (316 acres) Murray County Lime Lake is one of the more consistent northern pike fisheries in the Windom fisheries management area. Although not sampled well in the 2019 fish survey, it is believed that a quality northern pike population exists in Lime Lake. Lime Lake is used as a source for northern pike broodstock, which are used for raising northern pike fingerlings for stocking in the Windom area. Each spring, pre-spawn adult broodstock northern pike are collected from Lime Lake and stocked into rearing ponds. Lime Lake could provide some good pike action early in the season before water temperatures rise because of summer heat.

Clear Lake (415 acres) Jackson County Throughout the years, Clear Lake has been local walleye angler’s go-to lake, especially at opener. Walleyes were captured at a rate of 17.3/gill net in 2019. Lengths ranged from 7 to 28 inches and averaged 14.4 inches. Angling pressure is typically high on Clear Lake. Northern pike Don’t forget about the northern pike regulations that were new in 2018! A zone management approach was adapted which divided the state into three zones: Southern, North-Central

ASSISTANT FISHERIES SUPERVISOR NATE HODGENS from the Windom Fisheries Office puts some of the 2,500 brown trout in the Redwood River at Camden State Park on April 12. Trout season opened on April 16. According to the Minnesota DNR, Minnesota has about 3,800 miles of designated trout streams. Anglers fishing on designated trout waters must have a trout stamp validation in addition to an angling license. Photo courtesy Minnesota DNR and Northeast. The Southern Zone limit has a possession/daily limit of two and a minimum size limit of 24 inches (pike under 24 inches must be released).

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Lake Shaokotan (996 acres) Lincoln County Lake Shaokotan will be a popular destination when the Minnesota fishing opener rolls around in 2022. If you’re looking for steady action with the chance to catch a limit of northern pike, Shaokotan is the place to do it. Pike are everywhere in Lake Shaokotan with a 2021 catch rate of 7 per gill net. Northern pike sampled in 2021 ranged in length from 20.3 to 31.5 inches, with good numbers of pike over 24 inches available. If pike aren’t cooperating, you might want to try your luck at catching some of Shaokotan’s walleye, which were sampled at a rate of 8.3 per gill net in 2021 and were large, with many of the walleye exceeding 20 inches in length.

Island Lake (163 acres) Lyon County Northern pike are on the prowl in Island Lake! In 2017, northern pike were captured at a rate of 4.1 per trap net. In 2017, the majority of the pike sampled were between 18 and 30 inches. It is safe to assume that there are some dandies swimming around in this body of water. A decent yellow perch population also exists which could add some more fish to your bag. Buffalo Lake (124 acres) Murray County Buffalo Lake had a robust population of northern pike as the 2021 catch rate was 15.5 per gill net. Multiple year classes are present with lengths of pike ranging from 15 to 35 inches and averaging 24.3 inches. Many of the fish are above the 24inch minimum size limit. • After low water conditions during much of 2021, Minnesota River anglers are excited to enjoy the typically higher spring flows during the early 2022 fishing season. After fishing opener, some Minnesota River anglers will switch gears and start targeting walleye, sauger and northern pike. Creek mouths are popular fishing spots during May. The Minnesota River is one of the most diverse fisheries in the state and is a great destination for catching unique species such as buffalo, gar, redhorse and shovelnose sturgeon. Be sure to check river levels before heading out to the Minnesota River since conditions can change rapidly after large amounts of precipitation (USGS River Gages).

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