Thursday, May 13, 2010

Fishing Forecast: Better Than Average

Sometimes things just work out. Some springs it rains (pours!) during the week, the sun magically reappearing just in time for a massive evacuation of Minnesotan's fleeing to their favorite lake to troll for walleye and northern pike. Some years the planets align, and everyone is happy (well, as happy as they're going to get). Farmers are relieved - we finally got the long, cool, statewide soaking we needed for spring planting.

24 Hour Rainfall. The heaviest rain bands from Thursday's storm stretched from Duluth to the northern suburbs of the Twin Cities, some .5 to .75" amounts. Far southeastern MN was drenched with over 1 to 1.5" of rain.

Thursday's soaking storm is now pushing into the Great Lakes, a drying westerly breeze coaxing some badly needed sunshine out of a Friday sky, enough blue sky for mid 60s by late afternoon, a west breeze gusting from 10-20 mph, a rising barometer signaling improving weather to come. Nice to be "normal" again (average highs now range from mid 60s in St. Cloud to near 70 at MSP).

Breezy Point Outlook. Thanks to the NWS you can track weekend trends using a nifty "meteogram", showing the ups and downs in temperature, wind, barometric pressure, etc. Notice a slight chance of showers and T-showers by Sunday evening. My hunch: a small risk of (isolated) showers and T-showers much of the day Sunday, but I expect precipitation to be showery, not a steady, all-day rain. Check it out for yourself by clicking here.

Here's what we know about the Fishing Opener Weekend Weather:

* Saturday still looks like the nicer, sunnier (drier) day of the weekend. Expect blue sky most of the day, a southwest breeze at 8-13 mph, with a few higher gusts by afternoon. Barometer: steady, then falling by afternoon, which may help the fishing on your favorite lake. Some would argue that the weather will be "too nice", too sunny - weather capable of scaring away the walleye. I've fished with the Lindner brothers - they prefer cloud cover, a stiff breeze and a falling barometer. Not exactly ideal weather for catching fish, but a steadily falling barometer may help your odds of getting lucky on the lake.

* Sunday: more clouds, a good walleye chop (southeast winds at 5-10, with a few higher gusts). A stormy swirl aloft (a pocket of unusually cold air 3-6 miles overhead) may destabilize our sky enough for a few widely scattered showers and T-storms. Best chance? Around the breakfast hour Sunday, again late afternoon and evening. Most towns (and lakes) will see under 2 hours of rain the entire day Sunday. It won't be as picturesque as Saturday, but with more clouds and a falling barometer, a hint of rain in the air, the fish may be jumping in your boat. Or not.

Saturday Jackets. Take something warm onto the boat - these are the predicted temperatures for 7 am Saturday morning, mid to upper 40s for 'Tonka and White Bear Lake, low 40s up north. Winds will be light, under 7 mph, so I don't expect much of a wind chill.

Walleye Chop. Predicted winds at 8 am, courtesy of the National Weather Service. The forecast calls for winds blowing from the southwest at 5-10 mph, a few gusts as high as 15 by afternoon. Not bad at all.

Hour-By-Hour. Want more? Here you go, an hour by hour breakdown, starting at midnight, going through the entire day Sunday. Notice the chance of showers/T-showers increases after 7 am Sunday, winds blowing from the southeast, highs a few degrees cooler than Saturday (because of more clouds around). Not a terrible day, but not as fine as Saturday. With a falling barometer, more clouds, a healthy walleye chop, and a few showers in the area, the fishing may actually be better Sunday than Saturday. Then again, I'm not Mr. Lucky when it comes to finding/catching fish. I've had pretty rotten luck on Pelican Lake, where we have a cabin. Even with professional guides the fish I catch can usually be mounted on an index card. True story.

Destructive Panorama. I've never seen this technology used before for the aftermath of a tornado, but this gives you a much better idea of the scope of devastation from Monday's tornado outbreak outside Oklahoma City. Keep in mind fewer than 10% of people living in Oklahoma have basements. The reason? A couple inches under the topsoil there is bedrock - it is prohibitively expensive to excavate for a basement in the heart of Tornado Alley. I can't imagine living down there without a basement, or at least a "safe room."

Climate Change Producing Boom of Allergy-Causinig Plants. The story is here.

The Science of a Happy Marriage. True, this has nothing to do with weather, but I found it vaguely interesting. I've been married 26 years, 10 months, 14 days and 3 1/2 hours - but who's counting? The secret? My wife is always right. That, and being a little hard-of-hearing in one ear doesn't hurt. The story in the New York Times is here.

Walleye Fever. Feel the itch? You're not alone - a few hundred thousands Minnesota anglers have an itch that a scratch won't reach. It won't be long now... Don't forget to pack sunscreen, especially for Saturday. There's one thing I can catch with remarkable frequency every fishing opener: a sunburn.

Nasty Memories. Remember the Minnesota Fishing Opener of '08? It snowed up north, wind chill readings in the 20s and 30s - one of the worst bouts of weather for a fishing opener in recent memory. No need for parkas this year, although a sweatshirt or light jacket WILL come in handy.

Paul's Conservation MN Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota

Today: Partly sunny, MUCH better out there. Winds: West 10-20. High: 65

Tonight: Mostly clear and cool. Low: 48-52 (metro lakes). Low in the low 40s up north.

Saturday (Fishing Opener!) Nicer day of the weekend, plenty of sun, breezy - dry. Winds: SW 8-13. High: 73

Saturday night: Partly cloudy, not as cool. Low: 54

Sunday: More clouds than sun, a passing shower or T-shower (but most of the day should be dry). Winds: SE 5-10. High: 69

Monday: Unsettled, another shower or T-storm. High: near 70

Tuesday: Partly sunny, milder. High: 75

Wednesday: More sun, beautiful. High: 77

Thursday: Sun giving way to increasing clouds, slight chance of late-day thunder. High: 78

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