Blackstad expands bait & tackle business, will re-open May 11

LAKE HANSKA – Enthused by predicted improved fishing prospects on Lake Hanska, bait and tackle business owner Craig Blackstad expanded his business over the winter.

A good share of his winter months were spent hand-building 26 minnow traps with cedar wood and metal work done by Greg Walden of New Ulm.

“This isn’t for anyone afraid of work. I spent seven and one-half hours on each trap,” Blackstad said. “I grew up with this. I love the outdoors. So do lots of other people around here. I bet they will be dozens of people fishing the ditch when the fishing opener starts.”

He plans to trap minnows, creek chubs and shiners and sell them to fishing enthusiasts.

Blackstad also has a 400-gallon bulk minnow tank.

“It’s all according to Mother Nature,” Blackstad said. As he and his wife Brenda have in the past, they’ll continue their catering business and sell hamburgers, hot dogs, chili and soup in self service containers at their business – Lake Hanska Bait & Tackle, just 500 feet south of the public boat access at 75267, 260th Street, several miles east of Godahl, near the south side of the lake.

“(Former New Ulm resident) Dale Ruehling, now a professional fisherman living in Nisswa, says Lake Hanska is full of bass,” Blackstad said. “It’s just that most people don’t know how to fish for bass very well. It’s more than dropping a line under reeds.”

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) stocked Lake Hanska with 1.7 to 1.8 million walleye fry in 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, and 2011. Fish sampled for the 2011 survey year included Walleye, White Sucker, Yellow Perch, Crappies and Bluegills.

Fish consumption guidelines for Lake Hanska for pregnant women, women who may become pregnant and children under age 15 were one meal a week of all sizes of Walleye and unrestricted Bluegill, Sunfish, Carp, and Channel Catfish consumption., said bass fishing is going to be slow at first with a 43-degree water temperature on the lake. The website recommended fishing deep and slow with jigs and sinking jerk baits for Large and Smallmouth Bass fishing.

The website said crappie fishing is sometimes at its best with current water temperatures. “Find the deepest parts of the lake in old river channels and scan your graph for schooling shad,” read the website. “Crappies will be in large schools. Drop your plastics or live bait down to the bottom of the shad and get ready.”

The website recommended Walleye fishing in deep water with easy access to shallow, clean water rocky bottoms, where walleye feed aggressively until they start laying eggs. “This is a perfect time to fish for walleye,” it website stated.

The Weather Channel forecast best fishing at about 9:30 p.m. and 8:30 a.m. on Lake Hanska. For more information, visit

Lake Hanska has four public accesses. County accesses are Geiger Point and the county park on the northeast shore. The DNR operates two accesses, on the northwest end of the lake, south shore, near Godahl, and a double cement ramp on the south side of the southeast bay.

For more information, visit

Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at

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