By Tom Hintgen
Otter Tail County Correspondent

Eli Walkup, 11, proudly displays a large crappie that he caught on one of Otter Tail County’s lakes. Photo by Tom Hintgen

Winds were close to 20 miles per hour on the waters of a lake in Otter Tail County Wednesday morning, July 20. That didn’t deter 11-year-old Eli Walkup, a farm boy south of Fergus Falls, from landing a prized crappie.

A foursome, under the guidance of fishing guide Ross Hagemeister, included Tom Hintgen, his friend Richard Tomhave, Richard’s son-in-law Chad Walkup and Tomhave’s grandson, Eli.

The adults, without a doubt, wanted to catch walleye. They were happy with their catch of nine fish that included a mix of walleye and large crappies. The adults were especially happy for Eli, who caught not only crappies but also walleye.

Four larger walleye, from four to five pounds, were catch and release.

The mid-week outing in the great outdoors proved once again that fishing is always an enjoyable experience in Otter Tail County. That’s true no matter the number of fish that are caught.

As a guide, Hagemeister takes pride in a strong work ethic, adding, “I have a belief that everybody deserves my best effort.”

His best effort was needed this past week due to windy conditions in Otter Tail County. That effort paid dividends for not only the party of four but for other groups coming to fish under the guidance of Hagemeister.

“Catching fish is fun, but the best days on the water involve something more,” Hagemeister says. “It’s the time spent together, waves splashing, the soft lake air and west central Minnesota at its finest.”