OUTDOOR REPORT: Area fishing report
Lake of the Woods
The ice is out a few miles from the Lighthouse Gap past Pine Island and at Zippel Bay moving west. These areas, the Rainy River and Four Mile Bay should all provide consistent walleye action this weekend. The sturgeon bite on the Rainy River continues to be strong with nightcrawlers or frozen shiners producing fish in the deeper holes. Numbers of big pike are being caught in Zippel Bay and Four Mile Bay on spoons or slip-sinker rigs with dead bait.
Devils Lake is ice-free, and there are several different patterns going on fishing-wise, fishing guide Mark Bry reports. Some walleyes have spawned, Bry said, while others will soon. The best options for now are current areas near the bridges, culverts and areas with a rock or gravel bottom. Hit it right, and there is potential for some “fast and furious” action, Bry said. As the walleye spawn winds down and water temperatures rise, more fish will be showing up in shallow water. A few days of warm weather will quickly jumpstart that pattern, Bry said — especially when the water warms up beyond 50 degrees. Good presentations include jig-and-soft-plastic combos or crankbaits in the shallows, vertical jigging near the bridges or slip bobbers, Bry said.
There’s not much to report for fishing yet, but the Greenway on Thursday reopened the boat ramps on the Grand Forks side of the river, now that the Red is back below flood stage.
Upper Red Lake
The ice went off Upper Red Lake on Wednesday, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reported on its website. Tributary streams such as the Tamarack River and Shotley Brook will be closed to fishing until May 16 to protect spawning walleyes, but anglers shouldn’t have any problem finding fish in the lake for Saturday’s opener — especially if the weather pans out as predicted.
The small lakes are ice-free, while Lake Bemidji still had some ice floating around Thursday. Most of the ice that remained was deteriorating with the wind and rain early this week. There might still be ice on select lakes by the weekend, but there’ll be plenty of open water to fish as well.
Many small lakes were open early this week, while others were mostly ice-free and expected to be open by the weekend. The bigger lakes, such as Blackduck, still had quite a bit of ice covering them on Tuesday, but they also had pockets of open water. The weather throughout the week will dictate how much water is available on them for opening day.
Cass Lake area
Allen’s Bay on Cass Lake is ice-free, and there was some ice floating on the main portion of the lake, but that is expected to be gone by this weekend. Even if it doesn’t completely melt away, there will be plenty of spots to fish this weekend. Crappie reports have been limited and the water remains cool so look for the panfish to be staged and suspended in 10 to 15 feet, just outside shallow bays.
Walker Bay had a lot of ice early this week, but it was starting to bust open in a few places so it might be gone by this weekend. The main lake is ice-free and there isn’t any floating ice to change that so open water will be an option Saturday.
The ice went off Thursday, the DNR reported on its website.
Minnows are producing crappies in 5 to 8 feet of water on Little Detroit Lake, Deadshot Bay, Lake Sallie, Height of Land Lake, Severson Lake and Lake Melissa. Look for these fish to start moving shallower as the water warms.
Park Rapids area
The shorelines and bays on Long Lake are producing crappies and sunfish in 2 to 5 feet of water. Check the shallow bays and channels on Fish Hook Lake and Mud Lake off the Fish Hook River for panfish as well. Brown trout are being taken on spinners in the deeper holes of the Straight River.