OUTDOORS REPORT: Area fishing report
Lake of the Woods
Good numbers of limits, walleyes in the 19½- to 28-inch protected slot and trophy fish are being caught on bright-colored jigs and minnows in 4 to 13 feet of water in the Rainy River, Four-Mile Bay, Lighthouse Gap and in front of Pine Island to Morris Point. Northern pike continue to be caught on crankbaits, spoons and minnows on the weedbeds in Four-Mile Bay and Zippel Bay. On the Rainy River, walleye action has been very good north of Baudette, Minn., heading toward Lighthouse Gap in areas adjacent to tributaries and bays.
The ice is off the lake, and the boat ramps are open, reports John Adams of Big John’s Guide Service. Anglers have reported catching walleyes in shallow water and current areas near the bridges using jigs tipped with twister tails or live bait. Look for fishing to get even better as water temperatures rise and fish recover from spawning.
Catfishing on the Red River in Grand Forks is a go, but it’s a tough go with the lingering cool weather, reports Grand Forks catfish guide Brad Durick. Water levels, at about 24 feet, are pretty good for the experienced boater, Durick said, but water temperatures in the low 50s or less are not giving the catfish much to be excited about in the feeding department. That being said, catfish are hitting in shallow water or in slower water in 2 to 13 feet near the edge of the main channel, Durick said. Catfish also are hanging tight in the timber along the bank. The best bet, Durick said, is to find an area with less current, drop the baits and wait at least 30 minutes. Fresh cut sucker has been the most productive bait option to this point, Durick said.
Upper Red Lake
Limits of walleyes are being caught on the north, east, and south shorelines in 4 to 7 feet of water. A jig and minnow is working best, and with water temperatures in the low 40-degree range, working it slow has been the most productive technique.
A jig and minnow is producing walleyes on Lake Irving in 5 to 7 feet of water and Lake Plantagenet in 7 to 12 feet. Lake Bemidji still had some ice on opening day, but walleyes were being taken on minnows at the mouth of the river inlet in 7 to 14 feet and on Diamond Bar in 7 to 10 feet. Water temperatures range from 43 degrees to 48 degrees depending on the lake.
Walleyes are hitting a jig and minnow in 5 to 8 feet of water on Blackduck Lake. Panfish reports have slowed with the cooler weather this week, but once it warms, lakes such as Rabideau, Pimushe, Gilstead and Gull again will produce fish in shallow water.
Cass Lake area
The river mouths and channels on Wolf Lake and Lake Andrusia are giving up walleyes on minnows in 6 to 10 feet of water. You’ll also find walleyes in the Turtle River area of Kitchi Lake or in Allen’s Bay on Cass Lake in 18 to 20 feet; minnows or jigs or live bait fished below slip bobbers have been best. The bays on most lakes are now holding panfish, highlighted by a great crappie and bluegill bite in Dick’s Bay on Cass.
Bigger walleyes have been active, with enough eating-sized fish in the mix to fill limits. Cedar Point has been good in 10 feet of water, while the shoreline by Joe’s Landing up to Little Hardwoods is giving up fish in slightly shallower water. Pine Point, Goose Island and the Meadows are worth checking for walleyes in 6 to 8 feet. Good-sized perch and plenty of northern pike are being caught with the walleyes.
Walleye reports have been favorable, but the bulk of the catch has been bigger walleyes with some keeping-sized fish in the mix. A jig-and-minnow combination has worked best in 5 to 9 feet of water north of Plughat Point, the Dugout and Eagle’s Nest. The channel at Cutfoot, the Highbanks area, Mallard Point and Raven’s Point toward Third River gave up a few more keepers in 10 feet. Perch and pike also are active and mixed with the walleyes.
Walleyes are deep for this time of year — 14 to 17 feet — and hitting minnows on lakes Sallie, Melissa, Little Detroit, Sour and Little Cormorant. Crappies are moving in and out of the shallows often staging in front of the bays in 12 to 14 feet until the sun comes out. Look to Sallie, Melissa, Sour, Severson Lake, Height of Land Lake, Cormorant Lake and Pelican Lake for panfish.
Park Rapids area
The Crow Wing chain of lakes is giving up a few walleyes in 3 to 5 feet of water on minnows and jigs. The Fish Hook River and Crow Wing River have been producing more walleyes than area lakes. The shallow bays on lakes Belle Taine, Long, Big Mantrap, Island, and Fish Hook are providing a mixed bag of panfish, while anglers on the Straight River with nightcrawlers are catching brown trout.