OUTDOORS REPORT: Area fishing report
Lake of the Woods
Fishing remains hot. Anglers are catching numbers of slot- and trophy-size walleyes, with eaters and saugers mixed in. Good numbers of fish are coming from in front of Pine Island, Morris Point Gap, Lighthouse Gap, Four-Mile Bay and Zippel Bay. Farther west, Long Point and the Twin Rocks near Rocky Point should heat up shortly, now that the ice is out. The Rainy River continues to produce plenty of fish, as well. Anglers are having the best success anchoring and jigging in 4 to 17 feet of water in the lake, while best fishing in the river has been in 6 to 12 feet. Up at the Northwest Angle, fishing has been excellent, and walleyes are shallow. Anglers are doing well targeting shoreline structure and even fishing off the docks.
Look shallow for some of the best fishing right now, reports Devils Lake fishing guide Mark Bry. Pike are “absolutely insane,” Bry said, and anglers are catching numbers of fish in a variety of size ranges. Walleye fishing is on the upswing and will continue to improve with warmer weather. Key areas to fish right now, Bry said, include rock piles, flooded roads, weed beds, cattails and flooded trees. The warmest water has the newest vegetation, which in turn attracts bugs, bait and hungry fish. Best baits include jig-and-plastic combos and crankbaits. Slip-bobbers fished with live bait can produce, as well, Bry said.
Last week, Grand Forks catfish guide Brad Durick predicted warmer weather would heat up the catfish action, and that definitely has been the case. Water temperatures have risen to the mid-50s, and the catfish have started to feed more actively in their run to the spawn. Best locations have been shallow to about 13 feet of water in the slower current just off the main channel. Some fish are starting to move in the channel, Durick said, but not as many as in the slower water structure. Big fish are coming right along the edge of the current near structure. Stay on the move covering water until finding the fish. Cut suckers have produced the best action, Durick said, adding he’s confident any fresh cut bait will work right now. Warmer weather is in the forecast, which should maintain good catfish action during the next few weeks.
Upper Red Lake
Limits of walleyes have been common along most shorelines in 5 to 9 feet of water. A jig and minnow or slip bobber and minnow are working best. The Tamarac River also is providing consistent walleye fishing, and some anglers have reported finding numbers of crappies in 4 to 7 feet.
Lakes in the Bemidji area continue to warm slowly. Most lakes remained in the upper 40s early this week, which was slowing down the post-spawn recovery of walleyes. Jigs and shiners have produced the best action, but anglers also have reported doing well using fatheads, chubs and small suckers when shiners are unavailable. The walleye bite should continue to improve as surface water temperatures exceed 50 degrees.
Walleye fishing has been good, with the best action coming from 8 to 12 feet of water or, especially during windy days, as shallow as 4 to 6 feet. Fish are hitting jigs tipped with shiners or rainbow chubs, with gold and green among the best colors. Some anglers also have reported success trolling a live bait rig tipped with a crawler or leech. Getting away from the crowd also is a good idea. Some of the most productive areas have been Traders Bay, Pine Point, Stony Point, Ottertail and Grandview Flats. Some of the largest walleyes have been pulled from Bear Island and in and around Trappers Landing and Miller Bay on the south end of lake.
Walleye fishing has been decent, with both good numbers and keeper-size fish being reported. Shiners have been tough to find, making angling more difficult. Most of the walleye action has been in 12 to 18 feet of water, with jigs or live-bait rigs tipped with a minnow producing the best results. Areas on the west side to check out include Mallard down through Ravens Point. Along the north shore, check Big Stony over to the Pigeon River. The Gap has also been good, but fewer keepers are being reported. High Banks on the east side is producing good numbers, as are Snag Hole and The Stumps on the south. Perch are finishing their spawn, with plenty of fish being pulled from the same areas as the walleyes, but in shallower depths of 6 to 12 feet. This is the time of the year when 50- to 75-walleye days are not uncommon.
As of midweek, water temperatures continued to hover around 50 degrees on most area lakes, and anglers have reported catching male walleyes that were still “milking.” Two patterns have produced the best walleye action, depending on the lake: Jigs or live bait rigs with minnows in 4 to 11 feet of water, and jigs or rigs with minnows, leeches or crawlers in 22 to 30 feet. Panfish remain in the shallows and are just beginning to spawn. Look for the warmest shallow water weed pockets in 3 to 8 feet of water using tube jigs and live bait under bobbers. Tamarac, Height of Land, Toad and Melissa lakes are producing nice panfish catches, and the bite will continue to improve as water temperatures warm. Northern pike are active on most area lakes, slamming sucker minnows. Saturday’s Minnesota bass opener should be good as most bass are still on shallow spawning beds.