OUTDOORS REPORT: Area fishing report
Lake of the Woods
Crawlers are producing walleyes in the afternoon hours near Long Point, Zippel Bay or Graceton Beach in 16 to 20 feet of water or by jigging in 32 feet. Jigging also is working in 25 to 30 feet near Morris Point and Pine Island. Walleye reports are strong heading north to the sand bars of Little Oak, West Bar near Garden Island and Bridges Island pulling hammered gold spinners with live bait. Water levels are extremely high, and anglers and boaters should use caution and be on the lookout for logs and other floating debris.
Up at the Northwest Angle, Scott Edman of Edman’s Angling Adventures said that despite the weather and rising water, fishing has been good for all species, with walleyes and jumbo perch showing up on reefs and points in the Canadian islands. Don’t be afraid to go deep and fish on the mud around structure if the fish are not on top, Edman said. Muskie anglers have been doing well in sand bays and boulder areas. Weeds are still somewhat hard to find, Edman said, but any isolated stands will hold fish. Edman said some of the back bays continue to produce big northern pike, but most of the fish now have moved to deeper water. Smallmouth bass fishing has been exceptional along the boulder shorelines. The mayfly hatch hasn’t hit yet, but many of the fish being caught are full of the larvae so it won’t be long. In Minnesota waters, anglers have been working the Flag Island flats area, as well as Brush and Little Oak islands.
Fishing for walleyes is “on fire,” reports John Adams of Big John’s Guide Service in Devils Lake. Easy limits of walleyes in the 15- to 18-inch range have been the norm with the occasional 20-plus-inch fish being caught. Trolling bottom bouncers and spinners with live bait in depths down to 20 feet of water is common now, Adams said, as walleyes start their transition to summer structure. At the same time, though, anglers continue to take walleyes in as shallow as 5 feet of water on jigs and slip bobber rigs. Good reports also are coming from Pelican Lake, Adams said.
In the East Bay and East Devils Lake areas, Mark Bry of Bry’s Guide Service said walleyes continue to hit jig-and-plastic combos or crankbaits in 4 to 8 feet of water, while trolling crankbaits or bottom bouncer-spinner rigs with live bait is working well in 8 to 14 feet. More algae is showing up, Bry said, which is helping to give the water more color and making it easier to catch fish in shallow. Anglers can expect to catch pike, white bass, walleyes and perch in shallow water, Bry said.
Fishing in the Grand Forks area is on hold because of flooding river levels, but anglers venturing north to the Canadian side of the Red near Lockport, Man., have reported doing well on big catfish, many in the 20- to 25-pound range. The river is much wider near Lockport and the high water more manageable, but the current is strong. Look for fish tight to shore out of the strongest current and fish with either cut suckers or goldeyes for best results.
Upper Red Lake
Limits of walleyes are still being caught with minnows and jigs on the southwest shore in 8 to 9 feet of water. Trolling crankbaits or spinner rigs has produced walleyes in 5 to 9 feet on most other shorelines. A few crappies and northern pike are being caught accidentally by walleye anglers in less than 10 feet.
Cabbage beds on Lake Bemidji for walleyes with a jig and minnow or live-bait rig and crawler. Lake Plantagenet is producing walleyes, typically on the wind-driven side of the lake in less than 11 feet of water. The bigger muskies have started hitting small bucktails on the shoreline weeds of Bemidji, and Balm Lake remains a hot spot for largemouth bass. Look to Three Island Lake for bluegills and Big Turtle Lake for a mixed panfish bag in less than 6 feet of water.
On Blackduck Lake, walleyes are hitting live bait rigs and leeches during the day in 10 to 16 feet of water and crankbaits in the evenings in shallower water. At Gull Lake and Island Lake, walleyes are hitting in 14 to 16 feet during the day and 10 feet during low-light periods. Look to bulrushes on Gilstead Lake, Pimushe Lake and Gull for crappies and bluegills.
Cass Lake area
Live-bait rigs tipped with leeches or crawlers are producing walleyes on main-lake bars of Cass Lake in 15 to 17 feet of water. The 8- to 10-foot weed edges in Allen’s Bay on Cass and Kitchi Lake are holding crappies. Look for perch off Long Point and the east side of Star Island on Cass in less than 6 feet of water and out to 8 feet. Pike action has been strong with spinnerbaits on the weedlines of most lakes.
Peak summer action is beginning, and there are fish of all sizes to be had, according to Jason Freed of Leisure Outdoor Adventures. Fishing has been sporadic, at times, with the unstable weather but searching and time on the water typically have led to success. On the main lake, the mayfly hatch is beginning, and walleyes are showing up in traditional rocky areas such as Mokey Reef, Annex, Sub and areas around Pelican Island. Fish with a live bait rig or bottom bouncer and crawler or leech in 11 to 16 feet of water or try pulling spinners to cover ground. Transition areas where the bottom turns from gravel to mud or sand to mud can be especially productive. Windblown shoreline breaks on the south end along with the major points such as Rogers and Diamond are also producing fish on the right days on live bait rigs, slip bobbers and by trolling crankbaits. Walleye bite in Walker Bay also has been good, Freed said, with shoreline breaks or nearby humps producing fish in 12 to 20 feet of water. Live bait rigs with a leech or crawler have worked best, but pitching a jig and shiner up onto windblown shorelines also can be productive, Freed said.
Spinner rigs tipped with leeches or crawlers are producing walleyes on Long Bar and Bena Bar in 15 to 22 feet of water. Lindy rigs and live bait are producing walleyes in 10 to 12 feet on the weedlines near the Bird House, off Little Stony Point and Moxes Hole. Perch action continues to be slow, and northern pike are mixed with the walleyes on most weedlines.
Drifting or trolling crawlers and leeches in 12 to 18 feet has produced walleyes on lakes Sallie, Melissa, Big Detroit, Deadshot Bay, Pelican and Big Cormorant. Bass and northern pike are hitting on the established weedlines of most lakes, while panfish are roaming the shorelines out to 12 feet on Severson Lake, Cotton Lake, Big Detroit, Sallie, Little Detroit Lake, Sour Lake and Little Detroit Lake.
Park Rapids area
Walleyes are hitting leeches, crawlers, and some minnows in 20 to 22 feet of water on Potato Lake and Fish Hook Lake. Look to Potato for smallmouth bass, as well. Sunfish are biting on Big Toad Lake in 12 feet, and Big Mantrap Lake is kicking out crappies in 12 to 16 feet. The Crow Wing Chain is a safe bet for panfish in 14 to 16 feet, and largemouth bass are an easy catch along the 12- to 14-foot weeds of Lake Belle Taine and Straight Lake.