OUTDOORS REPORT: The latest on fishing success in the region
Lake of the Woods
Hammered gold spinner rigs tipped with crawlers or leeches continue to produce walleyes near Long Point and Garden Island in 28 to 34 feet of water. Walleye action also has been excellent at the Northwest Angle with live bait around Lily Island, Johnston Passage and Windfall Island in Ontario waters. Several 40- to 50-inch muskies also have been caught around the islands in Canada. The Rainy River is producing numbers of smallmouth bass farther upstream near International Falls, Minn.
Fishing during the past week has been a mixed bag, according to the most recent report from Ed's Bait Shop. Last week's hot, humid weather made for tough midday fishing, and the best fishing was early morning or later in the evening.
Best walleye action in many areas of the lake is coming from 12 to 20 feet of water in most areas of the lake, and trolling with crankbaits, spinners and bottom bouncers, or jigging and fishing with slip bobbers in the flooded timber all are producing fish.
In the Main Bay, look to Bird Island, Five Crows, Fort Totten Point, Cactus Point, New Mill and Old Mill bays and the towers in 18 to 35 feet of water if you're jigging and 15 to 25 feet of water if trolling.
Catfishing around Grand Forks is really pretty good this week, according to local catfish guide Brad Durick. The best bite has been tight in the wood along the shorelines in 8 to 12 feet of water. For numbers, the best action is coming from just upstream of root balls, but most of the cats have been on the small side. Larger fish are coming in the deeper holes alongside or behind the snags. Other areas that are producing bigger fish are mid-river troughs and smaller mid-river holes. Cut frozen sucker has been the best bait for fishing in the wood piles, while goldeye is outproducing everything for bigger fish.
The Drayton, N.D., stretch of river has not been fast and furious in terms of numbers, but the average size is outstanding, Durick said. Fish the deeper holes and troughs. Take extra time to find the deepest part of the hole with your electronics. Usually, you'll catch one or two fish per spot and then it's time to move. Make sure to give each spot 20 to 25 minutes before pulling up. Best bait has been goldeye, hands-down, with fresh cut sucker next. Frogs also are working, but the fish tend to be smaller.
For size and numbers, the Canadian stretch of the Red near Lockport, Man., is hard to beat right now, with frogs by far being the most productive bait.
Leech lake area
With the exception of some deep walleyes caught in Walker Bay, the day bite remains difficult. Crankbaits remain the best option for walleyes at night, with areas such as Sand Point, Cedar Point, Pine Point and Goose Island all giving up fish in 10 to 14 feet of water. Muskie anglers are seeing fish on the weeds in Portage Bay and on several weeded, main-lake flats. Look for bass to be hitting plastics in the rice of Steamboat Bay and Boy Bay. Miller's Bay remains the best option for panfish in 9 to 12 feet of water.
Walleyes are hitting crawlers and leeches on 4- to 6-foot live-bait rigs in the 8- to 11-foot weedbeds near Little Stony Point, Raven's Point and Sugar Point. Spoons and crankbaits are producing northern pike on the west- and east-side weed edges. Look for perch at the mouth of the river on the west side and on the 11- to 15-foot rock humps.
Minnows are working best for walleyes in 15 to 20 feet at Big Detroit Lake or in 20 to 25 feet at Big Cormorant Lake and Pelican Lake. Muskie action has been slower, but you'll still raise fish with CowGirls at Pelican and Big Detroit. Look for sunfish tight to the weedlines and crappies suspended off the weeds on Big Detroit, Big Cormorant, Lake Sallie and Floyd Lake.
Park Rapids area
Crankbaits trolled at night in 8 to 16 feet of water have produced a few walleyes at Long Lake. Lake George is kicking out pike in 14 feet on sucker minnows. Wacky-rigged worms are the ticket for bass on the weed lines of Fish Hook Lake. Lake Belle Taine remains the area's best option for bluegills in 12 to 14 feet. There's a topwater bite at night on Big Mantrap Lake for muskies, and rainbow trout are hitting crawlers fished over deep water at Bad Medicine Lake.