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OUTDOOR REPORT: Walleyes are moving into fall patterns, DNR predicts strong fall color season

Lake of the Woods

Walleyes are moving closer to shorelines with the onset of fall temperatures, Lake of the Woods Tourism reports in its weekly update. Anglers have reported catching more walleyes in front of Lighthouse Gap near the mouth of the Rainy River, where crankbaits and spinners with crawlers or shiners are producing the best results. Big schools of walleyes continue to roam the "no man's land" of Big Traverse Bay, the report said, and reefs also are producing well.

Up at the Northwest Angle, anglers have reported mixed bags of walleye and perch limits in Minnesota waters, with fish being found anywhere from the 14- to 18-foot depths to as deep as 25 to 28 feet of water. In Canadian waters, crankbaits have been producing larger walleyes, the report said, while pulling spinners and bottom bouncers or jigging the deeper waters between reefs is yielding fish, as well. Look for crappies in 30 feet of water or deeper off points, where jigging with a minnow is a proven tactic.

Devils Lake

Walleyes appear to be in transition, and anglers are catching fish both shallow and deep, Mark Bry of Bry's Guide Service said. There's an abundance of bait in the lake right now, and that adds to the challenge, at times. Look for walleyes to move onto deep structure such as humps, rocks, flooded roads and points as fall progresses, Bry said. Current areas also are a good bet in the fall.

This time of year also offers the bonus of hunting, and early goose, archery and dove seasons already are open, while grouse and partridge seasons open Saturday.

Bemidji area

Walleye action is improving with cooler air and water temperatures, but wind has made boat control difficult, at times, Dick Beardsley of Dick Beardsley Fishing Guide Service reports. Work weedlines and breaks with jigs or live bait rigs tipped with minnows in 12 to 14 feet of water. Pike remain active off the weedlines, as well, and bass are holding both along the outside and inside edges of weedlines. Crappies and bluegills are holding in and around cabbage weed in 8 to 12 feet of water, Beardsley said, with small jigs tipped with soft plastics providing the best action.

Fall color outlook

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is predicting a good fall color season, the result of adequate rainfall across most of the state and an abundance of summer sun. Northwest Minnesota saw less rain this summer than some parts of the state, but sometimes less rain—though not drought conditions—actually can increase the color display, the DNR said.

Fall colors appear when the green pigment in chlorophyll breaks down, revealing the yellow that always is present in leaves. The yellow leaves, found in ash, aspen, basswood, birch, cottonwood and elm, may be short in lifespan because of drought conditions. Colors typically peak between mid-September and early October in the northern third of Minnesota, between late September and early October in the central third of the state and between late September and mid-October in the southern third, which includes the Twin Cities.

Starting this week and continuing every Thursday throughout fall, the DNR will post weekly updates, photos and more on its Fall Color Finder at mndnr.gov/fallcolors.

-- Herald staff report

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