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OUTDOORS REPORT: Area fishing and hunting report

Lake of the Woods

The big news in the border country is coming from the Rainy River, where the public landing at Nelson Park in Birchdale, Minn., now is clear of snow and ice, and accessible for larger boats. About 10 miles downstream, open water was visible from the Frontier Landing 17 miles east of Baudette, Minn., on Wednesday afternoon, and the ramp was expected to be accessible for small boats sliding across the ice sometime Thursday. Typical of spring fishing on the Rainy, action has been good with many trophy-size pre-spawn walleyes being reported. The window of opportunity is short, though, because Mondayis the last day of the season on Rainy River, Lake of the Woods and other Minnesota-Ontario border waters. After that, the focus will shift to sturgeon.

Meanwhile on Lake of the Woods, reports from the ice early this week indicated walleyes, saugers and perch were hitting in 19 to 22 feet of water during the morning and evening hours or in 31 to 33 feet during the day from Arnesen’s, Sixteen-Mile Reed, Long Point and Zippel Bay. From Morris Point and the Lighthouse Gap up to the Canadian border, 15 to 26 feet has been best. No vehicles are being used on the lake, but snowmobiles and ATVs were being allowed. Northern pike fishing has improved in 8 to 10 feet of water near Zippel Bay and Graceton Beach and in 9 to 12 feet moving east toward Bostic Bay, Four-Mile Bay and Lighthouse Gap. Conditions, especially near shorelines, can change in a hurry this time of year so anyone venturing onto the ice should use extreme caution and check with area resorts or bait shops for the most recent updates.

Devils Lake

Many anglers still were driving on the ice last weekend, but shoreline accesses were rapidly deteriorating by Sunday afternoon and likely have gotten worse with the warmer weather of the past few days. If it isn’t already, foot travel soon will be the only option, and anyone venturing onto the ice should use extreme caution — or wait for the open water that will be here soon.

Bemidji area

Most shorelines remain intact, but the accesses have started to get beat up so ATVs are the way to go heading into this weekend. Perch action remains consistent over 12 to 34 feet of water on Lake Bemidji and in 18 to 22 feet on Lake Plantagenet. Look to Turtle River Lake for bluegills in 12 feet or to Medicine Lake, Campbell Lake and Kitchi Lake for crappies; finding numbers of crappies has been difficult.

Blackduck area

Perch are scattered between 6 and 25 feet of water on Island Lake and anglers have to sort through quite a few small fish. Blackduck Lake is giving up bigger perch in 6 to 10 feet, but not as many numbers as Island. You’ll also hook crappies on Blackduck in 20 feet, while bluegills continue to hit in 12 to 18 feet on Gull Lake and Pimushe Lake.

Leech Lake

You still have to do some sorting, but perch remain active in Agency Bay over 10 to 12 feet of water, off Sand Point and Cedar Point in 8 to 10 feet and on the main lake around Goose Island, the Hardwoods, and Duck Points in 6 to 8 feet. Tullibee action off Stony Point has been best during the morning hours over 30 to 45 feet, and Shingobee Bay has started producing panfish in 15 to 20 feet.

Lake Winnibigoshish

Fishing reports have been limited now that most resorts have closed their accesses for the season. The few anglers fishing are traveling at their own risk off public access points, but main-lake ice conditions are favorable.

Detroit Lakes

ATVs are now being used since many access points on area lakes have started to get beat up. Crappies and sunfish are being found suspended over 6 to 14 feet of water on Lake Melissa, Sour Lake, Floyd Lake, Severson Lake and Big Detroit Lake. Tullibee reports have dipped a bit, but Long Lake and Loon Lake continue to produce fish, most of which are suspended over 30 to 60 feet.

Park Rapids area

By this weekend, ATVs will be the best travel option on most lakes. Look for bluegills in 10 to 12 feet on the Crow Wing Chain and Lake George. The Mill Pond area of Straight Lake continues to produce bluegills in 12 feet and look for suspended crappies over 25 feet on Big Mantrap Lake.

N.D. light goose update

Snow geese have been steadily moving into North Dakota the past several days, but how long they stay will depend on snow conditions north of the border. As the snow melts in Canada, the birds will continue to race north. Temperatures are expected to decline from highs in the 50s today in northeast North Dakota to the mid-30s by Monday.