OUTDOORS REPORT: Fall fishing patterns are beginning to emerge; autumn colors are becoming more apparent
Lake of the Woods
Big Traverse Bay continues to produce good walleye fishing, and jigging is becoming a more productive tactic—a sure sign of fall—Lake of the Woods Tourism reports in its weekly update. Charter boats are reporting limits of eater-size walleyes, along with the occasional bigger fish. Crankbaits, spinners tipped with crawlers and jigs with frozen shiners all are producing fish in 15 feet to 31 feet of water in various locations along the south shore, and more walleyes are starting to show up in front of Lighthouse Gap, Lake of the Woods Tourism said. Shiners are showing up at the mouth and farther upstream along the Rainy River, and anglers are beginning to catch eater-size walleyes in the river. Look for more walleyes to move into the river as long as the shiner run continues.
Up at the Northwest Angle, look for walleyes on mud flats and areas farther south near Garden Island in 15 to 25 feet of water. Spinners, crankbaits and jigs all are producing fish, and anglers also are reporting some big perch mixed in with the walleyes and saugers.
Fishing reports are hard to come by this time of year as many people turn their attention to fall hunting seasons. Spinners and bottom bouncers with crawlers or even artificial Gulp!-brand crawlers produced walleyes in 19 feet of water earlier this week. Current areas near any of the bridges also are good bets in the fall.
Waterfowl season for North Dakota residents opens Saturday, and hunters should find good numbers of birds in the Lake Region.
Things are changing fast as they do every year about this time, and the low water and lack of current continues, Grand Forks catfish guide Brad Durick reports. Based on the forecast, water temperatures will plummet over the next week or so, he said.
Big catfish have become more active and are aggressively feeding to get ready for the winter. Durick suggests looking for the fish on the softer side of the current or in shallow areas adjacent to deeper water. Don't give a spot more than 20 minutes or so without a bite because fish are in the area. Frogs have been the hands-down best bait, Durick said, but catfish also will take suckers, either fresh or frozen. As mornings get colder, frogs will become less productive and catfish will feed more on cut baits, he said.
Walleye fishing is improving, but the good fall bite is slow to come, Dick Beardsley of Dick Beardsley's Fishing Guide Service reports. Water temperatures continue to hold in the upper 60s but likely will drop into the low 60s by this weekend with the onset of colder weather, Beardsley said. Jigs and minnows are producing, but keeping on the move is crucial, with best action in 10 to 16 feet of water, Beardsley said. Look to Bemidji, Grace, Andrusia and Wolf for the best walleye action. Pike are active on most area lakes, Beardsley said, and bass fishing remains excellent for anglers using a jig worm and Texas-rigged plastics on the deep side of the weed edges. Crappies remain fairly shallow in and around the cabbage, Beardsley said, with some fish beginning to suspend in the deeper basins as they typically do in the fall.
Fall colors update
• Grand Forks area: Lots of bright yellows and oranges, along with some lime green, red and purple, are emerging in the northern Red River Valley; color is at about 40 percent, North Dakota Tourism reports.
• Turtle River State Park, N.D.: About 30 percent of trees are showing yellows, golds and reds, North Dakota Tourism reports.
• Devils Lake: Color is at about 40 to 50 percent in various locations around the lake and Sullys Hill National Game Preserve, North Dakota Tourism said.
• Northwest Minnesota: Old Mill, Lake Bronson, Hayes Lake and Zippel Bay state parks and the Red River and Big Bog state recreation areas all are at 25 percent to 50 percent color, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said. Lake Bemidji and Itasca state parks are at 10 to 25 percent color.
• Pembina Gorge: Golds and yellows have begun appearing, and 30 to 40 percent of the trees are showing yellow, red and orange, according to North Dakota Tourism.
-- Herald staff reports