Area fishing and hunting report

Lake of the Woods With the shiners starting to run, walleye action is improving on the Rainy River in 10 to 25 feet of water. Most walleyes have been of the eating-sized variety so look for bigger fish to start showing up soon. On the main lake, ...

Lake of the Woods

With the shiners starting to run, walleye action is improving on the Rainy River in 10 to 25 feet of water. Most walleyes have been of the eating-sized variety so look for bigger fish to start showing up soon. On the main lake, a jig and frozen shiner minnow is a good bet for walleyes in 20 to 30 feet in front of Pine Island, Morris Point Gap, Zippel Bay and Long Point area. Heavier jigs work best in the current areas, and fishing the Northwest Angle area will find crappies and jumbo perch in the mix, especially in Canadian waters. Muskies and northern pike also have started to get more active on the Ontario side of the lake, where jerkbaits or large crankbaits are producing fish along rocky areas adjacent to deep water.

Devils Lake

Walleyes continue to cooperate despite the recent wind, rain and cold, according to Devils Lake fishing guide Mark Bry. Best action has been in the current along any of the bridges, Bry said. Water temperatures have dropped dramatically and with the recent rainfall, more current is flowing through the bridges, which in turn is attracting walleyes. The key, Bry said, is to find the "spot on the spot" at one of the bridges. Some days, it is in the middle of the current; other days, it is on or near the edges, he said. Anglers should troll around until they find the best spot. Fish are hitting everything from jigs and minnows to blade baits and soft plastic baits. When the wind allows, Bry said, walleyes also are hitting off deeper points and drop-offs, either by trolling crankbaits or live-bait rigs. The majority of the walleyes have been in the 14- to 18-inch range, Bry said, with some up to 27 inches. Fishing has been "fantastic" and very consistent, Bry said, and several "nice-sized" pike have been mixed in with the walleyes.

Bemidji area


Jigs and minnows are producing walleyes in 16 to 20 feet of water on Lake Bemidji and 10 to 12 feet on Lake Plantagenet. Muskie reports have been limited, but anglers can look for crappies to be most active during low-light periods on Big Lake in 10 to 14 feet. Grouse hunters continue to find more birds than expected, duck-hunting pressure has dropped, and although bow hunters are seeing deer, there hasn't been many taken.

Blackduck area

Anglers are finding crappies suspended and bluegills tight to the bottom over 20 feet of water on Pimushe Lake, Gull Lake, Rabideau Lake and Gilstead Lake. Walleyes are hitting minnows in 16 to 20 feet on Island Lake and 9 feet on Blackduck Lake. The cover is now gone so grouse hunting has improved and duck hunters are shooting more divers, with mallards and teal in the mix, as well.

Upper Red Lake

Wind and low-water conditions have kept boat traffic to a minimum so there hasn't been much for walleye or northern pike reports. Grouse hunters are finding good numbers of birds now that the cover is eliminated, while waterfowl hunters are shooting geese and what remains of the local duck population.

Cass Lake area

Walleyes are hitting redtails and creek chubs along the 8-foot cabbage on the southwest end of Cass Lake. The northeast side of Star Island on Cass is giving up walleyes in 18 to 20 feet of water, as is Boomerang Bar in 10 to 12 feet. Perch continue to hit along the reed edges in 4 to 6 feet, and muskies are hitting slow-trolled sucker minnows over deep water on Cass and Wolf Lake. Look for suspended crappies over 30 to 32 feet on the north arm of Kitchi Lake and Wolf. Some northern-flight ducks have moved into the area, and grouse hunting continues to be very good.

Leech Lake


A jig and minnow is providing consistent walleye action on the wind-driven points, shoreline breaks and flats in 6 to 9 feet of water. The humps in Walker Bay are kicking out walleyes during the day in 20 feet or deeper, and there are plenty of walleyes hitting crankbaits at night in less than 10 feet. Perch action also has been strong with fish coming out of 4 to 9 feet from Sand Point to Cedar Point, Portage Bay and GrandVu Flats. Muskie anglers are catching fish, but not a lot of big muskies, of late. Duck hunters continue to shoot local birds with a few ringnecks and redheads in the mix, and grouse hunting has been best north and east of the immediate area.

Lake Winnibigoshish

Walleye action hasn't been fast and furious with fish being found scattered on the bars in 16 to 18 feet of water or on the shoreline breaks and points in 6 to 9 feet. A minnow and jig or live-bait rig continues to produce most of the fish. The points and 6- to 10-foot breaks on the west side are the best perch options, and anglers will find northern pike mixed with the walleyes and perch.

Detroit Lakes

Walleyes continue to hit minnows in 22 to 24 feet of water on Big Detroit Lake, Lake Melissa, Big Cormorant Lake, Middle Cormorant Lake and Pelican Lake. Muskies are hitting large sucker minnows in 10 to 12 feet on Big Detroit, and anglers are finding crappies suspended over 20 to 24 feet on Melissa, Big Detroit, Floyd Lake and Severson Lake. Archery hunters are seeing good numbers of deer, but there hasn't been a big push of new ducks into the area.

Park Rapids area

Walleye action has improved with big minnows on Lake George in 14 to 16 feet of water and Big Sand Lake in 26 feet. Look to the shallow rocks during the evening hours on both lakes. Fish Hook Lake is producing walleyes in 18 feet on rainbow chubs, as is Potato Lake in 14 feet. Look to Big Mantrap Lake with large minnows for muskies, the Crow Wing Chain for northern pike in 8 to 12 feet, and Lake Belle Taine for crappies in 12 feet. Grouse hunters are finding pockets of birds, and duck hunter numbers have dropped.

Area waterfowl update


• Devils Lake area: Cooler weather has pushed some birds down from Canada, but not as many as expected, according to Mark Fisher, district biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Devils Lake. Fisher said he wasn't seeing big numbers of snow geese early in the week but that could change any time. Swans are beginning to show up, Fisher said, which is a sign the northern birds are beginning to move. There still are good numbers of ducks and large Canada geese in the area, although blue-winged teal numbers are way down, Fisher said. That's not surprising, he added, since they are the earliest ducks to migrate.

• Roseau River Wildlife Management Area near Badger, Minn.: There's been very little freezing of the refuge's managed pools or the Roseau River since the Oct. 4 blizzard, which produced more than 12 inches of snow, the equivalent of 2.35 inches of rain. That resulted in a slight rise in water levels in both the pools and the river. Wood ducks and blue-winged teal, which are among the earliest migrants, mostly have left the area, but green-winged teal, mallards, scaup and redheads have become more abundant, the Department of Natural Resources said Thursday in its weekly waterfowl update. Ring-necked ducks remain the most abundant duck; the storm pushed out many Canada geese, but snow geese and sandhill cranes have persisted. Duck hunters averaged 3.5 birds per day in the bag during the weekend.

• Thief Lake WMA near Middle River, Minn.: Access remains challenging as low water levels persist, despite 10 inches of snow last week. New migrant Canada geese arrived Wednesday night, and cranes and snow geese still are present. The past week has seen an increasing proportion of diver ducks in the bag, particularly redheads. Hunter numbers have increased slightly in the past week, and success has varied from 1.8 to 3.1 ducks per hunter per day.

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