AREA FISHING REPORT: Cool, wet weather hampers action
Lake of the Woods Northern pike have been keeping anglers busy in the bays. Silver or red and white spoons are working best in the 8- to 15-foot weeds. The sturgeon bite continues to go strong with good reports coming off the Rainy River. Work th...
Lake of the Woods
Northern pike have been keeping anglers busy in the bays. Silver or red and white spoons are working best in the 8- to 15-foot weeds. The sturgeon bite continues to go strong with good reports coming off the Rainy River. Work the deep holes with nightcrawlers, plain hooks, and a weight. Farther upstream, anglers also are catching sturgeon at the mouth of the Little Fork River. Sturgeon season closes Saturday and reopens July 1.
Based on the early ice-out and this year's later walleye opener, anglers likely will find more walleyes in the lake than in Four-Mile Bay or the Rainy River when fishing season kicks off Saturday morning.
Just when spring was way ahead of schedule -- remember April? -- along came May and a whole new weather pattern: Cold temperatures, rain, lots of wind and even some frost in the mornings. According to Devils Lake fishing guide Jason Mitchell, the water temperature dropped from 55 degrees to the 46- to 49-degree range, and the change definitely affected fishing.
Spring walleye fishing typically is best in shallow water, Mitchell said, which warms up first. But it's going to take a few days of warmer temperatures to get the spring walleye bite rolling again.
In the meantime, Mitchell said, anglers still can catch pike pitching crankbaits in the shallows, but the best walleye action has been near current areas adjacent to bridges or culverts.
The rain and cold has really slowed down the catfish action this week, Grand Forks catfish guide Brad Durick reports. It appears the onset of the typical fast spring fishing has been set back about two weeks, he said.
The key right now, Durick said, is to fish as close to the shore as possible and try to stay out of the main current. Fish are being caught on the fast side of the breaks but most are small. Bigger cats are coming off the shallow break just out of the fast water in 3 to 6 feet of water. But they are really biting sluggish and require some extra time. With the faster current, it is taking 4 to 5 ounces of weight to fish pretty much anywhere right now. Fresh sucker and staying on the move are keys to success right now. The higher water is causing more debris to be floating so again, caution is a necessity for safety.
With warm weather in the forecast and no rain, river levels -- and catfish action -- should straighten out next week.
Upper Red Lake
A few crappies were being caught on the north shore, but the recent cold spell has slowed that bite. It should be a good walleye opener based on the number of fish being caught accidentally by crappie anglers in shallow water the past week.
With the recent cool and wet weather, crappie and sunfish reports have been limited. The few guys fishing haven't found much in the shallows, but look for those areas to again kick out panfish with the next stretch of warm weather. Lakes worth hitting include Midge, Kitchi, Big Turtle, Grant and Bemidji.
The weather has limited panfish activity, but once it warms, anglers will find sunfish and crappies in 3 to 10 feet of water. Small jigs tipped with minnows or leeches are worth pitching on lakes such as Gilstead, Turtle River, Gull, Rabideau, Beltrami and Blackduck.
Cass Lake area
The weather has really slowed the panfish action and limited the number of people fishing for perch, crappies and bluegills. Look shallow once it warms up.
Leech Lake area
A cold rain and some snow last weekend dropped water temperatures so perch and crappie reports were poor. Look to bays, boat harbors and channels to hold good numbers of panfish once the weather improves.