LAKE OF THE WOODS/ RAINY RIVERRainy River is holding steady. The Clementson, Birchdale and Frontier areas continue to produce nice limits of walleyes. Farther upstream, anglers are catching walleyes at the mouth of the Littlefork River, below the...


RAINY RIVERRainy River is holding steady. The Clementson, Birchdale and Frontier areas continue to produce nice limits of walleyes. Farther upstream, anglers are catching walleyes at the mouth of the Littlefork River, below the dam in International Falls, Minn., and at Ranier Rapids east of International Falls.

If you're heading to the lake, Morris Point and Lighthouse Gap have been favorite spots. Anchored and jigging is still the way to go; pink, gold and green have been the top colors.DEVILS LAKEBetween wind and deer season, there's not many people fishing these days, according to the latest report from Ed's Bait Shop. A few people are having success jigging with minnows on deeper rocky points in the Fort Totten and Rocky Point areas, Five Crows and Military Point. Shore anglers are catching a few walleyes at the bridges and along the coulees, the report said, but ice soon will hamper access to these areas.BEMIDJI AREAThe few anglers who continue to work Lake Bemidji and Lake Plantagenet are catching walleyes on minnows. Plantagenet also gave up a few muskies this week, and the bigger pike are up shallow chasing tullibees on Lake Bemidji.N.D. WATERFOWL UPDATERecent warm temperatures have encouraged some ducks and geese to remain in North Dakota beyond their typical departure date. However, the birds could be on their way out any day now, according to this week's report from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Here's a look at some areas worth exploring:

-- Devils Lake area: Northeastern North Dakota may be witnessing the final stage of the waterfowl migration. Biologist Cami Dixon of the Devils Lake Wetland Management District reports seeing large flocks of snow geese scattered throughout the area. She also is finding large rafts of scaup and other diving ducks on deeper water. Dixon says most of the corn has been harvested, presenting additional field hunting opportunities.


-- Valley City area: Large numbers of mallards have gathered on big wetlands north of Valley City, with smaller numbers to the south. Biologist Matt VanThuyne of the Valley City Wetland Management District also reports good-sized flocks of snow geese west of Litchville, N.D. He says some diving ducks also have moved into the area. VanThuyne believes the best opportunities are for field hunters.

-- Des Lacs National Wildlife Refuge near Kenmare: The refuge has posted a large increase in snow goose numbers, but manager Dan Severson says strong winds and colder temperatures could force them out. He observed snow geese migrating out of Canada on Tuesday and reported as many as 300,000 on the refuge on Wednesday. Another 10,000 mallards and 3,000 Canada geese also were using the refuge at midweek.

-- Crosby area: About 100,000 snow geese were still present in Divide County at midweek, split between the Crosby and Noonan areas. Refuge manager Tim Kessler of the Crosby Wetland Management District says very few ducks and Canada geese remained, although both were present in large numbers just across the border in Canada, and they occasionally come south to feed.

-- Upper Souris NWR northwest of Minot: About 100,000 snow geese have made their way to the area. Biologist Duane Anderson says the refuge also was holding 2,000 Canada geese, about 15,000 ducks - mostly mallards - and 500 tundra swans at midweek. He warns that strong northwesterly winds and colder temperatures may drive many of the birds out.

-- Southeast: Good numbers of snow geese and Canada geese have reached Sargent and Ransom counties. Biologist Kristine Askerooth of Tewaukon National Wildlife Refuge says some mallards are spread out through much of southeastern North Dakota, but no large numbers of diving ducks are being reported. She suggests hunters try the Kraft Slough area, as well as the Milnor and Oakes areas.

-- Sand Lake NWR near Aberdeen, S.D.: Snow geese continue to pour into the refuge. Biologist Bill Schultze says the snow goose population jumped from 220,000 last week to 380,000 Wednesday. Wetlands opened up during the past week, but the number of ducks using them has decreased. Schultze pegs the refuge's duck population at 125,000, but says the number of Canada geese in the area has dropped from 5,000 to 4,000, while the tundra swan population held steady at 2,400.MINNESOTA WATERFOWL UPDATEMost reports indicate very few migrant birds were observed or moved into the state with the passage of the cold front this week and the strong northwest winds that developed. Hunting pressure remains very light.

Here's a closer look at some key spots in northwestern Minnesota:

-- Thief Lake Wildlife Management Area near Middle River, Minn.: Waterfowl hunting was minimal during deer season. Geese and mallards remain on the marsh, but they mainly roost in the sanctuary and fly out to feed in nearby fields. Duck hunting on the lake is focused on divers and is very weather dependent.


-- Roseau River WMA north of Badger, Minn.: There was no aerial survey this week, but deer hunters reported observing a few large flocks of mallards in the area over the weekend. A few flocks of Canada geese and tundra swans also have been observed.

-- Thief River Falls: A fair number of geese remain on the river in Thief River Falls, and more migrant birds are showing up in the area. There are a few mallards around, but duck numbers, overall, are low. Most hunters have packed up for the season, aside from a few die-hard field hunters.

- Herald staff and wire reports

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