FISHING REPORT: How they're biting around the region

Lake of the Woods Walleye fishing is strong, and the fish are being caught all over the lake as they transition into midsummer mode, Lake of the Woods Tourism said in this week's fishing report. Anglers are reporting both limits and trophy walley...

Lake of the Woods

Walleye fishing is strong, and the fish are being caught all over the lake as they transition into midsummer mode, Lake of the Woods Tourism said in this week's fishing report. Anglers are reporting both limits and trophy walleyes for pictures. A variety of methods are producing fish, including jigging, trolling, drifting and downrigging. Try areas around Lighthouse Gap, Archie's Reef and deep water off Stony Point, Garden Island and Little Oak. Crankbaits and spinners tipped with crawlers or leeches are a good bet in 6 feet to 15 feet of water, while jigs are working best in 18 feet to 22 feet or 25 feet to 32 feet of water.

Up at the Northwest Angle, Scott Edman of Edman's Angling Adventures said a lot of launches from the south end of the lake are still running north to fish Minnesota waters near Little Oak Island and the reefs around Oak and Crowduck islands. In Ontario waters, the mayfly hatch is winding down, Edman said, and reef fishing has been good, with numbers of walleyes longer than 18 inches showing up. Pike and muskies have been active, as well, Edman said, and a lot of big fish are being caught and sighted. Smallmouth bass are active, he said, and lake trout anglers venturing to deeper areas such as Whitefish Bay are bringing back some good fish, with morning hours producing the best action.

Devils Lake

The old saying "90 percent of the fish are in 10 percent of the water" is certainly holding true right now in Devils Lake, Mark Bry of Bry's Guide Service said in his latest report. Locations can change from one day to the next, so covering water is crucial, he said. Trolling spinners with live bait or soft plastics is producing the best action, Bry said, with most of the fish coming from 7 feet to 15 feet of water. Pike fishing has become spottier with the warmer water temperatures, but anglers continue to catch northerns mixed in with the walleyes. Look for white bass in shallow water along rocky shorelines. Bry said anglers can expect fish to slide into deeper water as summer progressed.


Red River

Catfishing on the Red continues to improve now that the fish are done spawning, Grand Forks catfish guide Brad Durick said. Bigger fish are becoming much more common again, he said, with midriver holes and dropoffs on the outside edges of bends in the river producing the best action. Cut goldeye is the bait of choice, but suckers are working, and Durick said he's hearing reports of frogs beginning to produce as well. The water temperature is about 80 degrees, and best action is during the morning and evening hours. Anglers should give each spot 20 to 30 minutes. With fairly stable weather in the forecast, the good catfish action should hold on for quite some time. In related news, openings remain for the 28th annual Cats Incredible catfish tournament, set for Aug. 1-2 on the Red River out of LaFave Park in East Grand Forks. For more information, including entry forms, check out the East Grand Forks firefighters' union website at and click the Cats Incredible link near the top of the page.

Bemidji area

Fishing in the Bemidji area has taken a bit of a hit, and anglers have to work harder for their walleyes than they did a couple of weeks ago, Matt Breuer of Northcountry Guide Service reports. The jig bite is a thing of the past, Breuer said, and people rigging crawlers or leeches on the breaklines are starting to out-produce the anglers fishing with jigs in shallower water. Bottom bouncers and spinners tipped with crawlers also are working very well on outside weed edges and off the breaks. The crankbait bite remains good over the sand and cabbage, as well as around midlake rocks and rubble. Trolling Salmo Hornets at 2.4 mph in 6 feet to 11 feet of water has been working well, Breuer said. Bass are hot right now, with smallmouths on the ledges waiting to ambush their next meal, and largemouths in the deep vegetation soaking in the 77-degree water temps. Look for panfish in deep cabbage, and work it over with safety pin spinners or a bobber and waxworm. Midlake structure with cabbage is the best place to find panfish this time of year, Breuer said. Muskie anglers are reporting a hot bite, Breuer said, with people seeing or catching fish on almost every trip. Breuer said many of his walleye clients have lost baits or even fish because of muskies being overly aggressive.

Leech Lake

Fishing definitely has slowed down in the past seven days, reports Jason Freed of Leisure Outdoor Adventures in Walker, Minn. Anglers are still catching a few walleyes, but with the amount of bait in the water, the fish don't have to work very hard to find a meal, Freed said. For some reason, this time of July each year after all of the bug hatches are complete always seems to be the "dog days of summer" on Leech Lake, Freed said. Fishing is best on windy days, he said, with spinners or live bait rigs producing the best action in 12 feet to 20 feet of water. This also is the time of year to pull out the crankbait box and work the steep edges of structure and basins such as Paris Trench and the steeps breaks found by Pipe Island and Rogers Point. Muskie fishing is starting to pick up; anglers continue find fish in the cabbage, but main lake rocks are beginning to produce more action. Portage, Sucker, Uran and Kabekona bays all have been good for seeing and catching a few fish. Freed also suggests exploring smaller lakes in the area, which can produce exceptional fishing for bass, panfish, walleyes and northern pike. If Leech isn't producing, anglers willing to explore can hit two or three smaller lakes in a day, Freed said.

-- compiled by Brad Dokken

Brad Dokken joined the Herald company in November 1985 as a copy editor for Agweek magazine and has been the Grand Forks Herald's outdoors editor since 1998.

Besides his role as an outdoors writer, Dokken has an extensive background in northwest Minnesota and Canadian border issues and provides occasional coverage on those topics.

Reach him at, by phone at (701) 780-1148 or on Twitter at @gfhoutdoor.
What To Read Next
Get Local