FISHING REPORT: Lake of the Woods, Devils Lake, Red River, Bemidji area

Lake of the Woods Walleye action remains strong on the big lake, Lake of the Woods Tourism reports in its weekly update. Resorts are jig fishing, drifting spinners with live bait and downrigging with crankbaits in 28 to 32 feet of water, where go...

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Lake of the Woods

Walleye action remains strong on the big lake, Lake of the Woods Tourism reports in its weekly update. Resorts are jig fishing, drifting spinners with live bait and downrigging with crankbaits in 28 to 32 feet of water, where good numbers of 16- to 18-inch walleyes are being reported, along with the occasional trophy fish. Areas near Garden Island and 9 to 12 miles off Pine Island are holding fish.

Up at the Northwest Angle, deepwater areas with mud bottoms are producing walleyes for anglers fishing spinners and bottom bouncers with crawlers or trolling crankbaits. Areas around Four Blocks and Little Oak Island have held good fish in Minnesota waters. In Ontario waters, walleyes are relating to offshore structure and deep mud, where spinners have been the most productive.


Devils Lake


The walleyes on Devils Lake are really on the feed, Mark Bry of Bry's Guide Service said Wednesday. Anglers are catching walleyes of many different sizes, he said, and catching a limit of 15- to 20-inch fish is very probable. Several parts of the lake hold bait this time of year, so anglers should cover water until they locate active fish. The old shoreline has been very good in 22 to 26 feet of water, Bry said, along with shallower areas in 10 to 18 feet of water.

Anglers are having their best luck pulling bottom bouncers and spinners tipped with a crawler, vertical jigging with a crawler or trolling crank baits. Pike action is spotty, but anglers are catching a few along with the walleyes. White bass action has been good in shallow water along rip rap or weed line areas, Bry said.


Red River

Catfish are in a full-blown summer pattern, which means they are spread out but also very hungry, Grand Forks catfish guide Brad Durick reports. In the Grand Forks area, at least, anglers should not expect big numbers of fish, but the average size makes up for it, he said. The best spots during the day are midriver holes with visible current, Durick said-the faster the current the better. The cats will be either right at the head of a hole in the fastest current or just out of the fast water on the current break. If you find fish, it seems to be a "one and done" situation on the smaller holes, Durick said. Anglers who move every 15 to 20 minutes can expect to put some nice fish in the boat. During low light hours, Durick suggests fishing flats near faster water. Cut suckers have produced the best action of late, he said, but cats also are showing a liking for frogs, which is common this time of year.

Farther north, water levels in Drayton, N.D., finally are back where they should be, Durick said. The downtown ramp is good to go, and the north one should not be very far behind, he said.


Bemidji area


The dog days of summer are at hand, and with water temperatures sitting near 74 degrees, many lakes in the area look like pea soup from algae, Matt Breuer of North Country Guide Service said.

Finding active pods of fish during calm, hot days can be tough, Breuer said, but versatile anglers definitely can figure things out. If it's calm and hot, he suggests either staying home and heading out during low-light hours when the walleyes are feasting in shallow. Anglers also should look to deep water with lead core line, live bait rigs with creek chubs or spinners with crawlers in 20 to 31 feet of water. When the wind blows, the walleyes will eat all day, and anglers can expect to find fish in shallow on mid-lake structure or wind-blown shorelines.

Muskie fishing is hot, Breuer said, but with the warm water temperatures, he recommends being extra cautious to avoid overstressing the fish, especially on hot days with no wind. Better yet, he says, leave them alone completely; the best muskie fishing is just around the corner.

Panfish are still hiding in the deep cabbage weeds in most lakes in the Bemidji area, as are the bass, Breuer said. Panfish and largemouth bass love the warmer water temperatures and are easy to catch this time of year.

More info:

-- 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.
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