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Fishing report: Lake of the Woods, Devils Lake, Red River, more

Lake of the Woods Fishing has been good despite variable weather conditions, Lake of the Woods Tourism reported in its weekly update. A jig and a minnow in 15 to 30 feet of water is still the best tactic, but pulling spinners tipped with a crawle...

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Lake of the Woods

Fishing has been good despite variable weather conditions, Lake of the Woods Tourism reported in its weekly update. A jig and a minnow in 15 to 30 feet of water is still the best tactic, but pulling spinners tipped with a crawler or leech in 8 to 15 feet of water also is producing fish. Trolling crankbaits in the shallows later in the day is a good bet, as well.

Up at the Northwest Angle, resorts and guides are finding walleyes in 20 feet of water or less targeting points and pulling crawler harnesses or one-fourth ounce jigs tipped with minnows. Anglers also have reported catching a few walleyes off resort docks and in shallow bays. Fishing has been good. Muskie season opens Saturday in both Minnesota and Ontario waters.

Devils Lake

Anglers are catching walleyes in a variety of depths and locations right now, fishing guide Mark Bry reports. Walleyes continue to hit in 3 to 5 feet of water, he said, and more fish are showing up in 7 to 12 feet of water. Bry says anglers can expect more fish to move deeper as water temperatures rise. Look for water with a bit of algae and color for best results and avoid clear water areas. Best action is on wind-driven shorelines, Bry said, and walleyes, pike and white bass all are hitting in shallow water.

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Red River

Catfish are spawning, and the fish are finicky, at times, Grand Forks catfish guide Brad Durick says. Many anglers dread fishing during the spawn, but there still are catfish to be caught, Durick says. The key is sitting on a spot longer and using smaller baits to minimize the short bites. Look for cats in faster water mornings and evenings when fish that aren't spawning move in to feed. The rest of the time, anglers should focus on areas tight to shore where cats may be nesting or holding tight in structure such as rocks and snags. The Grand Forks area is holding good numbers of larger cats, so once spawning wraps up, anglers can expect catfish action to improve.

Leech Lake

The report for Leech is pretty simple: Find the bait, and you find the fish, fishing guide Jason Freed of Leisure Outdoor Adventures in Walker, Minn., reports. Fishing has been sporadic, and anglers should take advantage of feeding windows for best walleye action. Walleyes are hitting in depths ranging from 5 to 25 feet depending on the day and weather factors such as wind and sunlight. The jig-and-minnow technique has slowed, Freed said, but anglers who can find spottail shiners will encounter walleyes by pitching a jig and minnow into cabbage weeds or along windblown shorelines. Otherwise, a live bait rig tipped with a leech or crawler has been producing the best results. On the main lake, fishing the edges of the reefs in 10 to 15 feet of water has been the best bet, Freed said, as well as GrandView Flats in 10 to 15 feet of water. Freed recommends trolling slowly-.4 mph to .6 mph-when using live bait rigs or faster than 1.2 mph when using spinners. Anglers trolling crankbaits along breaklines and flats to cover water also are encountering a few fish. With the abundance of bait in the system, walleyes aren't overly active so Freed recommends anglers be versatile and try different techniques.

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 bdokken@gfherald.com, by phone at (701) 780-1148 or on Twitter at @gfhoutdoor.
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