Outdoor Report: Fishing reports hold strong, wildflowers bloom and best yet to come with fall colors
Lake of the Woods
Anglers are finding walleyes all along the south shore, with a big school of fish continuing to hold in front of Lighthouse Gap past the mouth of the Rainy River in 28 feet to 30 feet of water, Lake of the Woods Tourism reports in its weekly update. Trolling crankbaits, drifting spinners or jigging while anchored all are producing fish, Lake of the Woods Tourism said. A few emerald shiners are showing up in the Rainy River, but it’s “not a huge” run yet, the report said. Anglers also are beginning to catch walleyes in Four-Mile Bay at the mouth of the Rainy River and farther upriver east of Baudette, Minn., Lake of the Woods Tourism reports.
Up at the Northwest Angle, Lake of the Woods Tourism reports excellent walleye fishing, with anglers having success near Garden Island and in funnel areas between islands. Jigging around structure or trolling spinners or crankbaits over flats all are effective, the report said.
Fall fishing on Devils Lake typically means three techniques, according to Devils Lake Tourism:
Pulling spinners and bottom bouncers over deep water and structure.
Trolling crankbaits with lead core line in 30 to 40 feet of water or 15 to 20 feet of water.
As fall progresses and temperatures cool, jigging with minnows or using Jigging Raps and similar lures near any of the bridges or current areas, along with submerged rock piles, points and flooded timber.
Many outdoors enthusiasts in the Lake Region now will shift to waterfowl hunting, which opens Saturday, Sept. 21, for residents and Saturday, Sept. 28, for nonresidents. According to the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, results from the department’s fall wetland survey indicate good-to-excellent conditions for duck hunting throughout the state.
Andy Dinges, migratory game bird biologist for Game and Fish, said the number of duck hunting wetlands is up about 65% statewide from a year ago, largely driven by record fall wetland conditions in the south central and southeast regions of the state. The northwest, north central and northeast regions also have seen 30% to 37% increases in the number of duck hunting wetlands compared with last fall.
Given the wet conditions, hunters may encounter wetlands with extensive flooded vegetation, potentially making hunting difficult in some areas, Dinges said.
Game and Fish conducts its annual fall wetland survey in mid-September just before waterfowl hunting season to provide an assessment of conditions duck hunters can expect.
Water levels and temperatures are up this week on the Red River, Grand Forks catfish guide Brad Durick reports. The combination has catfish active but spreading out.
The past couple days, the fish hit fast if they are there, Durick said, and there’s no reason to sit more than 15 or 20 minutes in a spot without a bite. Suckers cut into chunks have been the bait of choice, followed by frogs, Durick said.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department stocked 450 rainbow trout weighing about 1 pound each Thursday into the Turtle River at Turtle River State Park, park naturalist Erika Kolbow said.
Fall colors update
Red River State Recreation Area: Leaves and wildflowers are at 10% to 25% color, and grasses are at 25% to 50% color.
Turtle River State Park, N.D.: Reds and yellows are showing in about 40% of the trees.
Pembina Gorge, N.D.: Red, orange, yellow, lime and rust are showing in about 20% of the trees.
Devils Lake: About 25% of the trees have started showing colors, such as yellow and red.
Northern Red River Valley: Yellows are showing in about 10% of the trees.
Lake Bronson State Park, Minn.: Leaves are at 25% to 50% color, wildflowers and grasses are at 75% to 100% color.
Old Mill State Park, Minn.: Leaves are at 10% to 25% color, with wildflowers and grasses at 75% to 100% color.
Hayes Lake State Park, Minn.: Leaves are at 25% to 50% color, with yellows in abundance. Asters are in full bloom, and white and violet bottle gentians also can be seen.
Zippel Bay State Park on Lake of the Woods: Leaves are at 25% to 50% color, and wildflowers and grasses are at 50% to 75% color.
Lake Bemidji State Park: Leaves, wildflowers and grasses are at 10% to 25% color, with the best colors in maple trees, which are just beginning to turn along the park road.
Itasca State Park, Minn.: Leaves are at 50% to 75% color; wildflowers and grasses are past peak.
-- Herald staff reports