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OUTDOOR REPORT: Fall fishing heats up near mouth of the Rainy River; Hunters in Lake Region report mixed success during nonresident waterfowl opener; fall colors approach peak

Lake of the Woods Fall fishing patterns are emerging as walleyes stack up north of Pine Island and the adjacent Morris Point and Lighthouse gap areas near the mouth of the Rainy River. According to the latest report from Lake of the Woods Tourism...

Fall walleye fishing on Lake of the Woods. (Photo/ Ballard's Resort via Lake of the Woods Tourism)
Fall walleye fishing on Lake of the Woods. (Photo/ Ballard's Resort via Lake of the Woods Tourism)

Lake of the Woods

Fall fishing patterns are emerging as walleyes stack up north of Pine Island and the adjacent Morris Point and Lighthouse gap areas near the mouth of the Rainy River.

According to the latest report from Lake of the Woods Tourism, anglers are doing well by anchoring and jigging with frozen shiners in 20 feet to 29 feet of water during the day and in 10 to 15 feet during the morning and evening hours. Good walleye numbers also are being reported elsewhere along the South Shore, including Zippel Bay and Long Point.

Shiners are running up the Rainy River, and walleye activity has "picked up greatly," Lake of the Woods Tourism reports. Anglers are catching limits jigging with a three-eighths or one-half ounce jig tipped with a frozen shiner. Sturgeon fishing now is catch-and-release only, but action is improving, Lake of the Woods Tourism said, with some fish longer than 60 inches being reported. The water temperature in the Rainy River as of Wednesday was 51 degrees.

Up at the Northwest Angle, anglers are fishing rocky bays and adjacent reefs in 15 to 22 feet of water as walleyes begin moving toward structure and outside the mouths of bays, Lake of the Woods Tourism said.

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Devils Lake waterfowl update

The nonresident waterfowl season opened Saturday, Sept. 29, in the Lake Region with mixed results, reports Mark Fisher, district wildlife biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Devils Lake. Hunters averaged three to four birds per gun with a mixed bag of mallards, green-winged teal and gadwall comprising the ducks, Fisher said. Canada goose hunting proved to be good for many, he said, as several hunters had a few geese in the bag.

Field hunters reportedly fared much worse on ducks but did well with geese despite the cold weather, which would drive many species to the grain, Fisher said. Ducks are widely scattered now, and it doesn't appear that new ducks have arrived from Canada. In fact, many wetland ducks may have left the region with the onset of cold weather, Fisher said, and scouting is critical to success.

Snow geese, arctic-nesting Canada geese and tundra swans are beginning to move into the Lake Region in huntable numbers, Fisher said. Most observations have occurred north of U.S. Highway 2.

Fall colors update

• Northern Red River Valley: About 60 percent of the trees had turned to shades of yellows, oranges and reds as of Sept. 27, the most recent update from North Dakota Tourism. Conditions will change fast with the recent cool, wet and windy weather.

• Red River State Recreation Area: Cottonwood leaves are turning a golden yellow, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reports in its weekly update; leaves are at 50 to 75 percent color.

• Lake Bemidji State Park: Maple trees are at their peak coloration with bright reds among the yellows and golds, the DNR said, and birch and aspen have turned a yellowish-gold color; 50 to 75 percent color.

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• Old Mill State Park, Minn.: Shrubs have turned yellow and red in the woods, and trees are showing their colors, the DNR said; 75 to 100 percent color.

• Lake Bronson State Park, Minn.: Most of the red sumac have lost their leaves, but the DNR says American hazel now is adding a dark red to the understory, and most trees now are in full color; 75 to 100 percent color.

• Hayes Lake State Park, Minn.: The majority of aspen and birch have hit peak yellow, although a few holdouts remain green, and the occasional tree already has dropped its leaves, the DNR said; 75 to 100 percent color.

• Zippel Bay State Park, Minn.: Birch and aspen are turning yellow, with some dropping their leaves after recent storms, the DNR said. A variety of reds, greens, yellows and oranges can be seen; 50 to 75 percent color.

• Itasca State Park, Minn.: Maple and birch trees are at peak color, basswoods are displaying a soft yellow, ironwoods and elms are a rich yellow gold and aspen trees are turning yellow, the DNR reports; 75 to 100 percent color.

-- Herald staff reports

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