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Outdoors Report: Fall fishing is good on Lake of the Woods and Rainy River

Lake of the Woods Good reports continue to come from the lake, where anglers are finding mixed schools of fish in 14 to 28 feet of water along the south shore from Lighthouse Gap to Rocky Point, Lake of the Woods Tourism reports in its weekly update.

Fall fishing is good on the Rainy River, where anglers also are catching some larger walleyes, Lake of the Woods Tourism reports. (Photo courtesy of Lake of the Woods Tourism)
Fall fishing is good on the Rainy River, where anglers also are catching some larger walleyes, Lake of the Woods Tourism reports. (Photo courtesy of Lake of the Woods Tourism)

Lake of the Woods

Good reports continue to come from the lake, where anglers are finding mixed schools of fish in 14 to 28 feet of water along the south shore from Lighthouse Gap to Rocky Point, Lake of the Woods Tourism reports in its weekly update. Most anglers are anchored up and jigging with frozen shiners. The key is finding the fish; once found, the fish tend to cooperate nicely.

Strong walleye activity continues on the Rainy River, where jigs and frozen shiners continue to be the "go-to" method, with some anglers also trolling crankbaits. There's plenty of current, and some anglers have reported using ¾-ounce jigs to reach the bottom. As waves of walleyes move through, reports change daily up and down the river, Lake of the Woods Tourism said. Be mobile and move around if a spot isn't producing. A lot of good reports are coming from 8 to 14 feet of water, and some big walleyes also are being caught.

Up at the Northwest Angle, anglers are catching walleyes in 14 to 25 feet of water, with jigging the most productive technique, Lake of the Woods Tourism said. The fall crappie bite is in full swing in Ontario waters.

Devils Lake waterfowl update

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The weekend of Oct. 20-21 brought a mix of cold and warm temperatures and wind for waterfowl hunters in the Lake Region. According to Mark Fisher, district wildlife biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Devils Lake, hunting pressure was very high, and results mostly were fair to poor. Federal game warden Matthew Carman reported about a one- to two-bird average with mostly mixed bags of gadwall, mallards and lesser scaup, Fisher said.

Diving duck hunting has improved in large wetlands, he said. Birds remain in the area, especially snow geese and Canada geese, and mallards are abundant but in large clusters and likely within posted fields, he said.

Northern ducks have yet to arrive in any appreciable numbers, and scouting is critical. Many smaller wetlands have begun to freeze, but water remains open on wetlands larger than 5 acres in size. Farmers have caught up with the soybean harvest, Fisher said, and corn harvest is ramping up coming into the later part of October. This may provide more opportunities each and every day, as corn fields attract many birds, especially late in the season, Fisher said. Weather for the coming weekend looks cool with a slight chance of rain and moderate wind.

-- Herald staff report

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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