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OUTDOORS REPORT: Lake of the Woods has some of the best fishing of the year

Lake of the Woods Some of the best fishing of the year is taking place going into this weekend's Minnesota deer opener, Lake of the Woods Tourism reported. Anglers have been catching walleyes, saugers and perch in 15 feet to 20 feet of water on t...

Lake of the Woods

Some of the best fishing of the year is taking place going into this weekend's Minnesota deer opener, Lake of the Woods Tourism reported. Anglers have been catching walleyes, saugers and perch in 15 feet to 20 feet of water on the lake, sorting through small fish for keepers. Spots along the entire south shore, from Twin Islands to Long Point and Zippel Bay to Morris and Lighthouse gaps all are putting out fish. Up north, Hay Island and Starren Shoal off of Garden Island are producing some nice limits. Walleyes are on the move so finding fish with electronics is key. Pike are feasting on dead smelt or ciscoes placed on bottom.

Fishing on the Rainy River is excellent once you find the walleyes, as they are chasing shiners. Walleyes are in 10 to 25 feet of water, and the "go-to" is a jig and shiner. Anglers are reporting bigger walleyes right now, and sturgeon fishing is "crazy good," Lake of the Woods Tourism said.

Up at the Northwest Angle, walleyes are hitting a jig-and-minnow combo in 12 to 30 feet of water near Oak and Flag islands, Little Oak Island and Hay Island. On the Ontario side, look for crappies suspended above 30-foot holes near sunken trees or deep points near islands. Walleye fishing is excellent in 15 to 30 feet of water off points and in bays.

Devils Lake

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Fishing reports are hard to come by, but the most report from Mark Bry of Bry's Guide Service recommended anglers target current areas near any of the bridges with jigs and minnows or soft plastics. That's a typical fall pattern on the big lake. Areas adjacent to the current also are worth exploring if the fishing slows in the current, Bry said. Deep rock humps and points are yet another option. Find an active school of fish, and lack of action shouldn't be a problem. Fall typically produces some of the biggest fish of the season.

Area waterfowl update

• Devils Lake area: Last weekend again saw heavy hunting pressure, but results were mixed, said Mark Fisher, district wildlife biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Devils Lake. Weather has remained mild, so wetlands have not frozen, and corn is coming down in many locations, which improves hunter chances for birds such as mallards and Canada geese if access can be gained, Fisher said. Birds again have begun to scatter, and scouting is critical. Snow geese have arrived, but good numbers remain to the west of Churchs Ferry, N.D., while numbers around Devils Lake are low. Diver ducks are abundant on the lake, Fisher said, and hunters have reported good success. Hunters should carry blaze orange this weekend as the North Dakota deer rifle season opens at noon today. Be safe.

• Thief Lake Wildlife Management Area near Middle River, Minn.: An aerial survey Wednesday showed 14,000 ducks, down from 20,000 two weeks ago, and 5,600 Canada geese, up from 2,900 two weeks ago. About half the ducks were ringnecks. Hunter pressure has dropped, and success has been variable. Cover and access to Thief Lake are good.

• Roseau River WMA near Badger, Minn.: Geese are scarce and concentrated in the Pool 1 sanctuary. Good numbers of mallards continue to roost in Pool 1, but the birds are wary. Boat access remains good on the WMA's managed pools, but receding water levels are beginning to affect access on the Roseau River. Hunting pressure is light, with mallards, green-winged teal and wigeon making up most of the bag.

-- Compiled by Brad Dokken

Related Topics: FISHINGLAKE OF THE WOODS
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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