OUTDOORS REPORT: The latest on fishing and hunting in region
Lake of the Woods Water temperatures have dipped into the low 40-degree range, so shiner minnows should start running into the Rainy River in big numbers -- and when they do, look for the walleyes to follow. For now, though, the best fishing rema...
Lake of the Woods
Water temperatures have dipped into the low 40-degree range, so shiner minnows should start running into the Rainy River in big numbers -- and when they do, look for the walleyes to follow. For now, though, the best fishing remains in the lake, where anglers are finding walleyes and saugers in 17 to 24 feet of water west of Zippel Bay, near Pine Island and the Lighthouse Gap. Grouse, duck and goose hunting all have improved during the past week.
Fishing pressure has dropped off substantially since last week's bout of cold and snow. According to the most recent report from Ed's Bait Shop, anglers are doing best with typical fall patterns, which means working current areas near any of the bridges and trolling sunken roads or rocky points.
Meanwhile, more snow geese and several groups of swans are moving through the area, reports Cami Dixon, wildlife biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Devils Lake Wetland Management District. Duck numbers have increased, as well, Dixon said, but the birds remain spread out, and scouting is essential. The northern migration definitely is under way, Dixon said.
There's an afternoon walleye bite with minnows on Lake Bemidji in 15 to 25 feet of water. Grace Lake also is kicking out walleyes on minnows in 22 to 24 feet of water. Sucker minnows are the ticket for muskies on Lake Plantagenet, Big Lake and Bemidji. Duck hunting has improved, with some divers in the area, and the best grouse hunting is taking place north and west of the area.
Minnows are producing walleyes in 8 to 10 feet or 16 to 20 feet of water on Blackduck Lake and Island Lake. Panfish, pike and bass reports have been minimal. Duck numbers have increased, with more redheads, bluebills and ring necks in the area. Grouse hunters are doing well, finding pockets that hold more birds.
Park Rapids area
A jig or live-bait rig tipped with a minnow is producing walleyes in 18 to 30 feet of water on Fish Hook Lake, Big Sand Lake, Island Lake, Upper Bottle Lake and Lower Bottle Lake. Muskie anglers are trolling minnows or crankbaits over the weed tops of Big Mantrap Lake and hooking some fish. Duck and goose numbers have improved, and there are some divers in the area. Grouse and woodcock reports also have been encouraging.
Leech Lake area
Perch action continues to be excellent in 6 to 12 feet of water off Sand Point, Goose Island Flats and Grandview Flats. Walleye reports have been spotty, with a few fish coming off the points in 8 to 12 feet of water. Anglers are pulling the occasional muskie off the rocks, and crappies have started hitting in the north end of Sucker Bay and Shingobee Bay. Duck hunters are seeing mallards and ring necks in good numbers, and grouse hunting remains decent.
A jig and shiner minnow is the best bet for walleyes in 6 to 12 feet of water off the points and shoreline breaks. Northern pike are hitting along the weed lines, but perch reports have been limited. Duck numbers improved over the past week on the main lake, and grouse hunting continues to be good.
Walleyes are biting on lakes Sallie, Big Cormorant, Big Pine, Little Pine, Melissa, Little Detroit and Big Detroit. Anglers are having their best luck trolling crankbaits in shallow water at night and working minnows during the day in 14 to 20 feet of water. The humps and shoreline breaks of Big Detroit are holding muskies, but there aren't many anglers chasing panfish. Duck numbers have improved, and there are some divers in the area this week along with more geese.
-- Outdoor News and Herald staff reports