Lake of the Woods
Anglers are catching walleyes just outside the Lighthouse Gap in 28 feet of water with spinners and crawlers. A jig and minnow is working best on the rocks around Graceton Reef in 16 to 18 feet, Four-Mile Bay and the mouth of the Rainy River, where an early shiner run is drawing fish. At the Northwest Angle, McPherson Island, Tug Channel and Johnston Passage on the Ontario side of the lake have produced walleyes in 15 to 25 feet of water.
Fishing's pretty good, especially on the days when the wind and weather cooperate. With the onset of fall, walleyes are beginning to move toward current areas, such as those near any of the bridges, and deeper rock piles. Leeches are still working for anglers who have them, but look for walleyes to show a preference for minnows as water temperatures cool. Fall offers the potential for some of the best fishing of the year, and the anglers who venture out often have the lake mostly to themselves. As for hunting, sandhill cranes appear to be at their peak, and snow geese are just getting a start, reports Cami Dixon of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Devils Lake Wetland Management District. Several flocks of snow geese have been sighted around Lake Alice National Wildlife Refuge, Dixon said, but duck populations to date are limited to local birds. Dixon said hunters also should be on the lookout for whooping cranes.
Reports are scarce in the Grand Forks area, but the Drayton, N.D., stretch of river continues to be a hotspot for saugers, most of which are in the 10- to 12-inch range with the occasional (but rare) larger sauger. Expect lots of company if you're fishing below the Drayton Dam. A few walleyes are being reported, too, especially late in the day and after dark. The fall run of "greenback" walleyes up the Red from Lake Winnipeg appears to be in the early stages on the Canadian side of the river near Selkirk, Man. Best action right now is farther downstream near the mouth of the Red, but look for the walleyes to begin showing up farther upstream during the next couple of weeks. Water levels and clarity are good right now, and conditions are favorable for good fall fishing.
Walleye action has really improved with minnows in 12 to 30 feet of water. Look on the shallow end of those depths during low-light or windy conditions and deep if it's calm or bright. Lakes such as Julia, Bemidji, Beltrami, Plantagenet, Cass and Turtle River all have produced fish. Look for crappies suspended over 15 to 20 feet of water on many lakes. Bass, bluegill and muskie action is slow. Northern pike are hitting minnows in 12 to 18 feet of water on Big Lake and Lake Bemidji. Archery hunters registered a few deer, and grouse hunting is improving as the leaves come down.
Anglers continue to encounter walleyes in good numbers on Blackduck Lake in 10 to 12 feet of water. A few walleyes can be had during the evening on South Twin Lake in 14 feet of water, as well. Panfish action has been limited, but if you want bass or pike, lakes such as North Twin, Gull and South Twin are safe bets in 10 to 14 feet. Hunters are reporting grouse, and it should only get better now that the leaves are coming down.
Perch action has been very good in 6 to 10 feet of water in the Narrows, off Sand Point and in the Goose Islands area. During the day, a jig and minnow is working best for walleyes in 10 to 14 feet, while crankbaits are the way to go at night. Look to Pine Point, Sand Point and the main-lake flats to be holding the most fish. Grouse hunters are doing well despite plenty of cover.
Walleyes are consistently hitting a jig-and-minnow combination in 9 to 11 feet of water. Work the points and shoreline breaks such as Little Stony, the Duck Pass, Raven's Point, Mallard Point and the Highbanks area. Perch and northerns also can be had in these locations or around any areas that still offer weeds.
Lindy Rigs and minnows are a good bet for walleyes on Big Cormorant Lake in 20 to 27 feet of water. The weedlines of lakes Sallie, Melissa and Big Detroit also are giving up walleyes, with minnows the preferred bait. Panfish reports are limited by a lack of angling pressure, but topwater baits have raised muskies again this week on Big Detroit Lake. Northerns are hitting minows on the weedlines of lakes Sallie, Melissa and Big Detroit.
Walleyes are hitting minnows along the weedlines out to 24 feet of water on Long Lake. Potato and Fish Hook lakes have kicked out walleyes in 16 to 22 feet of water. Northerns remain active on Big Mantrap Lake, but panfish action has been limited. Grouse hunting has improved now that the cover is diminishing.