Lake of the Woods
Strong walleye fishing continues around the lake, Joe Henry of Lake of the Woods Tourism reports in his weekly update. A jig and a minnow remains the "go to" presentation, but some anglers are reporting success long lining crankbaits in shallow water or trolling crawler harnesses. Best reports are coming from 15 feet to 25 feet of water during the day and 10 to 15 feet during the morning and evening hours.
Up at the Northwest Angle, Sportsman's Oak Island Lodge reports walleyes are hitting in sandy areas and along rocky points in 17 to 26 feet of water during the day and 5 to 15 feet of water in the evening. A pink or gold jig tipped with a minnow remains the most productive option.
Muskie season opens Saturday in Minnesota and Saturday, June 16 in Ontario waters.
Walleye fishing is heating up as water temperatures approach 70 degrees, Tanner Cherney of Devils Lake Tourism reports. Pitching a jig tipped with a plastic paddletail bait into 4 feet to 6 feet of water is a good bet right now, as the walleyes are holding in shallow water. Concentrate on wind-blown shorelines with the warmest water. Pike fishing is excellent, as well, Cherney said.
The oppressive heat of the past week raised the water temperature from the low 60s into the mid 70s, shocking the bigger catfish, local guide Brad Durick reports. The quick change in water temperatures probably will trigger cats to begin spawning over the next week or, which will make for challenging fishing, Durick says.
Smaller catfish are still very active so numbers are good, but patience is the key to bigger fish, Durick says. Anglers should spend 30 to 40 minutes in a spot before making a move and should expect lots of picking and tapping before a catfish finally hits. Trying all structures and locations also will improve the odds of success, he says. Suckers have been difficult to come by in Grand Forks, Durick says, so anglers are having to scrounge for bait. On the upside, one particular bait doesn't seem to be much better than the other when active fish are around, he said.
Upper Red Lake
Walleye action has been very good, with fish becoming more active and feeding on shiners in shallow water as water temperatures rise, West Wind Resort in Waskish, Minn., reported Thursday. Best walleye action along the east and north shores is in 5 to 7 feet of water. Cooler weather is on tap for the weekend, so anglers may have to shift from a basic jig-and-minnow combo to a live bait rig tipped with a leech or crawler. Silver, gold, pink and purple all are good colors, the report said. Water levels are low, but at West Wind, the resort's channel out to the lake is in good shape with no issues, the report said.
The jig-and-minnow bite is starting to die for walleyes, with many anglers switching to live bait rigs with leeches, night crawlers or larger minnows, Paul Nelson of Bemidji Area Lakes Guide Service reports. With the drastic late-May warmup, anglers will begin trying bottom bouncers and spinners much earlier this year, Nelson predicts, especially if the unseasonably hot weather continues.
Walleye fishing has slowed in many of the smaller lakes, with the best action now happening on the large lakes that have more structure and deeper water, Nelson says.
Fishing on Leech Lake has had its up and downs during the past week depending on the weather, Jason Freed of Leisure Outdoor Adventures reports in his latest update. Walleyes are chasing shiners in 6 to 9 feet of water in many parts of the lake, but getting them to bite has been a challenge, at times, he says. Also worth exploring are 10- to 14-foot breaklines in sand and gravel areas. Jigs and shiners still are producing walleyes, and anglers should try a variety of colors to see what works best on a particular day. Typical for this time of year, live bait rigs tipped with leeches, shiners and even crawlers also are starting to produce fish, Freed says. Crawlers and leeches will come into play even more as bug hatches begin, he said.
Good spots to try include areas around West Goose Flats, Duck Points and Traders Bay, Freed said. On the east side of the lake when the wind is blowing, Freed also suggests trying windblown points such as Five Mile, Sugar and Battle points and the area around Bear Island.
Crappie fishing last weekend was fantastic, Freed said. Panfish are just moving into shallow water and preparing their spawning beds, where the fish are especially vulnerable, so anglers should use selective harvest and release the larger females. A bobber with either a 1/16- or 1/32-ounce jig tipped with a crappie minnow or plastic bait will entice crappies into striking, Freed says.
-- Herald staff reports