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Fishing report: Trolling spinners becomes a favored walleye presentation, Catfish are wrapping up spawn on Red River

This 16-inch walleye was caught during an evening of fishing on Upper Red Lake in January 2015. Anglers this winter can keep three walleyes, of which only one may be longer than 17 inches, on Upper Red. (Sam Cook / scook@duluthnews.com)

Lake of the Woods

Walleyes and saugers are hitting across the lake with the mayfly hatch two weeks early this year, Lake of the Woods Tourism said in its weekly update. Typically after the mayfly hatch, the spinner bite really turns on, but a jig and a minnow remains a productive option. Anglers trolling spinners in 5 to 10 feet of water near Pine Island have had success when the wind blows, Lake of the Woods Tourism said.

Up at the Northwest Angle, fishing is excellent in both Minnesota and Ontario waters, Lake of the Woods Tourism reports. Anglers pulling spinners in Minnesota waters are catching walleyes and saugers in multiple depths. Muskie season is open on both sides of the border, and anglers are encountering fish in back bays and over rock points. Smallmouth bass continue to pound plastic baits.

Devils Lake

Pitching jigs or crankbaits along shallow windswept shorelines continues to produce fish, but anglers also are having more success pulling spinners and live bait or Gulp behind bottom bouncers, Devils Lake Tourism reports. A good technique is to cover water with spinners and then anchor up with slip bobbers and live bait when fish are located.

The 42nd annual Devils Lake Chamber Walleye Tournament kicks off Friday, with Grahams Island State Park as tournament headquarters. Fishing hours are 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with daily weigh-ins at tournament headquarters.

Red River

Catfishing on the Red River is improving as the first of the post-spawn fish are showing up, Grand Forks catfish guide Brad Durick reports. The feeding fish are being caught along current seams and in midriver holes. Catfish that are not actively feeding are out of the current near structure or tight to the bank, Durick said. Bait is anyone's guess on any given day right now, he said. Sucker minnows, both fresh and frozen, and goldeyes have produced fish, and shrimp sometimes can work well this time of year.

One key with post-spawn catfish is to use smaller baits threaded onto the hook to prevent short strikes. Spending more time on a spot before moving is a good idea right now to give fish more time to find the bait, Durick says.

The Scheels Boundary Battle catfish tournament is Saturday and Sunday, with teams departing from the Whopper John Boat Landing north of Riverside Dam on Saturday and from the LaFave Park ramp in East Grand Forks on Sunday. Fishing hours are from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day, and the tournament is filled to its capacity of 50 two-person teams.

-- Herald Staff Reports