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Fishing report: Walleye and sauger biting on Lake of the Woods

Lake of the Woods

Walleye and sauger action has been excellent, Lake of the Woods Tourism reports in its weekly update. Anglers now are having their best luck trolling or drifting with spinners tipped with a crawler or leech in 24 to 27 feet of water, although some anglers continue to favor jigs and shiners. Trolling crankbaits with lead core line also is producing fish, Lake of the Woods Tourism said.

Up at the Northwest Angle, Sportsman's Oak Island Lodge reports walleyes are hitting jigs and minnows in 22 to 26 feet of water near rocky shorelines and points. Some anglers also have reported success pulling hammered gold spinners and leeches in sand-bottom areas. Smallmouth bass and pike continue to hit spinner baits in shallow, rocky areas.

On the Rainy River, sturgeon season resumes Sunday, July 1.

Devils Lake

The bite on Devils Lake has been good once you find the fish, and "location, location, location" is the name of the game, Mark Bry of Bry's Guide Service reports. Depths vary from 8 to 20 feet for the most active walleyes, he said. Find the fish, and a variety of techniques—from slip-bobbering and vertical jigging to pulling bottom bouncers and spinners tipped with crawlers or leeches—are working, Bry said.

In other Devils Lake news, the team of Dave Randash and Renby Randash weighed in a two-day limit of 10 walleyes weighing 52.2 pounds to win the 42nd Annual Devils Lake Chamber Walleye Tournament, held June 22-23 on Devils Lake. The team of Jay Hagen and Jonathan Becker placed second, with 10 fish weighing 49.82 pounds. Complete results are available by going to devilslakend.com and following the links.

Red River

The catfish spawn is ending as water temperatures approach 80 degrees, and river conditions are nearly perfect, Grand Forks catfish guide Brad Durick said. Reports are mixed, but there are post-spawn catfish to be caught, Durick said. Look to midriver and outside bend holes with current to hold the most active fish. Cut goldeye seems to be a good bait choice right now, he said.

In other catfish news from the Red River, the team of Alan and Lisa Erickson of Grand Forks weighed in six catfish for a two-day total of 66.41 pounds to win the Scheels Boundary Battle Catfish Tournament, held June 23-24 on the Red River in Grand Forks and East Grand Forks.

Teams could weigh in two catfish longer than 24 inches and one "slot" fish less than 24 inches each day.

The tournament also included a Kids Derby. According to Durick, the tournament's main organizer, as many as two kids could join a team to experience catfishing in a tournament environment. Nine kids participated, and each of them received a tackle box with some tackle, a towel and a Scheels gift card, Durick said.

The tournament was filled to its capacity of 50 two-person teams. Tournament anglers weighed in 191 catfish during the two-day event for a total weight of 1,565.11 pounds.

Leech Lake

Leech Lake has had its ups and downs during the past week, Jason Freed of Leisure Outdoor Adventures reports. The water temperatures is about 70 degrees, Freed said, and the mayfly hatch is happening all over the lake. Walleyes definitely have feeding windows and are being found in the sand-to-mud and sand-to-gravel-or-rock transition areas in 16 to 25 feet of water. With the transition that's underway, Freed suggests pulling spinners or live bait rigs with crawlers or leeches or trolling crankbaits to cover water. A jig and a leech can't be overlooked, either. Walker Bay is producing best along the shoreline breaks and points such as Second Point, Moores and Cedar. Best fishing on the main lake is along breaklines and some of the rock reefs on the sound end of the lake such as Huddles, Variety and Pelican. As always, the wind will dictate the fishing on Leech Lake, and days with a bit of chop on the water will serve up the best action, Freed said.

Bemidji

Walleyes are biting leeches and crawlers on live bait rigs in 15 to 18 feet of water along shore line breaks just outside major cabbage beds. Spinners and crawlers are producing fish, as well. Look for perch in 5 to 7 feet of water in the pencil reed and moss bed locations. Try a jig and minnow for the bigger perch. Pike are still holding in most cabbage flats with some of the bigger fish holding on deep structure.

Cass Lake

Walleyes and pike are relating to shoreline breaks and weed flats in 12 to 18 feet of water. Long lining nightcrawlers and spinners or anchoring with slip bobbers will produce fish during the daylight hours. In the evening, pull crankbaits over sand flats in 6 to 8 feet of water at a trolling speed of about 2 mph.

-- Herald staff reports