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Fishing Report: Lake of the Woods is the place to be for big walleyes

A Minnesota angler holds a walleye before releasing it. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources officials are considering reducing the state's walleye limit from six to four. News Tribune file

Lake of the Woods

Big walleyes are still "on fire," Lake of the Woods Tourism reports in its weekly update. Jigging or pulling spinners with live bait in the mud basin of Big Traverse Bay in 24 feet to 32 feet of water is a good bet early and late in the day, and trolling crankbaits in the deep mud has been effective throughout the day. Areas east of Long Point and north of Zippel Bay continue to kick out fish, along with the west bar of Garden Island and the Little Oak Island area.

Up at the Northwest Angle, walleyes in Minnesota waters are hitting jigs and minnows on top of rocky structure, while anglers pulling spinners and bottom bouncers or trolling crankbaits are finding fish in 24 to 28 feet of water. In Ontario waters, walleyes are spread out in deeper mud areas in about 24 feet of water, Lake of the Woods Tourism reports.

Devils Lake

Reports are hard to come by but the most productive pattern, of late, has been to pull spinners and live bait or Gulp! Soft plastics in deeper water. Covering water, especially along submerged old shorelines and deep structure, is the best bet for locating fish. Trolling crankbaits with lead-core line also can be productive. According to reports, anglers continue to sort through small walleyes to find keeper fish for the frying pan.

Red River

The word on catfishing last week was that fishing was slow, and there's not much change this week, Grand Forks catfish guide Brad Durick reports. Look for catfish in the midriver holes, he says; current makes the spot better. Give a spot at least 20 to 30 minutes before moving. Frozen goldeye is the best bait choice, but frogs also are working.

The Red River Valley Catfish Club wrapped up its 11-week Wednesday night catfish league season for the year Wednesday night, and the team of Elise Sannard and Jason Kalt were Anglers of the Year, winning customized jackets for accumulating the most points during the league season. Jamie Gudajtes landed the "Fat Cat" prize of $1,680 for biggest fish of the league season with a 20.15-pound catfish. The league drew an average of 30 boats per night during this year's season.

The catfish club wraps up its season Saturday with a year-end tournament that's open to all anglers. Fishing hours are from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., and the North Landing in Grand Forks is tournament headquarters. Entry fee is $100 per boat. Fore more information, contact Brad Durick at (701) 739-5808.

Sunday, the annual Rod and Reel Rally catfishing tournament is set for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the Red River in Drayton, N.D. Hastings Landing Recreation Area is tournament headquarters. To register or for more info, go to or or contact Durick at (701) 739-5808.

Leech Lake

Walleyes are hitting in depths ranging from 14 feet to 30 feet of water, Jason Freed of Leisure Outdoor Adventures reports. The key is being versatile because the best techniques vary from day to day. On bright sunny days, Freed suggests finding good cabbage weeds or weed edges and pitching a jig and minnow or leech or dunking a leech below a slip bobber. Trolling spinners over the tops of the weeds is a great way to cover ground and locate fish on weed flats, as walleyes will hang in the weeds all year long, Freed said.

Focusing on windswept underwater points or long expansive breaklines is probably the most productive technique, Freed said. Pulling live bait rigs with creek chubs, redtail chubs, leeches or crawlers is a good way to work those areas over, Freed said. Trolling crankbaits across expansive flats or longer break lines is triggering walleyes toward dusk and after dark, Freed says. Muskie action continues to be "overall pretty solid," he said. Casting double-bladed bucktails, using glide baits as well as topwaters are the best presentations, and main lake rocks and points have produced the best action, Freed said.

Cass Lake

Walleyes are hitting crankbaits trolled along weed edges in the evening and after dark in 12 to 16 feet of water. During the daylight hours, try trolling spinners along the long break lines or bars that are found throughout Cass Lake in 18 to 28 feet of water. Jigging Raps also have worked well for locating schools of fish.

-- Herald staff reports