Lake of the Woods
Walleyes are moving closer to the Rainy River as shiner minnows begin their fall run, Sportsman’s Lodge near Baudette, Minn., reported Wednesday, Aug. 28, in its weekly update. The change is evident in front of Lighthouse Gap, where anglers have encountered a large school of walleyes in 30 feet of water, according to Lake of the Woods Tourism. Pods of walleyes also are scattered throughout Big Traverse Bay and various midlake reefs. Trolling crankbaits or pulling spinners and crawlers in 29 to 34 feet of water remain productive techniques, but some anglers are beginning to “anchor up” and jig with shiners, a popular fall technique.
Anglers also are beginning to report an uptick in walleye action in the Rainy River, a hopeful sign for a solid fall bite.
Up at the Northwest Angle, Sportsman’s Oak Island Lodge says smallmouth bass, muskies and pike are hitting well, and crappie action is beginning to heat up, which is a sure sign of fall. Look for walleyes in 18 to 27 feet of water over mud-bottom areas adjacent to rock structure or in current-producing “funnel areas” between islands, according to Lake of the Woods Tourism.
Deeper water in the 19- to 26-foot range continues to produce the best walleye action for anglers pulling spinners and bottom bouncers with live bait or Berkley Gulp, according to Devils Lake Tourism. Trolling crankbaits with lead-core line also has been productive. Deep rock piles, road beds and submerged shorelines are good areas to target, the report said. Smaller walleyes are being found in shallower water.
Water temperatures are beginning to drop into the low to mid 60s, which should usher in even better fishing.
Some of the top walleye anglers in the country will converge on Devils Lake for the Cabela’s/ Bass Pro Shops National Walleye Tour championship, set to begin Sept. 11, and wrap up Sept. 13. Grahams Island State Park is tournament headquarters. Anglers will depart at 7 a.m. daily, with weigh-ins beginning at 3 p.m. Info: nationalwalleyetour.com.
Walleye fishing has been improving, of late, with fish hanging in 12 to 20 feet of water most days, Jason Freed of Leisure Outdoor Adventures reports. Sand and weed edges or scattered rock and gravel seem to hold the most fish. Deeper water hasn’t been as good for numbers of walleyes but is producing bigger fish, Freed said. Try dragging live bait rigs with crawlers, big minnows or rainbow chubs along breaklines or the edges of humps, he suggests. Jigs with leeches still are producing fish, as well, along with live bait fished below slip bobbers in the weeds.
On the main lake, trolling No. 5 or No. 7 Shad Raps or Flicker Shads is a great tactic along the edges of the rock reefs early and late in the day. Switch to lead-core line to target walleyes in deeper water during the midday hours.
Muskies the past two weeks have been actively moving and are being found on main lake rocks, weedlines and sand breaks, Freed said. Casting large rubber baits, twitch-style jerkbaits and topwater lures, or “burning” bucktails with a rapid retrieve have been the best tactics, he said.
-- Herald staff reports