Lake of the Woods

Fall walleye fishing remains very good, with the Lighthouse Gap, Morris Point, Zippel Bay and Long Point areas among the top spots along the south shore, Lake of the Woods Tourism reports in its weekly update. Look for walleyes in 16 feet to 24 feet of water, and anchor up and jig with frozen shiners and bright-colored jigs. Limits of eater-size walleyes and saugers are common, along with a mix of small walleyes, “slot” fish in the 19½- to 28-inch protected slot, and trophy-size fish. Jumbo perch are in the mix, as well. Anglers targeting pike have had good success, with some big fish in the mix.

On the Rainy River, anglers continue to catch walleyes and saugers in Four-Mile Bay in 12 to 16 feet of water. The current is strong upriver from Wheeler's Point, and walleyes are congregating in areas with current breaks, often closer to shore, or in deeper holes. Best action is in 7 to 16 feet of water, depending on the spot. Heavy jigs in the ¾- to 1½-ounce size are essential with the heavy current. Sturgeon reports also are good.

Up at the Northwest Angle, look for walleyes in neck down areas, points and mouths of bays. Jigging continues to be the go-to method. Crappie anglers are finding fish suspended over water 30 feet or deeper, and muskie fishing remains strong, as is typical in the fall.

Devils Lake waterfowl update

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Waterfowl hunters should expect good results this weekend as numerous birds have moved into the Lake Region, according to Mark Fisher, district wildlife biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Devils Lake. Last weekend’s blizzard resulted in few, if any, waterfowl bagged due to the truly monumental storm that dropped more than 30 inches of snow in many locations across the Lake Region, Fisher said.

On the upside, most of the snow by Wednesday, Oct. 16, had melted, and wetland and grain fields once again are accessible to migratory waterfowl. On the downside, smaller wetlands did experience some ice, and access to fields and many secondary roads is sloppy, Fisher said. Getting stuck is a real possibility unless hunters have all-terrain vehicles, which will greatly improve access and success. Most wetlands likely will be ice-free, as well, Fisher said.

Hunters who target diving ducks should enjoy success as thousands of lesser scaup (and other birds) have arrived on Devils Lake and other large wetlands throughout northeast North Dakota, Fisher said. Mallards, swans and snow geese also have arrived in huntable numbers throughout the region; Canada goose numbers remain excellent.

Bemidji area

Recent snow and a hard frost continue to cool down lakes in the Bemidji area, with surface water temperatures in the low 50s or cooler, Paul Nelson of Bemidji Area Lakes Guide Service reports. Deep lakes will begin to turn over soon, which is nature’s way of fully oxygenating the lakes before winter arrives. The water in shallow lakes gets turned over periodically by the wind.

Anglers were catching some of the largest walleyes of the season before the temperatures dropped and the snow arrived. The bite for big walleyes should continue as soon as the weather stabilizes again.

Most walleye anglers try to hover over the fish they see on sonar late in the season, which can be done manually or with a spot lock system on a trolling motor. Crappie anglers usually cruise the edge of the basin looking for schools of suspended fish on sonar. Once a school of fish is located, anglers try to hold over the top of the fish with a trolling motor. The goal for crappie anglers is to get small lures to fish in deep water, which can be a challenge in wind.

-- Herald staff reports