Lake of the Woods
Anglers continue to boat limits of walleyes, both over the mud basin of Big Traverse Bay and near midlake structure, Lake of the Woods Tourism reported Monday in its weekly update. Most anglers are anchoring and jigging with frozen shiners or leeches. Drifting spinners with crawlers is a productive technique, as well. Best action is in 29 feet to 32 feet of water, Lake of the Woods Tourism said, with shallow bites happening based on wind and bug hatches.
Walleye fishing remains excellent up at the Northwest Angle, Lake of the Woods Tourism said. Anglers are finding mayflies and crayfish in the stomachs of walleyes. Jigging and pulling spinners on and around reefs in 22 feet to 28 feet of water both are producing walleyes; the occasional sauger, pike and perch also is in the mix. Anglers who put in their time are encountering muskie action in Ontario waters. Even if the toothy predators don’t always strike, seeing them follow a bait to the side of the boat is a thrill.
There definitely are walleyes to be had, based on the fish cleaning photos that appear on social media sites. Reports on specific locations are hard to come by, but many anglers this time of year switch to bottom bouncers and spinners or live bait rigs to cover water and maximize their odds of catching walleyes.
Don’t be afraid to try a variety of depths. Pitching jigs and twister tails or other soft plastics along shallow weed edges or anchoring up with slip bobbers and live bait also can be productive, especially on those days when the wind is blowing. Best shore fishing action typically is early and late in the day.
Catfish action the past couple of weeks has been rough with a hard spawn going on, Grand Forks catfish guide Brad Durick said. This week’s heat should accelerate post-spawn recovery and get them back to feeding, he said. Flows are ideal, and the river itself looks great, Durick said, which should set up some good fishing over the next few weeks and down the stretch.
With the spawn underway, catfish are a bit moody, Durick says, so anglers should look at structure just out of the current or right in the middle in deeper holes. Be prepared to sit on spots a bit longer than normal. Try all the spots and experiment to see if you can find something different that works. With the water temperature at 75 degrees, the bite can change at any time.
Frozen suckers have been the best cutbait option the past couple of days, Durick says, although he also has been hearing reports from some anglers that frogs are beginning to work — a typical midsummer pattern.
In other Red River catfish news, a mixed bag of thunderstorms, heat and humidity couldn’t put a damper on last weekend’s Scheels Boundary Battle catfish tournament, and the team of Dave Clement and Tim Brooks weighed in 51.29 pounds of catfish to win the June 29-30 event on the Red River in Grand Forks and East Grand Forks. Clements and Brooks landed $2,000 for placing first overall, along with $1,000 for having the heaviest bag of fish on day one and $250 for weighing in the largest “slot fish” measuring 24 inches or less on the first day of the tournament.
Big mayflies started to show up about halfway through last week, which can mean tough fishing for many anglers, but there is still some good walleye action to be had, said fishing guide Jason Freed of Leisure Outdoor Adventures. Anglers just need to adapt what they are doing and be ready to change things up, he said.
Midlake structure, humps and bars in 12 to 20 feet of water will produce walleyes for anglers pulling spinners, “slow death” rigs, live bait rigs or crankbaits, Freed said. Work the transition areas from mud to rock, sand to mud or a mixture, Freed said, all of which often will hold hatching bugs and walleyes. Be sure to use different colors of spinner blades and crankbaits to figure out what is working that day and with the conditions.
Anglers are catching the occasional muskie trolling and casting weed beds, Freed said. As water temperatures stabilize and rise into the mid to upper 70s, muskies will start to relate more to structure and become more active and will respond to casting bucktails, topwater baits and glide baits. Look for bass on deep weedlines, docks that have deep water close by and high spots on reefs for smallmouths.