AREA FISHING REPORTJigs and shiner minnows are producing walleyes in shallower water in the Stony Point area, Four-Mile Bay, Lighthouse and Morris Point gaps and the rock in front of Zippel Bay.
By: Herald Staff Report, Grand Forks Herald
Lake of the Woods
With consistently strong winds, anglers have been working areas where the weather allows and catching walleyes. Jigs and shiner minnows are producing walleyes in shallower water in the Stony Point area, Four-Mile Bay, Lighthouse and Morris Point gaps and the rock in front of Zippel Bay. At the Northwest Angle, walleyes are hitting jigs tipped with plastics or minnows in water as deep as 50 feet in necked-down areas and steep shoreline breaks near shallow bays. Look for muskies and pike on the main-lake rocks adjacent to deep water, and crappies are suspended over the 30- to 35-foot rock areas.
On the Rainy River, anglers are beginning to catch a few walleyes near the mouth and in Baudette, Minn. Farther upstream, the dam in International Falls, Minn., continues to produce walleyes and smallmouth bass, with minnows the bait of choice.
Fishing continues to be good, according to anglers who’ve been on the water in recent days. Some of the better-sized walleyes are coming from 22 to 24 feet of water near the bridges, with live-bait rigs and leeches providing the best action. Anglers also have been catching walleyes with minnows and jigs or slip bobber rigs closer to the bridges, but the average size of the fish seems to be smaller.
Anecdotal reports from the North Dakota resident waterfowl opener were good, with hunters reporting concentrations of ducks in available wetlands. Mallards, gadwalls, shovelers and teal reportedly are abundant, with more redheads and canvasbacks on the landscape than in previous years. Hunter pressure wasn’t bad opening weekend, but look for that to change beginning Saturday, when nonresidents can begin going afield.
Upper Red Lake
Another week of windy weather has limited options to fish the lake. When it settles down, a jig and minnow or crankbaits will produce walleyes and northern pike along the shorelines. Bear hunters seem to be winding down, grouse hunting is improving as the leaves drop, and the waterfowl opener went well for many groups, with puddle ducks in most bags.
A jig and minnow is a good bet for walleyes on Lake Bemidji, Cass Lake, Pike Bay and Lake Plantagenet in 16 to 24 feet of water. Muskie action has improved a lot this week, with trolling patterns producing fish on Plantagenet, Cass and Big Lake in the 6- to 12- foot cabbage and sand areas. Hit 10 to 12 feet for bluegills on Kitchi Lake and Grace Lake. Duck season started with good reports, as most groups shot wood ducks, teal, ringnecks and a few mallards. Grouse and archery hunters are experiencing limited success.
Gull Lake and Rabideau Lake are kicking out bluegills in 12 to 14 feet of water, but walleye and crappie action has been slow on all area lakes. Duck hunters shot mainly wood ducks and a few teal opening weekend, and there’s still a lot of cover in the woods, which is limiting grouse-hunting success.
Anglers are finding perch and a few walleyes in 4 to 8 feet in Trader’s Bay, First Duck Point, Second Duck Point, the Meadows and GrandVu Flats. Walleyes also can be had with a jig and minnow off Pine Point and Stony Point in 4 to 8 feet. Muskie anglers report a few follows, but not a lot of hook-ups. The duck season started strong, with many hunters stating it was the best opener in years. Teal, wood ducks, mallards and a few ringnecks were in the bags.
A steady diet of strong winds limited fishing pressure over the weekend, but before that walleye action was pretty good. Leeches, crawlers or jigs and minnows were producing walleyes on Big Muskie Bar and Little Muskie Bar in 14 to 16 feet of water. Walleyes also were hitting off Little Stony Point, the west-side points, and weed beds in 5 to 8 feet of water. Look for perch in 6 feet off Raven’s Point and the Third River area.
Minnows now are the primary bait option for walleyes on lakes Melissa, Island, White Earth, Big Detroit, Pelican and Big Cormorant in 16 to 18 feet of water. Panfish are scattered in 12 to 16 feet, and crappies are suspended over deeper water on Severson Lake, Floyd Lake and Little Detroit Lake. Big sucker minnows are turning muskies during low-light periods in 10 to 14 feet of water on Pelican. Hunters encountered good numbers of mallards and geese in the area on opening weekend.
Park Rapids area
Northern pike are hitting sucker minnows or crankbaits in 12 to 14 feet of water on Big Mantrap Lake. On Fish Hook Lake, minnows are producing walleyes, northern pike and bass in 14 to 18 feet. Crappies have started hitting in 10 to 16 feet at Sixth Crow Wing Lake and bluegills can be had throughout the Crow Wing Chain in 8 to 10 feet. Archery hunters are taking a few deer, grouse-hunting reports are limited, and duck hunters shot mostly teal and wood ducks on opening weekend.
Area waterfowl update
• Thief Lake Wildlife Management Area near Middle River, Minn.: The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources didn’t conduct an aerial survey this week, but ring-necked ducks increased proportionally in the bag Monday, which might indicate new arrivals. Snow geese also are showing up. Hunter numbers opening weekend were down 21 percent from last year, and hunters averaged 2.95 ducks each. Blue-winged teal were most abundant in the bag, followed by mallards, pintails and wigeon. Access is challenging because of the low water levels.
• Roseau River WMA near Badger, Minn.: Geese and sandhill cranes are relating to area stubble fields. There was no aerial survey this week, but good numbers of Canada geese and cranes remain, with duck numbers strong in the vicinity of the Pool 2 sanctuary. Wood duck and blue-winged teal are abundant. Hunter numbers were relatively low opening weekend, but Canada goose hunting was excellent, and duck hunting was fair at 1.6 ducks per hunter daily. Hunters also took a few sandhill cranes. Access on the Roseau River is limited to walk-in only, but access to the WMA’s managed pools is better than anticipated; hunters need to allow extra time to access their hunting spots by boat or canoe because of the shallow water.