Minnesota Fish Tales Fishing Report
The Most In-Depth Statewide Fishing Report in Minnesota!
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- Ben's Bait & Tackle
Bennet or Craig Stich, Junction of Hwy 78 and 210 (218-864-5596)
Sunfish are biting on West Battle, South Turtle and Clitherall. Try waxworms in 8-12 feet of water. For crappies, hit up West Battle, Buchanan or Rush in 10-15 feet.
- Veire's Mini-Mart
Dave, 117 E Benton St, corner of Hwy 75 and 14 (507-368-4204)
Please call us or check back for updates!
- Timberline Sport & Tackle
Carl Adams, Junction of Hwy 71 and Blackduck Lake Rd. (218-835-4636)
Panfish action has picked up some. Look for perch around the shallow reeds on Blackduck and Island. Crappies are biting on Beltrami.
- Leisure Outdoor Adventures - www.leisureoutdooradventures.com
Jason Freed, Toby Kvalevog, Jeff Andersen (1-855-LOA-HOOK or 1-855-562-4665)
Overall it was a great start to the 2017 Walleye Season. Our guides found themselves predominantly on Leech Lake, but other lakes as well over the course of the weekend and with active walleyes joining them in the boat. Here is a recap of the fishing report for North Central Minnesota.
West End - On the West end of the lake, fishing was relatively good depending on the time of day and weather conditions. Saturday’s bright skies and calms conditions made it tough for some. Finding green cabbage weed was a good way to find success catching walleyes in 5-7ft of water using a jig and a plastic or jig and a minnow. Areas around Goose Island such as West Goose Flats, Hardwoods, Meadows, Star Point, and Grand Vu Flats all produced fish throughout the weekend in 4-11ft of water. Finding the schools of bait fish and fishing those areas was key. With some wind on Sunday the bit was much better in these areas. Some of the points were ok, but nearly as good and more than likely because of the fishing pressure. 1/8th KenKath Long Shank or KenKatch 3D eye jigs tipped with shiners, rainbows, or plastics were the best presentation. Sometimes it was dragging the jig, other times it took snapping or twitching it to get them coaxed into biting.
East End - Fishing on the south and east side of Leech lake was great over the weekend. The majority of fish caught came from the Pelican Island, Annex Reef and south shore next to Trappers Landing. Key depths were in the 6-10’ mark, and keeping your baits away from the boat was key with the limited winds each day. The majority of fish caught were in the protected slot, however there were plenty of keepers that hit the livewells for the fryin pan. Jig and a spottail minnow were all that was needed, along with a little aloe vera afterwards to help ease the pain to all the sunburns!
Mille Lacs kept true to it’s name for the Minnesota Walleye/Bass Opener 2017, it truly was a walleye factory! I would give you the best presentation to use, but from my experience out there on Sunday, every method was productive. The walleyes have been chowing down in 6-20 feet of water, and just like most walleye lakes, fishing in the wind will normally be better a little shallow. 10-13 feet was the best depth for us on Sunday with the bigger fish coming from the sand/rock transition areas.
The “North End” or basically Garrison all the way to Malmo has lots of hungry walleyes that are ready to chomp on anything that gets close to them. Get out to the “big pond” for this amazing bite, it truly is one of the best ways to get a bunch of walleyes! Once you get tired of catching walleyes, and your tummy starts thinking about a fish fry, switch tackle and find a weedy bay or boat harbor. The crappies and sunfish are in the shallows right now and they are chopping! A second way to fill the livewell on Mille Lacs right now is to change your leader to 20 lb Berkley XT and go pike fishing. The pike are super active right now in the same areas the walleyes are hanging out it. The best part is that when you set the hook, it could be a pike, walleye, or smallmouth! Now that is fun! Be sure to stop in at Tutt’s Bait and Tackle, they will give you the best bait and the most recent update for your best possible experience on the amazing Mille Lacs lake!
Walleye season is open! What a beautiful weekend to spend in a boat. Fishing was good for some and slow for others, but when it is opener sometimes it can be hit or miss. For those who hit, fishing shallow was the best. A jig/shiner/plastic pitched into rock/weed transitions or areas of new weed growth was the ticket. These areas hold all sorts of food, provide higher oxygen levels for hungry walleyes, and these areas also provide shade.
Gull Lake, Round Lake, Whitefish, and North Long all had some pretty decent reports for those who went with the shallow approach. With the full moon bright, many of the walleyes were feeding at night, so the middle of the day typically was the best. For those who decided to go out at night, it was worth it. On most lakes, 6-15 feet of water held the most active walleyes. During the windy times of the day, depths as shallow as 3-6 ft would be holding active fish.
Crappies and sunfish have invaded the shallows! Many people had both walleye and panfish gear with them this weekend, and doing so kept their rods bending all day. Look for the warm areas and pencil reeds for these spawning panfish. Please, please, please remember that these fish are spawning, and just for a short period throughout the year, practice selective harvest. These fish are super sensitive to overfishing because of their vulnerability this time of year, and small lakes can really take a beat down (and big lakes as well).
- Frankie's Live Bait and Marine - www.frankies.net
Brad, Corner of Hwy 8 and CR 77 (651-257-6334)
Panfish are biting on North Lindstrom, South Lindstrom, Chisago, North Center and South Center. Work the weedlines for bluegills and move to the deeper water and bays and channels for crappie action.
- Marine General - www.marinegeneral.com
1501 London Road, on the edge of Lake Superior (218-724-8833)
Lake trout and coho salmon are biting at Park Point on Lake Superior. Try trolling stickbaits in the top 20 feet of water. Smelt run is good.
- Babe's Bait and Tackle - BabesBaitEly.com
500 Kawishiwi Trail, Ely, MN, first business on the left as you are entering town of Ely from the west on Hwy 169 (218-365-6930)
Fishing report 5/22/17
In spite of the drop in temperatures and the scattered showers, many anglers were having some great success on various lakes surrounding the Ely area. Plenty of walleyes were being caught. although no true giants, many respectable stringers were noted with good eating size walleyes in the fourteen to twenty inch range. Jig and minnow combinations have been the winning combo for most, while others had some good luck trolling crank baits in relatively shallow waters near shore.
The bigger success stories have been coming from folks fishing either live suckers or frozen smelt and alewives targeting huge pike. Many pike have been in the forty inch range with a few nearing the fifty inch mark. Most activity seems to be in shallow water as the pike are on a feeding binge after their spawn.
Lake trout too have been cooperating and slamming either trolled spoons or crank baits in water from twenty-five to forty feet. They appear to be more aggressive as the water temps are rising ever so slowly.
The crappie bite has been put on hold temporarily as the water temps dropped just as they were beginning to stage for their spawning rituals, although a few have been captured incindentally by walleye fishermen working near shore waters.
Swanson's Bait & Tackle - www.swansonsbait.com
Caleb Garoutte, Hwy 371 on the north end of Hackensack (218-675-6176)
Please check our website or Facebook page for new fishing reports! We will update them here as they come in!
- Gateway Store kabfishingreport.com - gatewaygeneral.com
Phil & Ellen Hart, US Hwy 53 & Co Rd 122, 30 miles south of Int'l Falls-Canadian border (218-875-2121)
Kabetogama – Namakan – Ash River Fishing Report 5-21-17
What a great way to start the season! Lots of big fish being caught. Walleyes up to 8 lbs and many northern pike pushing the 15 lb mark with a ton of perfect eater sized fish mixed in. Even the small mouth bass have been on a tear which is not generally typical this early in the season. The only downside is that keeper walleyes have been tough to find, but on the flip side the 14-17’ sauger are making up for it. It has been a great opening week to say the least. As far as depth and presentation goes, it is somewhat of a mixed bag. Shallow shoreline points and then deep water (30-40’ and sometimes deeper) seems to be the ticket.
Can’t stress enough that a VERY SLOW presentation is working best with anchoring boats producing most fish. The smallest jig possible or even just a plain hook with a small split shot 12 inches up and tipped with a minnow is producing. Staying close to the bottom is key and the bite is light. Just a small “tick” on your line might indicate a fish has taken the bait. Give some time before setting the hook. As for shorelines and dock fishing a simple slip bobber rig is the way to go. Again, staying close the bottom is key. No more than 6-12” off. Water temps still hovering around 50 degrees. Water levels are good, this provides good currents in many bays and between island openings which tend to hold baitfish.
Looks like we have a good forecast for this coming Memorial weekend, temps will be in the mid-to-high 60’s. Great week to enjoy the abundant wildlife and beautiful sunrises and sunsets. You really need to savor the moment.
Many thanks to Jason Cooper, who wrote the fishing report, furnishing you with great tips and information to help put fish in your boat. Happy Fishing, Crabby Phil & Ellen Hart
LAKE OF THE WOODS
- Lake of the Woods Area Tourism Bureau - www.lakeofthewoodsmn.com
near Junction of Hwy 11 and Hwy 172 in Baudette, (1-800-382-FISH)
Another great week to start off the open water fishing season! Fishing has been consistent even with the ever changing weather last week. Some boats still catching over 100 fish in a day, weeding through small fish to find good keeper walleyes and saugers. Key depths around 17-24' of water. Good fishing all across south shore. Fish are responsive to most kinds of bait right now but jig and a minnow is the best presentation with pink and gold jigs standing out. Some anglers pulling spinners. Others hit reefs in 25-30', also good. Jumbo perch and pike mixed in all over the lake.
Walleyes are still in the Rainy River but fishing has slowed besides a good morning bite. Most walleyes have headed back to the lake but some remain in the river. Same as the lake, a jig and a minnow have been best tactic for boating walleyes. Sturgeon fishing is closed until July 1st.
Up at the NW Angle, anglers are hammering fish. Many have limits before lunch during. Fish are all over islands such as Oak Island and Little Oak. Jig and a minnow up at the angle is the go to method. Gaining steam is trolling with cranks in the shallows or pulling spinners to keep baits moving. Colors should include chartreuse, pink, glow colors and some gold. Key depths ranged from 16-26' of water. Crappies can be found in Canada in 20' of water with sandy bays. Pike being found in current areas. Many smallmouth bass found with walleyes. Lodging, charters and guides are available at www.LakeoftheWoodsMN.com/Lodging
- Anderson's Resorts - www.andersonsleech-lake.com
Tim, (1-800-516-0077) (1-800-516-0077)
Early ice-off and plenty of fish to be caught and 4 can be kept! Grab your jig box and a medium/light rod! I love green jigs but blue and white are also very popular on Leech Lake. We always start shallow and use the wind blown shores to start. Due to early ice-off the early spots might not be the go-to spots this year! It is sure nice to hear the waves on the shore again! Northern pike are also going to wish you had leaders on at times, they enjoy a fat shiner on a jig as well as the walleyes! If you are after pike only you should go into the shallow bays and work the new weedlines with spoons, it can be a lot of fun! We have openings for Memorial Day! Leech Lake will take care of you! Looking forward to a great open water season!
- Chris Kuduk's Guide Service - (320-630-1761)
Tullibie and perch are biting on Mille Lacs! Keep moving to find the fish. For up to the minute ice conditions call Chris anytime or stop by your local bait store. Panfish have been biting on smaller area lakes such as Platte, Sullivan, Shakopee, Knife and Ann. Work the edge of the weedlines for best results. For fishing reports and current conditions listen to Chris and Stan on Outdoor Adventures on iHeart Radio.
- Wayzata Bait & Tackle
Tim or Bob, half mile west off I-494 on Hwy 12 (952-473-2227)
Crappies are biting in the milfoil in 5-10 feet on Lake Minnetonka. Lake Independence is also producing some crappies. For both crappies and sunfish, try Medicine in 5 feet.
MISSISSIPPI - ST. CROIX
- Turk Gierke, Croixsippi Guide Service
With stable and seasonal weather with highs around 65 and lows in the 40s the water and earth are heating up evenly. Stable weather in the month of May like this brings good fishing.
Ron and Diana hold up four of their best eaters upon the end of their 7am to noon trip. Diana ended the day with 5 keepers in 10 minutes – really! Ron and I did have bait on the hook, but she just kept hoisting them in! and we got ignoredI It was fun to watch. They left with ten total for the morning, Plus we released a big post spawn female.
The fishing has been good, as a result of the water and weather being stable, the fish aren’t moving – this really makes guiding look easy (and that’s fine with me).
Here is Mert Miller with a nice eater. Mert had to memorize the eye chart to get into the Marine corp for WWII. It was a pleasure to fish with his crew. These guys brought back a good haul, the action has been good. Plus we landed two nice channel cats and two 10 – 12 pound sturgeon – sturgeon really fight.
Hard to beat a nightcrawler for bait right now.
- Smokey Hills Outdoor Store, Josh Severtson, www.smokeyhills.com
19143 US HWY 71 N, Park Rapids, MN (218-237-5099)
The walleye fishing is always strong early season on many of the different area lakes such as Long Lake (East), Upper & Lower Bottle Lakes, Big Sand Lake, and Fish Hook Lake to name a few. Expect this year to be much of the same. The female walleyes will be post spawn and ready to eat. The days immediately after the spawn can be tough as the fish are often tired out, that will not be the case this year as we had an exceptionally warm spring. The ‘eyes will have had sufficient time to recover and will be active. It is common for the big walleyes to feed on baits typically reserved for catching large pike or muskies in this early period. Six to eight inch swimbaits will be effective and offer results in 12 to 25 feet of water. Casting up on to shallow points next to deep water and working the bait back to the boat will bring success. The Park Rapids area lakes are often missed by those anglers driving all the way up to Red Lake or Lake of the Woods looking for lunker walleyes, stop by and speak with Josh in the fishing department of Smokey Hills Outdoor Store and he can point you in the right direction with up to date information on where and how to put an obese walleye on your wall! https://www.facebook.com/SmokeyHills/
- Wheaton Service & Bait www.wheatonservice.com
Neighbor Steve, 912 Broadway, Wheaton, MN (320-563-1400)
The walleye opener on Lake Traverse was April 22! And the weather was a 10! The walleye bite was a 5. A lot of male walleyes boated, but few reports of females caught, due to how close to spawning they are. In fact the spawn may be happening as I type:) The fishing on Lake Traverse only gets better as the water warms! Some very large catfish were caught over the weekend, the largest reported to us was 30 lbs. Nice fish! I believe Lake Traverse to be among the best the U.S. has to offer. Looking for a place to stay while fishing Lake Traverse? Wheaton Service now offers lodging a The Fishin' Hole Lodge. The Lodge offers a private parking lot, beds, kitchen area, pool table room with a wet bar, big screen TV's. Only you and your group stays at the lodge at a time. If you normally stay at the motel, Give us a try! You'll be glad you did:) Walleye Guides and Catfish Guides are also available. All full day guide packages come with a real SHORE LUNCH cooked over the open fire! Give us a call, we'd love to have you! 320-563-1400 and ask for Steve or Wheaton Service on FB, or Fishin' Hole Lodge on FB. Thanks a million and Take a Kid Fishin!
Mase's In Towne Marine - www.intownemarina.com
Cindy, corner of Lake and Elm (952-442-2096)
After opener, our hours until Memorial Weekend will be Sunday thru Friday from 8 am to 8 pm and Saturday from 7 am to 8 pm. We have 3 of our fishing boats ready for rent starting Saturday morning. Pontoon rental will begin the weekend of the 20th/21st. Call (952) 442-2096 to reserve! We begin pumping gas starting this Friday, with pump hours ending at 7:30 pm. Our gas is 91 octane, marine grade non-ethanol, perfect for all your watercraft.
- Walleye Visions - www.mnfishingconnections.com
Tom Neustrom, 21622 Airport Rd, Grand Rapids, firstname.lastname@example.org, (218-327-2312)
The shiners are running and the walleyes will be actively chasing bait. With the cooler weather of late look for walleyes to hang shallow before heading off shore. All the points from sugar, Ravens, mallard, to stony point should be great spots to try. Depths of 6-12 feet will be best. Vmc mooneye jigs and a shiner will be very productive or with a slip sinker rig with a shiner. Have a great opener and be safe.