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)
7-13- Walleyes are best during the evening hours on Ottertail, West Battle and Rush while trolling cranks in 10-12 feet of water. Leeches and crawlers are working best during morning and daytime hours in about 20 feet of water. For sunnies and crappies, try Fish or Blanche lakes in about 10-15 feet of water. Bass are biting on spinnerbaits in 10-15 feet of water on Stalker and Fiske lakes. For northern pike, try using sucker minnows on Ottertail, West Battle and Donald lakes. Muskie action is picking up on West Battle Lake. Anglers report hooking a few nice fish!
- Veire's Mini-Mart
Dave, 117 E Benton St, corner of Hwy 75 and 14 (507-368-4204)
- Timberline Sport & Tackle
Carl Adams, Junction of Hwy 71 and Blackduck Lake Rd. (218-835-4636)
7-13- Blackduck, Island and Round are producing a good walleye bite in 10-14 feet of water. Try crawlers or leeches for the best results. Pimishe and Gull are your best bets for some panfish action in the weeds. Bass have been hitting on North and South Twin lakes. Stop in or call us for reports!
- Leisure Outdoor Adventures - www.leisureoutdooradventures.com
Jason Freed, Toby Kvalevog, Jeff Andersen (1-855-LOA-HOOK or 1-855-562-4665)
7-9 - Leech - Leech Lake has been a tough nut to crack the last 7-10 days. As much as we want it to happen, we dont always catch limits or "smack em" each day. Storms, food sources and transitioning is affecting the bite right now. Mayflies, Crayfish, young of the year perch are all being consumed on a regular basis by fish making our presentations look less than spectacular. However, given the circumstances, we never give up as fishing guides and can assure you these are the times we end up working the hardest to still make the experience the best we possibly can! So here are some tips for what is working this time of year.
Be sure to focus on the feeding windows in the early AM and evening hours. Try using slip bobbers and leeches in 10-15 feet of water along weed edges, rocky/windblown points, and the edges of main lake reefs. Lindy rigs with a half of a crawler or minnow has been producing some fish during the day hours in 20-28 feet of water along shoreline breaks, humps, or underwater points. Covering ground with spinners or crankbaits along flats, windblow shorelines or breaklines, and the edges of reefs are also good tactics to use this time of year. Try using a #5 or #7 Shad Rap or Flicker Shad and upsizing the size of your spinner blade to create more of a reaction bite.
On the local lakes, there is good bass fishing on weed edges and transition areas in 15-18 feet of water. Try drop shotting with a plastic or even a lively leech, using a ned rig or casting crankbaits to focus on these smallmouth and largemouth. Some local lakes are kicking out walleyes but like Leech the mornings and evenings are best and they are typically going to be weedline fish or relate to major bars or reefs on the lake.
Vermilion - LOA Fishing Guide, Jason Freed, was on Lake Vermilion this past week. This is one of his favorite lakes and one that if you haven’t ever visited you should think about doing. Here is a quick report
Walleyes - Found walleyes along weed edges and mud/rock transitions in either 12-18feet of water or 25-30 feet of water in the mud. Jigging raps and a lindy rig with a pumped up night crawler was best. These fish are eating perch and mayflies heavily so you really have to search for active fish.
Smallmouth - Were found on underwater points or small reefs close to shore. Drop shotting them was by far the best tactic and yield many fish in the 15-18” range. Focus on 12-18 feet of water for the best results.
Northern Pike - We fished large cabbage beds for these creatures throwing Mepps Spinners or larger tandem blade spinner baits. The key was burning them baits over the tops of the cabbage for the best results.
Brainerd: Walleye fishing has fallen into the typical July pattern, however, with the right weather they can still be caught. The best method has been fishing cabbage weeds that have the wind blowing into them with slip bobbers and leeches. Look for weeds in 8-15 feet of water and set your bobber so it will not get tangled in the weeds. If the walleyes are active, they will not hesitate to come up and grab it.
The best part about fishing with a slip bobber and leech is that you will catch everything! Crappies and sunfish have been biting on the deeper weed edge, and casting Beetle Spins or Road Runner jigs have been the best way to locate fish.
Mille Lacs: The Mille Lacs walleyes have slowed a bit, but fishing has still been pretty good. This time of year we like to pull spinner rigs to locate schools of fish, and then spin around and fish them with Lindy Rigs or slip bobbers. The best blade colors are the classic silver and gold, and do not be afraid to move 1.5-1.8 mph to trigger bites. The evening slip bobber bite has been really good!
Smallmouth are still going strong most days, and they can be found around the rocky high spots. Depending on the day, they will be anywhere from 3-15 feet of water. We have been using plastics mostly, but people seem to be catching them on most techniques.
LOA Guide Team
- Minnesota Fishing Guide Service
www.minnesotaguideservice.com - www.minnesotaicefishhouserental.com
Captain Josh Hagemeister (218-732-9919, 320-291-0708)
6-27-Wow, the fishing is hot! I’m talking everything, and it’s been that way for weeks. Walleyes and crappies in the shallow weeds -6-10 feet, bass on the new weedlines in12-17 feet, trout setting up on thermoclines in 15-25 feet, big ‘gills coming off the beds in 5-8 feet, pike cruising shallow of shore sunken “grassy” islands in 7-10 feet. It's wide open, folks! And the mayflies are hatching in places too—so fish rocky areas verses mud. Use crawlers instead of minnows—for everything. And don’t forget the plastics and jigging Raps over shallow weed flats—fish fast fast fast! Did I mention bottom bouncers for everything that swims? Yes that means big “finicky” bluegills on fast moving lead! Think outside the box, folks! Lotsa Fish! Lotsa Fun!
- Frankie's Live Bait and Marine - www.frankies.net
Brad, Corner of Hwy 8 and CR 77 (651-257-6334)
7-13- Walleyes are biting on leeches and crawlers in 10-15 feet of water at the weedlines on North and South Center and Chisago lakes. Northern pike are hitting sucker minnows at the weedlines on area lakes. Crappies are also biting on area lakes at the weedlines, try working about 15-20 feet of water for the best bites.
- Marine General - www.marinegeneral.com
1501 London Road, on the edge of Lake Superior (218-724-8833)
7-13-Walleyes are biting on Fish and Island lakes and on the St. Louis River. Island Lake also has been kicking out some bass and crappies! Lake trout and coho are hitting spoons and stickbaits on Lake Superior. Stop in or call us anytime for a daily report!
- 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)
7-16- Smallmouth bass fishing afficianados are having a heyday in the Ely area of late. Some impressive catches of these aerial acrobats are readily striking spinner baits, crank baits, and best of all for the show, top water baits. It's always an adrenaline rush when one of these very aggressive fish hits a surface bait and expodes into the air. Most of the lakes up here in the North Country have an ample supply of these fish, and they have saved the day for many anglers who have had limited success in their pusuit of walleyes.
Speaking of walleyes, there have been some decent catches of them in recent days, and some of them have been bragging size specimens. Burntside Lake has been producing some recently in the 27 to 30" range and that has put a big smile on the face of anglers there. Other lakes in the area have been producing walleyes in the fourteen to eighteen in range, which most anglers target as the best for the dinner table. Basswood Lake has been producing fine stringers of fish, but getting a permit to fish there is akin to winning the state's lottery.
Some lake trout are still co-operating on Burntside Lake as anglers drag either flutter spoons or large profile crank baits 30 - 45' down over water depths of fifty to ninety feet. Most action has been occuring around sunken islands or sharp island points that drop off into deeper water. Bait color hasn't been an issue as fishermen are offering a variety off colors without determining anypreference by the fish.
Big pike are still slamming sucker minnows, but the biggest of the species seem to be coming from water in the ten to twenty foot range as opposed to the shallows. Spinner baits and spoons still have been catching the majority of fish as one can cover much more water than using live bait.
Swanson's Bait & Tackle - www.swansonsbait.com
Caleb Garoutte, Hwy 371 on the north end of Hackensack (218-675-6176)
7-9-The weather has been a little shaky around here the last week with the heat and storms rolling through. Fishing has been inconsistent for the walleye with most fish coming pulling bottom bouncers on the flats. We're definitely to the stage of the summer where covering ground is key. They have also been pulling fish off humps after dark with lighted bobbers, and trolling crankbaits for suspended fish.
Largemouth bass fishing has been very good with the fish stacking in the sloppy weeds. Frog fishing continues to be the method of choice, but you can do well with anything you can get through the weeds. Deep water fish have been active as well, but it seems the weedbeds have been where to find the larger fish.
Smallmouth have been most active during the early morning hours, and they have been moving up in the evening too. Topwater has worked well when the fish are feeding. If they're a little bit tricky, work a swim bait down the drop offs slowly, or break out the drop-shot rig and work the pockets off the breaks.
Muskie fishing has had a little life with guys pulling fish out of Little Boy/Wabedo and Leech. While bucktails have produced, jerkbaits have been producing the most action overall. Focus on the cabbage beds right now. Don't be afraid to pull out some topwater in the early morning and late evening.
- Cooper's Gateway Store kabfishingreport.com - gatewaygeneral.com
Jason and Robyn Cooper, US Hwy 53 & Co Rd 122, 30 miles south of Int'l Falls-Canadian border (218-875-2121)
7-9-TURNING THE CORNER, LAKE REPORT
As we head into mid-July we may be finally seeing a slow transition to more summer like fishing. Even though the mayfly hatch increased in intensity it didn’t seem to affect the bite. Some are starting to find some success on the mid lake reefs, but they still seem to be inactive and scattered. The best walleye fishing is still working the wind but recently a little deeper, say 12’-25’. Personally, we found nice groups of active fish around island and shoreline points. Wind and soft bottom areas were still the key and that should stay consistent until the recent mayfly hatch subsides. Besides the depth change, you could refer to the last couple weeks fishing reports as it feels like not a lot has changed. We have had multiple weather fronts which is moving fish from one area to another, but for the most part your technique should stay the same. Live bait rigs tipped with a leech or crawler has taken over unless you are heading down to Namakan where a jig and minnow seems work well. We found multiple active areas turning fish. Picnic, Ram and Etling were all good producers and when the wind was really howling, bays like Nebraska and Daly were good. Find the bug hatch, and you will find fish.
Larger northern pike are being caught and small mouth are still active along most shorelines.
The 4th of July ended up being just about perfect. After the weather passed the day was about as good as it gets. The fireworks display on Kab was awesome. Boats were seen from east to west watching the sky light up in numerous areas. It was a fun and safe holiday week. The lake was busy as the unseasonably warm weather brought out an above average amount of pleasure boaters. It was nice to see everyone having a great time!
As we turn the corner into mid-summer start checking your favorite berry patches. They are early this year as we were already picking our favorite spots last week. It looks to be a banner season as the ground was a sea of blue with berries everywhere. The horse flies and mosquitoes were out in force so don’t forget the bug spray and headsets.
Let’s keep the summer rolling and we’ll see you soon!
Jason and Robyn
Great week to be on Kabetogama. Fishing was great in general we used a variety of leeches and minnows. 15ft to 20ft produce the best results and make sure you fish the winds. Lindy rigs and soft bottom. Good time to be on Kabetogama.
Lots of mayflies on the water this week however fishing was still good most days. Windy days or cloudy days found me spending most my time shallow again. Fishing weed lines and rocky shore lines in 8-14’ with live bait rigs and either a leech or half a crawler. Also, did well this week fishing mid lake structure in 16-24’ again with rigs and either a leech or a crawler.
Fishing this past week kept us guessing. I had the overall best luck with leeches. Best bite came from windward shorelines using a slip sinker rig or jig head. Lots of small fish and most active depth was 16’-20’.
It's safe to say we have hit the full on transition to the deeper water bite. I still found Thursday with strong west wind to be really good in shallow water all day. If you get the 20-30 gusty days you can catch fish in shallow weeds all summer long. On Tues, Thurs and Fri I found a decent shallow bite till about 8am then found fish to be on 15-23' reefs the rest of the day. Both kabby and Namakan seem to be a similar bit right now. Live bait rigs with leeches on kab and leech/minnow on Namakan.
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)
7-16- Walleyes have the feed bags on. MWC tournament anglers reporting strong numbers of walleyes and a very healthy lake. Numerous trophies from 8 - 11.5 lbs brought in. Drifting and trolling spinners and crawlers or trolling cranks in the basin in 26-34 ft best. Some fish on structure, others in mud.
On the Rainy River, sturgeon fishing "keep season" is now open until Sept 30. NABC bass tournament Sunday found conditions less than desirable with big rains this week turning the river into chocolate milk. Top team found smallies in tributaries with clean water, 5 bass, 16.12 lbs. If only the river was fishable!
Up at the NW Angle... Walleye fishing excellent. Lots of fish around Crow Duck, Four Blocks, and Little Oak Islands. Hammered gold, orange and chartreuse still hot colors. 8 - 24'. Crankbaits on Little Traverse Bay picking up. Ontario side, crawler harnesses on fire on reefs. Lots of muskies being caught as well. Smaller baits vs large best for most. A complete list of lodging, packages, guides and fishing info available at www.LakeoftheWoodsMN.com
LAKE OF THE WOODS
- Sportsman's Lodges, Lake of the Woods, Rainy River - www.sportsmanslodges.com (1-800-862-8602)
7-16- Water temperature is bouncing around in the mid 70's this week. The best technique to reeling in walleyes has been mixed this week. Some anglers are doing really well with hammered gold, white/silver and red crawler harness, 1-2 ounces of weight and tipping it with crawler in 16'-28'. Other anglers are finding that trolling with crank baits is working the best 28'-31' outside of Zippel Bay, Graceton Beach and the northern reefs in Big Traverse. Our guides always want to give you the best experience but if you prefer one approach over another we are happy to accommodate. Charter trips include a guide aboard a 27' Sport Craft boat with onboard restroom, use of poles, bait, tackle, assortment of pop and water and fish cleaning. Shore lunches and box lunches available too.
Congratulations to the MTT tournament winners! The top bag was 5 fish weighing in over 36 pounds. Minnesota Tournament Trail held a tournament July 6 & 7 on the south shore of Lake of the Woods. The south shore of Lake of the Woods is host to several tournaments this year. We welcome the Cabela's Master Walleye Circuit and North American Bass Circuit this weekend. Click here to learn more about these tournaments.
August Family Special
Free Lodging and ½ Price Charter fishing for kids. Load up the family and let's go fishing. Click here to learn more about this hot deal and start planning your trip.
LAKE OF THE WOODS
- Sportsman's Oak Island Lodge, NW Angle/Oak Island, MN - www.oakislandlodge.com (800-772-8411)
7-16 - Multi Species Central - Walleyes, saugers, perch, pike, smallmouth bass and muskies a plenty. Come try them all. Water temp is currently in the mid 70's. Walleyes have been hungry in 24'-30' of water on rock structures using hammered gold, silver and orange crawler harnesses and crawlers as well as jigs and a minnow. Some nice smallmouth bass have been found around rock reefs in the islands in 4'-14' using crankbaits or lipless cranks bounced off bottom with an irregular retrieval. Huge pike have been biting along rocky shorelines and weedy bays throwing out dare devils and bucktails. Some anglers have also been having great luck long casting around humps and deep sand flats while trolling with heavy spoons. Let it sink to the bottom and reel in. Muskie fishing is also heating up. Trolling deep bays, rocky points and weedy bays using bucktails and top water lures have been successful. Don't forget a good net! You never know when you might reel in a monster!
We have some openings left here and there this summer and through fall for lodging and guided trips. Click here for availability and rates or call 800-772-8411 and let's have some fun.
- Anderson's Resorts - www.andersonsleech-lake.com/spirit/
7-13 - Muskie action has picked up on Leech Lake! Topwater lures seem to be the ticket, day break and sun set are the best times to be on the water! Walleyes have moved out in to the deeper flats next to the reefs, long Lindy rigs with slow death hooks seem to be the best live bait rig. Trolling Raps is a good fish finding method. Smallmouth bass have moved up on the reefs. Try Huddles, Spirit, Big Rock, same spots that were great for walleye a month ago! Lindys or artificial baits are working! Boy, do they fight! Warmer weather and clear flat days mean fish deeper water during the day and pull out the lights for the best bite of the day. August equals some of the best fishing of the year (pike / muskie)! We still have room for you up here on Leech Lake! Come enjoy lake living before the summer's over!
- Chris Kuduk's Guide Service - (320-630-1761)
Mille Lacs walleye bite is great! Fish are being caught in the mud and the rocks pulling crawlers with long leaders. The launches are doing great, catching many nice fish. Smallies are going great guns! Try the south end and the east side. Tube jigs and wacky rigs in 8-12 feet of water working as well as crankbaits. Platte, Sullivan, Shakopee and Anne are all producing a great panfish bite! Call Chris to book a launch trip or for up-to-the-minute fishing reports. Listen to Chris and Stan live for a weekly fishing report from 5-6 pm Saturdays on Outdoor Adventures on www.twincitiesnewstalk.com (iheart Radio)! Or listen to their podcast!
- Wayzata Bait & Tackle
Tim or Bob, half mile west off I-494 on Hwy 12 (952-473-2227)
7-13- Bass are hitting on Minnetonka, Independence and Medicine lakes. Walleyes and panfish are biting on Minnetonka in the 10-15 foot weedlines. Northern pike are also biting on Minnetonka in 16-20 feet of water. Muskie action is starting to pick up now! Stop in or call us for bait and more details!
MISSISSIPPI - ST. CROIX
- Turk Gierke, Croixsippi Guide Service
7-4- We’ve had some success for walleye in July 2018.
Mark Miller homegrown in Afton, MN hoists a stringer of walleye, he caught with his brothers Tom and Terry. Along with nephew Dave. This crew had a fantastic bite going for their trip and made the most of it.
Regarding the Millers trip we caught dozens of freshwater drum along with the walleye, it was a good laugh as who was the “King Sheepherder!”… It was very interesting because Tom Miller (above far right) is an expert by training in freshwater mussels and this crew caught five different species of mussels. Tom knew their “nicknames” and scientific names. Tom also talked about how zebra mussel populations trend downward after their initial boom as the ecosystem learns to consume them. I guessed sunfish would eat them as they are newly forming and he concurred.
Another pic at the Miller stringer. They planned a big family fish fry as this was a get together fishing trip/family reunion over the Fourth event.
The river is high, eight feet high and the entire river is a “No Wake.” With recent rains yesterday it will stay at this level for another week to ten days. The water is mainly clear though from a clarity stand point and not silting up. There is of course floating debris here and there.
I’ve had a long string of walleye trips and smallmouth are always a welcome fish to be found on some walleye spots. Here Nate’s showing a nice catch and release smallie. I let all smallmouth go.
The St. Croix is a very good resource for many species, it was once known as an outstanding white bass fishery, there numbers have declined. I also feel smallmouth bass numbers are down. Walleyes stay strong though.
Here is Justin with a nice catch and release walleye. This was a good fighting fish and Justin landed it well from hook set to net! Well done. Peaceful morning.
John with a nice one. John did a good job turning bites into hook ups.
St. Croix water level is 684.60 and steady, water temp was 74 degrees.
Have fun and enjoy the river!
Signed, Charlie “Turk” Gierke
- Smokey Hills Outdoor Store, Josh Severtson, www.smokeyhills.com
19143 US HWY 71 N, Park Rapids, MN (218-237-5099)
6-27-With the summer temperatures hovering around the 70's and 80's the fish are starting to run their summer patterns. Slowly moving out of the shallows to around 10'-20' looking for the deeper weeds.
Walleyes are still somewhat active with a jig and minnow, but switching to a lindy with a leech or crawler will make things easier! Look for the taller standing weeds in 15'-20' of water during the day and moving into 8'-16' through out the night!
Bass- Again leaving the shallows looking for 6-12" and weeds. Tie on an Outkast "RTX Jig" and pair it with a Yum "Craw or Chunk" trailer for a killer combo!
Crappie / Sunfish- Some fish still surprisingly on beds in the area. Most of the others will be in the weeds or deep running structure in 6-14" looking for a slip bobber and VMC "Hot Skirt jig" tipped with a crappie minnow or small leech!
- Steve's Bait www.wheatonservice.com
Neighbor Steve, 912 Broadway, Wheaton, MN (320-563-1400, 320-563-1400)
Steve's Bait offers everything you need to be successful on Lake Traverse!! From the hot jig or plug, to the Best LIVE BAIT to be had within 75 miles!!! Pop, water and snacks will also be available! Lodging is also available at our Fishin' Hole Lodge, along with ice fishin packages. Good luck on the water!! Take a Kid Fishin! You can also check us out on Facebook!
Mase's In Towne Marine - www.intownemarina.com
Cindy, corner of Lake and Elm (952-442-2096)
7-13- The bite is still on for many species in Lake Waconia! Expect a strong sunfish bite on waxies and crawlers. Crappies have moved a little deeper. Fish them in the weeds in 8 to 16 feet of water with crappie minnows for good action in places like Keg’s, North and Center Reefs or on the north end of Coney Island. Walleye anglers have been catching some nice crappies occasionally on fatheads as well. As for the walleyes, we suggest fishing with fatheads and leeches off the deeper weedlines and drops such as Keg’s, North, Red’s and Anderson’s Reef as well as the east end of Coney Island. For muskies, big spinners have been a common choice in 12 to 16 feet of water. Bass action has been very good. We’ve had a wide range of sizes being caught both shallow and deeper. Different angling styles have worked. Soft plastics have been good in less than 8 feet of water, while spinnerbaits and jigs have produced some nice ones in the weeds on the reefs. We continue to have some decent reports of northern pike being caught. Many times they are caught while fishing bass or walleye. We look forward to seeing you! Good luck fishing!
Our Pontoon and Fishing Boat Rental Season is now in full swing! We have 3 pontoons that hold up to 9 adults each and 1 that holds 12 adults. We rent 2 fishing boats with 15 hp motors that hold up to 4 people each and 1 fishing boat with a 9.9 hp motor that holds 3 people. For more information, click on this link… http://intownemarina.com/Pontoon&BoatRental.htm
If you are interested in reserving a pontoon or fishing boat, please call (952) 442-2096. Hours are Saturday and Sunday from 6:30 am to 8:30 pm, and on Monday thru Friday from 7:30 am to 8:30 pm.
- Walleye Visions - www.mnfishingconnections.com
Tom Neustrom, 21622 Airport Rd, Grand Rapids, firstname.lastname@example.org, (218-327-2312)
6-29-The walleye fishing on Big Winnie has been good this year and many anglers visiting the area have been happy to say the least. Most of the fish have move off shore to the humps and bars, but there are still lots of fish in the new emerging weeds to go along with other options, The Fence, Backside of Bena Bar. Horseshoe, and the north side of Zoomers have all been good choices. Leeches and nightcrawlers have been good and bottom bouncers and spinners in depths of 20-27 feet have also been good. The Northern Pike fishing has been excellent with spinner baits and trolling crank baits along the north and south shores in new emerging cabbage weeds. Perch fishing has also been decent on the shallow rock piles on the north end near Farley Creek. The summer fishing is in Full swing and Big Winnie is a great place tp visit.
WEST CENTRAL MN
- Fishin' With Frisch Pro Guide Service - www.fishingthemidwest.com
Mike Frisch (218-731-8141)
7-8-The walleye bite remains steady, particularly the morning bite, on several lakes in the Alexandria area including Reno and Osakis. Various live bait snells and spinners tipped with leeches and crawlers in 16-23 feet of water are taking fish. In the afternoon, anglers are advised to go bass fishing as the deep weedline bite for largemouth is heating up! Casting a crankbait on the weedline is a great way to find bass, and then slowing up with a jig-worm combination is a great way to catch a bunch more!