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Minnesota Fish Tales Fishing Report
The Most In-Depth Statewide Fishing Report in Minnesota!

Fish Tales Archive

© 2018 OutdoorsWeekly.com - Copyright Info

- Ben's Bait & Tackle
Bennet or Craig Stich, Junction of Hwy 78 and 210 (218-864-5596)

5-9- Crappies are biting on Fish and Mollie Stark lakes in 5-15 feet of water. Best baits are minnows and waxworms. Give us a call or stop in for reports!

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- Veire's Mini-Mart - Visit our Facebook Page
Dave, 117 E Benton St, corner of Hwy 75 and 14 (507-368-4204)

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- Timberline Sport & Tackle
Carl Adams, Junction of Hwy 71 and Blackduck Lake Rd. (218-835-4636)

5-9- Panfish are biting on Blackduck, Gull, Pimushe, Gilstead and Rabideau. Work the shorelines and shallow bays in about 6-10 feet of water.

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- Leisure Outdoor Adventures - www.leisureoutdooradventures.com
Jason Freed, Toby Kvalevog, Jeff Andersen (1-855-LOA-HOOK or 1-855-562-4665)

5-15- Well, our team of Leech Lake Fishing Guides all opened up on Leech Lake this past weekend. Three weeks prior to the day, it was pretty hit or miss if we would be launching our boats and fishing for Leech Lake walleyes, but Mother Nature gave us a free pass and we got it done.  It was a an awesome weekend to be on the water and the walleyes cooperated.

Here is your quick Leech Lake report from Walleye Opener and a look ahead to this week.  Walleyes last weekend were primarily found in 4-11 feet of water depending on where you were fishing.  We were all over the lake, covering a wide range of areas as a guide team. We found that the early morning bites were tougher and as the water warmed up during the day late morning and afternoon the bite definitely picked up. Being met with little wind, it made fishing a little more of a chess match, but we were able to adapt.  When Leech Lake, doesn’t have wind it can be very difficult because of the clear water and fish relating to the shallows.

1/8th oz jigs with shiners or rainbows were the ticket,  No real colors stood out, it was more about the cadence and making sure you were staying away from the fish so you didn’t spook them.  Lindy Rigs also produced some fish as well. Areas to target were Sucker Bay, West Goose Flats, the key areas around Bear Island, and any of the points that have some wind blowing in.  With this steady warm up, and water temps getting into the 50s you will see action really start to heat up on the lake. We expect the next few weeks in May to be very good on the lake.  

Brainerd Lakes Area

In the Brainerd Lakes area, walleye fishing was overall pretty slow on the bigger bodies of water such as North Long, Gull, Round, and Pelican.  Some fish were caught during the evenings pitching jigs on sand flats. Gull is known for a good after dark crankbait bite and this should be good for the next couple of weeks depending on the moon phase.  

Crappie fishing in the area continues to provide the best action.  A tube jig under a float in 3-7 feet of water has been the ticket. Look to shallow weed flats or dark bottom bays still to be your best bet.  This bite should continue to be good for another week or more if weather continues to be steady. So if the walleyes are biting, go chase some crappies.

Mille Lacs

Tim Hanske reported in on Mille Lacs and said walleyes were in abundant but with the clear water and lack of wind you had to make long casts to catch them, at times almost site fishing them.  Jigs and minnows or jigs and plastics worked best around Garrison Reef, Myr Mar, and the North End sand in 9-13 feet of water.

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- Minnesota Fishing Guide Service
www.minnesotaguideservice.com - www.minnesotaicefishhouserental.com
Capt Josh Hagemeister (320-291-0708)

5-2- With water temps around the state hovering around 55-60 it has been easy to find just about any panfish in the shallows feeding, getting ready to spawn. No real secrets here folks, just practice selective harvest so there are fish to catch 5 years from now.  Walleyes can be found roaming the shallow flats outside spawning areas, primary shoreline breaks, newly sprouted weed lines, or using current areas (inflowing creeks/rivers).  In either case, trolling smaller shiner colored crankbaits will produce.  Look for the fish on the first drop off out from shore during the day.  An  1/8 oz. blue/white or green jig tipped with a shiner minnow will do the trick. Drag the bait on the bottom at slow to medium speed.  Lotsa Fish! Lotsa Fun!

- Frankie's Live Bait and Marine - www.frankies.net
Brad, Corner of Hwy 8 and CR 77 (651-257-6334)

5-9- Work the bays and channels on area lakes for some panfish action. Lakes that have been producing crappies and sunnies are Chisago, and South and North Lindstrom.

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- Marine General - www.marinegeneral.com
1501 London Road, on the edge of Lake Superior (218-724-8833)

5-9- On Lake Superior, anglers are fishing from shore near the French River and the Two Harbors area and are catching kamloops and salmon.  For some kamloop action, try the Knife River or the Lester River. Crappies are biting in the shallows on area lakes. Call us for details!

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- 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)

5-14- The season opener started off very well for most anglers. There was some tension among many that the ice would be off the lakes before the season started, but Mother Nature came through and warmed things up enough to clear the lakes just in time.
Basswood Lake led the pack in success rates this year as in most, with some truly great catches of walleyes and northern pike. Rainbow chub minnows were THE bait to have due to the cold water temps, and anglers just couldn't be happier with the results. A good portion of the fish caught were in relatively shallow water near shore, and this is probably due to the late ice out and the shallows warming up quickly in the sun.
Fall Lake had it's usual flotilla of boats congregated around the power dam, and anglers were doing fine, although there were many undersized fish to be released. Minnows were the best option on a jig fished in and around the rock piles. Some anglers fished areas away from the crowds and found fish to their satisfaction elsewhere. Once again the fish were in the shallows.
White Iron Lake had it's usual herd of fishermen clustered around the area where the Kawishiwi River river enters on the southern portion of the lake. A lot of undersized fish were cooperating, but those who persevered managed to extract enough walleyes out of the size slot to fill their stringers.
Burntside Lake surprised a few anglers with lake trout willing to smack both spoons and larger crank baits trolled in twenty to thirty feet of water.
If you've never fished the Ely area lakes, there's no better time than now to plan your next fishing expedition here.

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- Fish On Bait & Sport www.habitatnow.com
Kyle, 201 S Franklin St, 2 blocks south of stoplights in Glenwood (320-634-3667)

Visit the Habitat Outlet on line at www.HabitatNOW.com for all your habitat needs.  Fish On!

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Swanson's Bait & Tackle - www.swansonsbait.com
Caleb Garoutte, Hwy 371 on the north end of Hackensack (218-675-6176)

5-21-Fishing has been very good this last week and weekend. We are seeing increasing activity on the walleye front on many of the later starting area lakes like Pine Mountain, Woman, Baby, and Pleasant. Still a little cool on the water temps, but fish are showing up in 15-22 during the day, and shallower at dusk and after dark. During the day slow pull minnows like big fatheads or shiners on a jig or rig, and come evening move up onto the shelves and pitch jigs or throw crankbaits and run them off the breaks. Leech has been great, just get up in the shallower water 6 - 14' and move slow and get out away from the boat - if there is a good chop you can try vertical jigging, but it has been best to get out and away from the boat.

Crappies have been getting more aggressive now. They had been kind of slow despite being up shallow. Now they're starting to bite a little better and you should be able to find them in the usual spring spots. It's hard to beat a slip bobber and crappie minnow up by the beaver piles, timber, and groups of docks, but if you throw on some crappie plastics and cruise you should be able to find pockets of active fish.

Bass fishing (large and smallmouth) has also heated up this week. Fish are getting more aggressive and are more willing to take faster presentations. They've been hitting some topwater, and shallow cranks have been pretty effective with the lack of vegetation as usual in the early part of the season. Bouncing plastics across the bottom while moving them along at a good clip can produce some great fishing - if you pause it on the bottom, allow a few seconds to let chasing fish pick it off the bottom. 

We should continue to see good fishing this week as water temps continue to warm. There will be some fronts coming throughout the week which could throw patterns, but there could also be some great feeding periods triggered by front activity if you're on the water!

Good Luck!

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- 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)

5-14- To say the 2018 fishing season started with a bang would be an understatement.

With just about everyone catching limits of fish it could be one of the best openers in years.  Most years the start of the season on Kab can be a head scratcher, but not this one.  Fish were being found in most depths and were hungry to say the least.

Dock and shoreline anglers seemed to fair best with the bigger fish and those in a little deeper water were finding more of the eater variety.  If you could find shiners at your local bait shop, you got lucky as very few had them.  Even though shiners were producing more fish, all minnow types did well.  Jig fishing was by far your best option.  Tip your favorite jig with any minnow you could find and it was game on!  All techniques were working whether you were jigging under a bobber, over the side of the boat or pitching the shorelines.  Early and late in the day were peak times to be on the water but there was a consistent bite throughout the day which made for a few sunburned faces and tired anglers.  

Northern pike were a nuisance as usual, but it was the size that made the difference.  Last years pesky 20 inchers are now that perfect 23-26 inch eater size and no one is complaining losing a few minnows to them.

Throw in the almost perfect weather and we had a banner start to which could be shaping up to be one of the best years we have seen on Kab!  The only negative aspect to the great weather is we are extremely dry so bonfires need to be kept in check.  Check with local authorities before having a fire as we were in a critical fire warning designated area yesterday.

With the late ice out waterfowl including hundreds of loons, are still migrating through which is making for some great bird watching while catching fish or enjoying a boat ride.  A few pelicans have made an appearance but it is obvious they are behind schedule as well.

Let's hope the fishing continues to be as hot as the the weather forecast!  Be safe out there, it's a long season and we are all just getting our boats in the water for the first time.  It may take a few boat rides to get our sea legs under us again!

​On a final note make sure to pop your head into Gateway General as we have a new look and a lot more to offer.  Made to order subs have been a big hit as well as our hand scooped ice cream and new F'real ice cream machine that can make you a smoothie, milkshake or iced coffee!  We also have expanded our tackle, groceries, hardware and gift selection.  We have also have begun to add some award winning wildlife mounts done by Bob Christensen with more on the way.  It's your one stop place on the way to the cabin or before you go out on the lake!

Hope to see you soon!

Jason and Robyn
Gateway General

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- Lake of the Woods Area Tourism Bureau - www.lakeofthewoodsmn.com
near Junction of Hwy 11 and Hwy 172 in Baudette, (1-800-382-FISH)

5-14- The MN Fishing Opener was a success with strong numbers of walleyes and saugers caught. A jig and a frozen shiner was the ticket while anchored up. Lots of fish stacked in shallows. Lots of big girls mixed in with keeper walleyes and saugers. Anywhere from 10-20 feet holding fish. Water on the lake and river is about 2 feet low, pay attention if cruising shallows. 
Rainy River was on fire this weekend. Reports of 100 fish days. Anglers who remained mobile and searched for the fish were rewarded. Lots of big females caught. Jig and a frozen shiner being bounced off bottom working well. Sturgeon fishing closed May 16- June 30.  Keep season opens again July 1 - Sep 30.

Up at the NW Angle... Much like the south shore, anglers using a jig and a minnow along shore lines were catching walleyes of all sizes. The angle area is ice free.  Some boats have already navigated from the south shore to NW Angle. A complete list of lodging, fishing packages, how to's, and info for spring fishing are available at www.LakeoftheWoodsMN.com/Lodging.

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- Sportsman's Lodges, Lake of the Woods, Rainy River - www.sportsmanslodges.com (1-800-862-8602)

5-9 - All measures pointing to a fantastic opener this year. It has been a cool spring and late spawn this year. We expect the walleyes to be stacked up in the shallows, bays and river. The Rainy River is open, many bays and outside Pine Island/Lighthouse Gap up to a few miles right now has open water and we expect the lake to open up more in the next few days. Miles of fishable areas are open.

We are getting some rain today (forecasting ¼ inch) and winds gusting up to 20 mph. The rest of the week looks dry but gusts up to 20mph tomorrow too. This should do some well needed damage to the ice. Opener forecast is looking good, calling for highs in the mid 60's, partly cloudy and light and variable wind. Water level is low and clarity this weekend was about a foot in the river. Water temperature today is 54 degrees and current is slower than average.

Rigging Up
A jig and a shiner or chub are a good choice for Saturday. Do a little bouncing off bottom in shallow waters, river and bays.  Start off your weekend early with pike and sturgeon fishing. Pike season is open all year on Lake of the Woods and sturgeon season catch and release is open now through May 15.  Pike are hitting on jigs with a smelt sitting on the bottom or crankbaits in the shallow bays.  Sturgeon are being found in the deep holes of the river and bays using a 4/0 or 5/0 hook, 2-4 ounce no roll sinker, gob of worms and a little something for smell like a shiner or two. Lots of fishing opportunities abound.

2018 Sturgeon Tournament was a hit!
We enjoyed another fun tournament this past weekend. Like our Facebook page and check out all of the highlights on our page.

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- Sportsman's Oak Island Lodge, NW Angle/Oak Island, MN - www.oakislandlodge.com (800-772-8411)

5-9- Yippee! We have open water! 
Just in time for the Minnesota walleye opener, we now have open water from Young's Bay to the lodge. The mail came out by boat for the first day since November yesterday. Check out the video on our Facebook page

We expect fishing to be great in shallow. A jig and a minnow should be all you need to reel in supper. Water temp is currently 52 degrees. The weather forecast is looking good. 

We still have ice to our south but the warm temps in the forecast, wind and rain should chew up the ice fairly quickly. Lots of areas to fish this week and next week Ontario walleye season opens up on May 19. Openings still available Memorial Weekend and throughout the summer. 

Give us a call 800-772-8411 or email us to start planning your getaway. Looking forward to seeing everyone soon!

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- Anderson's Resorts - www.andersonsleech-lake.com
Tim, (1-800-516-0077) spirit@arvig.net (e-mail) 

5-1-May is a wonderful month to fish Leech Lake! Find your jig box and pick out your favorite colors (greens, south side/white, North side) of Leech Lake, tipped with a minnow is the ticket for early success here! Shallow water points are where you should always start. Pike and bass action will also pick up with the water warming up! There is plenty of wide open spaces to fish. If you have not fished Leech Lake before this would be a great year to do it! Talk to your friends and come up in June, warm weather and great fishing will make it a great trip! We still have a few openings for this upcoming season. Give us a call!

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- Chris Kuduk's Guide Service - www.kuduksguideservice.com
For up to the minute reports, call Chris at 320-630-1761!

We are looking forward to a great walleye, pike and bass season on Mille Lacs Lake! Platte, Sullivan, Shakopee, Knife and Anne are great early season crappie spots to try! Chris has some openings for guide trips on Mille Lacs. Please call Chris anytime 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 the podcast! Please call Chris anytime for up-to-the-minute fishing reports.

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- Wayzata Bait & Tackle
Tim or Bob, half mile west off I-494 on Hwy 12 (952-473-2227)

5-9- Anglers are catching crappies from shore in the bays of Minnetonka, Medicine, Independence and Sarah. Try a small jig and a minnow. Give us a call for reports!

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- Turk Gierke, Croixsippi Guide Service

5-16 - With the air temps in the mid seventies the water is warming fast and the fishes metabolisms are rising with the thermometer, and so its a good bite! We have been limiting out on walleye in the 16-18″ ranges.

The bronze back bashers (smallmouth bass) have been hitting well to in the shallower water, they are a by product catch that are NOT open and can’t be targeted.  Sheepshead (freshwater drum) have been on fire, and biting as strong as the first week of June. Drum bite strongest in the first week of June every year, so maybe they are ahead of their normal schedule?? I think people should start keeping the Sheeps so my boat doesn’t have to catch so many!

Mike with a walleye over 20' these are the ones that are hard to throw back but if you river fish a lot throw these back to help the future populations. Caught on a crawler. Mike was out with his old friend from third grade Corey, and another friend Andy. These guys really pounded on the fish!!
Mike with a walleye over 20″ – these are the ones that are hard to throw back but if you river fish a lot throw these back to help the future populations. Caught on a crawler. Mike was out with his old friend from third grade Corey, and another friend Andy. These guys really pounded on the fish keeper walleye!!

Crawlers in 10 to 20 feet of water. Crankbaits? I haven’t been… but they are working from anglers I know. Its leeches time now too.

“I am feeling it that the bite will change for the better real quick.”  this was my quote from May 8th report. It happened!  So here is another guess I am guessing we should have a good to strong bite for another week.

St. Croix water level is 681.00 and steady, water temp was 62 degrees.

Have fun and enjoy the river!

Signed, Charlie “Turk” Gierke


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- Smokey Hills Outdoor Store, Josh Severtson, www.smokeyhills.com
Park Rapids, Minnesota (218-237-5099)

Crappie are grouped together between 16-32 feet of water, not quite into the shallows for the spring time. Looking for a Northland "Impulse tungsten jig" tipped with a crappie minnow or waxworm for best luck! Sunfish are in or around the weeds in 8-16 feet or any kind of structure. Looking for a VMC "Tungsten Fly Jig" paired with a wax work or spike to fill the limit!

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- Wheaton Service & Bait    www.wheatonservice.com
Neighbor Steve, 912 Broadway, Wheaton, MN (320-563-1400)

Lake Traverse, on the MN/SD border, is on fire! The walleye bite has been great, as well as the other species of fish we catch on our quest for walleye:) Water temps are relatively cool for this time of the year. Wheaton Service bait shop is relocating to Hwy 75 in Wheaton. Way better location, You will be able to drive right into our new lot pulling a boat, no hassles like our old location. Like always, Wheaton Service will have the "Best Bait in Town" and we always have up to date info on the bite that is going on on Lake Traverse. Our website will remain the same until our new shop is up and running. Wheaton Service will once again be building lite weight fish houses this fall. Our houses brand is Fishin' Hole Lodges. Lite weight skid houses, all aluminum, We use the same 3m tape that Yetti uses on their houses, less screws, makes for a great finished look! Available in most any color. The average 6x8 is $3,795.00 and weights about 360 lbs.Check us out at wheatonservice.com... 320 563-1400 Ask for Steve! Take a Kid Fishin!

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Mase's In Towne Marine - www.intownemarina.com
Cindy, corner of Lake and Elm (952-442-2096)

5-4- In Towne Marina Lake Waconia Report - Shop/Access remain temporarily closed.

The record has been broken. Lake Waconia ice-out has never been later. The official ice-out is today, May 4th. Due to the extremely late start to the open-water season, our bait shop and access will remain closed for an interim period of time while we begin constructing our marina docks. We will update mid-next week with any potential opening hours for both our bait shop and access.

It takes several weeks for us to complete work needed to safely use our docks. We appreciate everyone’s patience during this time as there will be periodic disruptions moving heavy dock equipment from our parking lot into the lake that we normally don’t have to worry about this time of year.

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- Walleye Visions - www.mnfishingconnections.com
Tom Neustrom, 21622 Airport Rd, Grand Rapids, tom@mnfishingconnections.com, (218-327-2312)

5-1- There are still masses of ice to move before there will be open water on Big Winnie for opener. Anything can happen and we have our fingers crossed that with warm weather, wind, and spring rains the ice will be gone. 2013 was the last time the big lake was frozen on opener and most walleye anglers fished Big Cutfoot with great results. The jig and minnow bite was awesome and all the points to the Gap area were good and there were lots of walleyes available. Call ahead to any of the available bait shops for up to date information. Opening day is a Minnesota tradition and the walleyes will be biting. Pick up a good supply of 1/8th and 1/4 ounce jigs before you head to the lake. Make sure you’re ready. Good luck.

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