Minnesota Fish Tales Fishing Report
The Most In-Depth Statewide Fishing Report in Minnesota!
Fish Tales Archive
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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 - Visit our Facebook Page
Dave, 117 E Benton St, corner of Hwy 75 and 14 (507-368-4204)
Anglers on the west side of Lake Benton found little action, with relatively little wind. Even the bullheads weren’t biting, and only a few walleyes were pulled out. Action was a little steadier on the east end of the lake, with several nice fishing caught using minnows. Most of the walleyes were smaller males, and many of the females may still be in a pre-spawn pattern.
Rock Lake was also fairly slow, with only a few walleyes coming out, although one group of anglers hooked a channel catfish.
The action on Lake Shetek was also pretty slow, as anglers crowded the banks searching for the year’s first walleyes. Even using a variety of methods, from a bare hook and worm, to Lindy rigs tipped with a minnow, to casting crankbaits, anglers only found a few walleyes worthy of a trip to the frying pan.
Lac Qui Parle had a pretty steady bite a couple of spots on the lake, with the best action coming right at sunrise. Walleyes here seemed to be firmly in a pre-spawn pattern, as most walleyes were caught off shore, vertical jigging from the boat. Small jigs pitched over rocky areas and retrieved slowly caught some heavy pre-spawn females. Fishing should continue to pick up as walleyes cycle through the spawning areas and start to feed heavily post-spawn.
- 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 5/15/17
While many anglers failed to fill their stringers, there were others who had no problem bringing in a good batch of eating size walleyes. Very few fish of any size have been caught. Most folks were finding the fish in relatively shallow water. Tossing jig and minnow combos along shorelines were the biggest producers, as the walleyes were chasing baits in three to six feet of water. Small crank baits were just as effective with number nine Shad Raps and Salmo Hornets taking their toll on the fish populations. Some shore bound anglers had as much success during these conditions as those in boats. A few big northerns have been reported as fishermen used suckers to lure these toothy critters from their shallow water haunts. Crappies have begun their spawning ritual as some anglers are finding them right up in the emergent weeds in as little as two feet of water.
- 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!
Swanson's Bait & Tackle - www.swansonsbait.com
Caleb Garoutte, Hwy 371 on the north end of Hackensack (218-675-6176)
Ice conditions vary by lake but most lakes are between 12" to 22". Leech Lake is seeing 16" to 22" on the main lake with vehicle traffic on most the lake. The bite has slowed due to colder temps but has still been consistent! Most walleyes are being caught in the 18' to 20' range. Dead sticking a shiner has been producing as well as rattling spoons such as the Buckshot or BB Ratttler. Walker bay has been producing off the shoreline breaks as well as the deeper humps. The pike bite has been strong with most anglers going with a sucker minnow on a tip-up. The panfish bite has been strong with good numbers being reported! Small jigs such as the Bro Bug tipped with a wax worm or maggie seem to be the ticket! Stay warm and be safe!
- 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 5-14-17
It’s here, it HAPPENED- Fishing Opener and Mothers Day – a Grand Slam Weekend. To begin with – weather was very cooperative, cool morning giving way to a nice afternoon and overall pleasant, dry weekend. Success was limited when it came to limits of walleyes, but good action when you figure in Sauger, Northern and Smallies. Shore/dock anglers were treated with a variety of species, most notable big, colorful saugers. The more consistent bite was shallow water, depths under 12’: Fixed bobber and slip bobber with a colored hook and minnow. Jig and slip sinker rigs with minnow were the best presentation for deeper water, 24’-32’. Both shallow water and deeper depths gave up higher numbers of small walleye and over 17” walleyes. Most anglers were happy with the action, most bags had a variety of walleye, sauger, perch and in a few cases nice crappies. It is expected that the shallow bite will continue over the next couple weeks as the water warms slowly due to cool evenings. Loads of baitfish in shallow, as the water warms, attracting predators.: Sauger and Perch will be spawning as the water steadily reaches 55 degrees plus. If you find the shallow depth fish to be over the slot, move out to the closest deeper water adjacent to the shallows. Keep your presentation slow and if in shallow, move slowly and avoid loud noises. Crappies will head shallow anytime and be the most catchable this time of year. Keep your presentation simple, nothing flashy, remember to release the big fish immediately to reduce mortality. Best locations, weed tops, week edges, soft sandy, gravel bottoms especially wind blown shorelines. Good Luck, Happy Mothers Day and Enjoy the Best Scenery, Sunrises and Sunsets in the Country. See You Soon, 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)
The MN fishing opener was this past weekend was excellent. Some boats caught over 100 fish in a day. Fish ranged in size from small all the way to trophy walleyes. Weeding through small fish to find good keeper walleyes and saugers was the norm, which speaks nicely to the overall health of the walleye population. Key depth was around 20' of water. Good fishing all across south shore. Jig and a minnow was the best presentation with pink or gold jigs standing out. Some anglers pulled spinners in 6-12 feet. Others hit reefs in 25-30', also good. Jumbo perch and pike mixed in.
Walleyes are still in the Rainy River. Many anglers fished the river and Four Mile Bay. Some walleyes have headed back to the lake while others remain in the river. Same as the lake, a jig and a minnow have been best tactic for boating walleyes. Sturgeon fishing closes Monday, May 15 and reopens July 1st.
Up at the NW Angle, anglers also had a great opener. Many had limits in a couple of hours. Fish were all over islands, neck down areas, points and reefs. Jig and a minnow up at the angle is the go to method. Colors should include chartreuse, pink, glow colors and some gold. Key depths ranged from 6' to 20' of water. The walleye population is in great shape and we expect fishing to remain strong as the water warms up. Good luck! Lodging, charters and guides are available at www.LakeoftheWoodsMN.com/Lodging.
- Anderson's Resorts - www.andersonsleech-lake.com
Tim, (1-800-516-0077) firstname.lastname@example.org (e-mail)
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 - www.kuduksguideservice.com
(320-630-1761) For up to the minute reports, call Chris at 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
Park Rapids, Minnesota (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)
Well, the ice season here on Lake Traverse has come to an end early, the good news is that Lake Traverse opens for walleye on April 22! Wheaton Service and The Fishin Hole Lodge offer Lodging and guiding packages for Walleye, Catfish, or just fish in general! All full day guided packages come with a SHORE LUNCH cooked over an open fire! It doesn't get any better! Lake Traverse has the highest net count on walleye in the state of Mn. The Catfish fishing on Lake Traverse may be World Class, average cats we boated last year were 10 pounds! Check us out at wheatonservice.com or Wheaton Service, or The Fishin Hole Lodge on FB, or give us a call at 320 563-1400 and set up a guided fishing outing today! 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, email@example.com, (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.