Minnesota Statewide Fishing Reports
INFO AS OF 8-18-17
International Falls - Rainy Lake & the Rainy River
Walleye, smallmouth bass and crappie have all been more active in the late afternoon and into the evening. Walleye have transitioned to submerged reefs that are around 30 feet deep, some east of the islands north of Jackfish Bay. There are also some hot spots in Sand Bay. Jigging with a bright-colored jig and live bait will do the trick. Smallmouth bass have been hanging near the rocky shorelines and weedy edges of the bays. Crappie fishing has been best in Black Bay and the Rat Root River on the west end of the Bay.
In the Rainy River, walleye are being pulled from the faster waters and structure below the dam at International Falls, and sturgeon anglers are checking the wider bends downstream. The North American Sturgeon Championships will be held Saturday at Nelson Park in Birchdale. 800-325-5766; www.rainylake.org
Aside from a one-day washout this past week, the weather and fishing continues to be fantastic! Anglers are finding all varieties of fish in various depths. The key, as always, is locating active fish and staying with them.
Walleyes have responded to rolling crankbaits along weed lines, as well as casting jigs tipped with a minnow on windblown shorelines. Wind has been lacking recently so when it does blow this method can be extremely effective. Lindys with a long snell and spinner tipped with a leech or crawler is turning fish in 16-22 feet. Leeches are becoming scarce these days so grab them while you can. Fishing early morning and just before dusk is best. During the day, try deeper water off shoreline points and reefs.
Northern pike are active along most weed lines trolling and casting larger crankbaits or spoons, and smallmouth bass are attacking just about anything along rocky shorelines. A jig with plastics has also been productive for bass on the shallow reefs. 800-524-9085; www.kabetogama.com
Ely Area Waters
The walleye bite remains steady. While not fast and furious, one can expect to catch enough fish for a meal. Crawler harnesses seem to be the primary way to catch them lately. Choose a spinner that coincides with the color of the water that you are fishing. Neutral tones like gold, silver, and white work best in clear water lakes, and bright colors such as orange, chartreuse, and fire tiger, work best in bog-stained lakes. Crankbaits are working around sunken islands and reefs. Keep in mind that as the season progresses the bait fish population is growing in size, and it's not unheard of to use cranks up to six inches long.
Crappie fishing has been good for many, with fish up to fourteen inches being reported. Simple minnow and bobber rigs are working well, but many folks are discovering just how effective a tiny jig with a one inch Gulp minnow soft bait can be.
Some large northern pike are falling for spoons and spinner baits fished along weed lines or rocky points. Large crankbaits can be trolled or cast in these same areas to provide a great rod bending experience. For those that prefer a more laid-back approach, try fishing a sucker minnow under a bobber around the weed beds or just off the dock. 800-777-7281; www.ely.org
Duluth - Lake Superior, St. Louis River and inland waters
Fishing has been very good for lake trout this season. Fall is spawning time for lakers, and the bite has been great as of late. Lake trout, coho and a few king (chinook) salmon are still being caught trolling deeper waters off-shore, in up to 150 feet of water. Downriggers or copper/wire long lined has been effective with spoons or dodger/fly combos. Tipping flies with a smelt head (meat rig) has been a good tactic as well.
The St. Louis River has had a decent bite in the mid-morning hours trolling channel breaks or flats near deeper channels. A variety of crankbaits have been producing as well. Jig fishing has been on the slower side. Muskie anglers are frequenting the river more and more. Speed trolling over-sized baits on the lower sections, or chucking big spinner rigs at shorelines upriver is showing some success.
Inland lakes continue to give up fish. The reservoirs north of Duluth have seen some successful walleye catches trolling waters in about 20 feet. Others are catching fish dragging live bait on lindy rigs over mid-lake humps and near other structure. Panfish have been plentiful near vegetation in and around 5-10 feet of water. Best bet is a float combination with worm chunks. Bass have been coming off of top-water baits like poppers or buzzers. Northern pike are being caught shore casting near breaks and vegetation. Stream fishing has not changed much, with anglers still catching a few resident brown and brook trout. 800-438-5884; www.visitduluth.com
Badly needed rain has come and gone and dry conditions still exist. The fishing still continues to be good, especially for bass. The Mississippi River below Grand Rapids offers terrific smallmouth bass fishing and is ideal for kayaks and small boats because of lower water levels. Many area lakes offer exceptional bass fishing as well. Northern pike continue to provide consistent action on area lakes and as the water begins to cool, it will only continue to get better. Walleye fishing is still good with rigs and crawlers doing well on off-shore structures. A spinner and a small shiner or half a crawler is also a good bet. 3/16 bullet sinker at one mile per hour with 25-40 feet of line out is a good presentation to catch walleyes in and around the weeds and rocks. Panfish have been active with crappies and bluegills taking center stage. With water temperatures starting to cool slightly, some of the best fishing of the season will be in the weeks to come. www.visitgrandrapids.com
Baudette - Lake of the Woods & the Rainy River
The bite is on and good numbers of walleyes and saugers being boated daily, including lots of big fish. Spinners with crawlers and pulling crankbaits in the mud in 28-31 feet is doing very well. The area between Long Point and a few miles south of Garden Island is holding lots of fish. Gold, glow and bright colors are solid choices. Plugs that are darker in color seem to be producing on cloudy days while brighter colors do better on sunny days. There are pike all over the lake, perch mixed in with walleyes and smallmouth bite in rocky areas of the lake.
Anglers in the Rainy River finding some walleyes mornings and evenings. Fall fishing on the Rainy River will pick up soon as shiners push back up the river. Trolling cranks or pulling spinners is producing the best now. Smallmouth bass are biting in good numbers along shoreline rock, bridge embankments and feeder streams. Sturgeon anglers are doing well.
Up at the Northwest Angle, excellent fishing continues with no signs of slowing down. In Minnesota, the bite has been on fire with trolling. Blue, chrome, clown or UV pink has worked great in 26-30 feet. There's a nice bite in 13-22 feet of water as well. Four Blocks to Garden Island is still holding lots of different-sized fish. Big pike are hitting trolling cranks and spoons. 800-382-FISH; www.lakeofthewoodsmn.com
The weather this past week has been absolutely fabulous. Stateside, the full moon has been making fishing relatively easy. Nice walleye and perch are filling live wells when pulling gold, orange or chartreuse spinners in 13-15, 20-22 and 26-30 feet. Large pike are being caught and released trolling crankbaits and spoons.
Up in Canada, jigging points and around reefs where fish have been located has been extremely productive. Many large fish this weekend coming on pink, orange, black or chartreuse in 18-26 ft. Spinners will put fish on hooks as well.
The muskie bite has been strong, especially in shallow weeds or rock. sunsetlodgeresort.com/fishing-reports
Fishing for all species is still quite good across area lakes. With walleyes you still have to be patient and work for a bit, but with that in mind you should boat some fish. The jig and minnow bite is starting to pick up, but most fish are coming on live bait rigs or spinner rigs with crawlers or leeches. On cloudy, windier days look for fish hugging tight against the cabbage in 8-12 feet; otherwise, look for sharp deep water breaks and mid-lake structure.
Bigger pike are being caught along the deep weed edges. Live bait rigs and sucker minnows are working well, as is a jig and minnow/plastics. Large and smallmouth bass fishing remains excellent, with inside and outside weed edges producing many fish on Texas-rigged plastics and jig and plastics.
Crappies and bluegills are hitting on the edges of the deeper cabbage on small jigs and plastics. Slow-rolling the jigs right off the bottom seems to be working best. 800-458-2223; www.visitbemidji.com
Water temperatures in the area are still in the mid-70-degree range. Accesses are in good shape and lake levels are great for this time of year after the long soaking rain. Walleyes are getting caught both shallow on jigs and cranks in the 9-12 feet and deeper on the 17-26 foot edges of bars and mid-lake humps. Spinners, cranks, raps and rigging are all taking fish, but it can vary from day to day. Bass are getting caught on docks and on weed flats along edges in 6-12 feet. Smallmouth are on deep gravel or hard sand bottom and shallow on rock piles. Not as many muskie anglers are out, but some are getting fish trolling and casting with the best bites on Big Detroit, Pelican and Many Point lakes. Big crappies are feeding on flats close to sharp breaks. Try 6-8 feet with casting or rip jigging small minnows or plastics. Northern are biting big minnows on rigs or casted trolled cranks on the 12-17-foot edges. 800-542-3992; www.visitdetroitlakes.com
Otter Tail Lakes Area
August has been a rainy month in Otter Tail Lakes Country…Nice, but rainy! Earlier this week we had nearly 3 inches of rainthat's a lot of rain for our traditionally dry August.
Walleye in particular, on most lakes in Otter Tail County, don't feed well under dark skies--especially this season. So if you are going to head out and fish walleye this week, you should hope for bright sun and low winds.
Since walleye are bothered by dark rainy days in August, smaller species like perch and sunfish kick feeding into high gear. For panfish stick with weeds near drops. To produce large panfish use larger baits than you do in the spring. For late summer northern, try casting over cabbage beds on flats near deep water, or troll minnow baits around 10 feet deep and graze the tops and edges of weeds near deep water. 800-423-4571; www.ottertailcountry.com
Minneapolis-St. Paul Area
White Bear Area Lakes
In the rain and cold walleye have gone out deeper, biting at about 20 feet on jig & minnow. Muskie are being seen in 8-12 feet and hitting bucktails. Bass are in the shallows next to cover, and are best caught using plastic worms. Panfish are hanging out in the weed edges a bit deeper this week, in about 12 feet. Northerns are also in the weeds at about 12 feet. 651-653-5122; www.explorewhitebear.org
Ortonville - Big Stone Lake
Cooler and wetter weather moved in on Big Stone Lake the later part of the week, but that did not stop anglers
for fishing for the perch. Grapevine Point, Bay View, Windmill Reef, Cramer’s Resort are all popular areas near Schmidt’s Landing.
Keep the presentation simple with a plain hook tipped with some spikes or a piece of nightcrawler just off the bottom. The average size is 8 inches, but a few in the 10-inch-plus range are showing up.
No new reports of walleye since last week, but anglers that troll the 7-9 foot range with a crankbait might hook some. 800-568-5722; www.bigstonelake.com
Anglers may obtain fishing licenses 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, by dialing 1-888-665-4236, or accessing DNR License Sales.
The information in this report is provided courtesy of Explore Minnesota Tourism.