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Minnesota Fishing Reports
News : Explore Minnesota Fishing Report
Posted by LSF on Jul 08, 2010 (1649 reads) News by the same author

Northeast Minnesota

International Falls -Rainy Lake & the Rainy River
On Rainy Lake, the walleye are gathering on the humps in mid-lake areas, with fish hitting jigs tipped with minnows in 25-30 feet of water. Some very large northern pike have been pulled from the humps in slightly deeper waters. Northern pike have also been active near the weedbeds around the mouths of popular bays on the west end of Rainy Lake. A greater number of good-size walleye are coming from east of Brule Narrows, particularly around the humps at Saginaw Bay. Smallmouth bass continue to respond to topwater lures cast along the rocky shorelines. There have been few recent reports of good crappie action. The Rainy River has been rising with the recent rainfall, and this has led to a change in fishing patterns. Walleye and smallmouth bass, however, continue to respond to spinner rigs trolled with a minnow. To learn more, dial 1-800-325-5766, or visit

Despite erratic temperatures and weather conditions, anglers continue to take walleye from lakes Kabetogama and Namakan. This is the second straight year of an incredibly consistent bite. Anglers using slip sinker rigs with leeches and crawlers are finding walleye in as little as 12 feet of water, down to depths of 22 feet. Jig and minnow anglers report consistent action on the reef edges in depths of 26-30 feet. For the most fish, use a gold jig. Crawlers may become the bait of choice now that the water is in the 70's, and should remain so for the season. Look for walleye around the Sugarbush shorelines, the Martin Islands, Blundt Island, and into Namakan. Northern pike, especially those weighing 2- to 3-pounds, are being caught nearly everywhere, with the large 30- to 40-inch fish coming from the deeper zones just outside the weeds. Smallmouth bass action remains on the quiet side since they are hiding out in the shoreline structure, both rocky and on the reefs. The largest northern pike are coming in on stick baits and large spinner baits worked throughout the fishable weeds and channels. Smallmouth bass action should pick up shortly, at which time X-Raps should be the most productive. Overall, it is a great time to start using artficials for all fish species. Try lures that run in 15-20 feet of water, and run them behind bottom bouncers when necessary. For more information on Lakes Kabetogama and Namakan, dial 1-800-524-9085, or check out

The walleye have been holding in the shallows for the past few weeks, but in the last couple of days they are returning to their summer pattern. For the most fish, try trolling rapala-style lures through 12-20 foot breaks. During the day, hit the weeds which give way to either gravel or sand; during evening hours, hit the shallows. Transition zones such as gravel or rocks changing to sand or mud are also a good bet since fish cruise these areas in search of small minnows or crayfish. Crappies have also dropped back down into deeper waters, with fish found suspended over rock piles and fallen trees. A jig and minnow combination will allow you to work the water column quickly to draw out the more aggressive fish. Northern pike have been more predictable, cruising depths of 3-10 feet in search of prey. For the most fish, try ripping sub-surface lures and spinnerbaits. To find out more, dial 1-800-777-7281, or visit

Cook/Tower - Lake Vermilion
Warm temperatures have finally brought Lake Vermilion water temperatures up to the low-70's. Muskies have turned more active, and are chasing baits such as double tens and hogwobblers. Walleye are hitting crawlers and leeches worked at the mud at dusk, and around the rock piles during the day. Smallmouth bass are in a transitional phase; some are hitting senkos in the shade, and others are on rocky humps hitting leeches. Northern pike and sunfish are active in the weeds. To learn more, dial 1-800-648-5897, or visit

Cook County: Lutsen-Tofte, Grand Marais, Gunflint Trail, and Grand Portage
Bass are biting on Alton Lake, with quite a few walleye being pulled from Alton, Sawbill, & Smoke lakes. Crescent, Homer, and Brule lakes are producing a few walleye. Gunflint Lake is giving up lake trout to anglers using jigs in 30-plus feet of water. Walleye are hitting jigs tipped with leeches at depths of 10-14 feet. Smallmouth bass are responding to rapalas cast along the shoreline. On Lake Superior, guides report good fishing out on the big lake. Salmon and lake trout are holding about eighty-feet down, just outside the Grand Marais harbor. A few are also being taken by casting from shore using an orange spoon. Saganaga Lake is giving up walleye to anglers trolling nightcrawlers along the shoreline in roughly 8 feet of water. Plain hooks with a leech or nightcrawler under a slip bobber are also producing fish. Seagull Lake has been good for walleye action in depths of 8 feet around the weed beds. On Hungry Jack Lake, walleye are biting in 10-12 feet of water, with a leech and slip bobber combination working best. Anglers fishing Crescent Lake are taking fish by trolling rapalas through depths of 8-10 feet around the rock piles. And on Devilfish Lake, lots of smaller walleye are coming in on nightcrawlers worked near the rockpiles found in 10 feet of water. Smallmouth bass anglers are doing well at the weed beds in 12-15 feet of water. For the most fish, use a minnow or crawler on a jig, or a small shad rap cast and retrieved. Some of the better area lakes include Saganaga, Poplar, Hungry Jack, Devil Track, Northern Light, and Two Island. Rainbow trout are responding to fly fishing techniques and crawlers worked in 15-18 feet of water on Leo, Kimball, Trout, Mink, and Esther lakes. These fish can be found in shallower waters as evening approaches. And for lake trout, hit Saganaga, Daniels, and Greenwood lakes using spoons or a jig and cisco in 30-40 feet of water. To find out more, check out

Grand Rapids
Water surface temperatures are hovering around 70-degrees on many area lakes. On the larger bodies of water, the baitfish and walleye have moved from the bars to deeper water, and can often be found suspended in depths of 15-30 feet. Anglers may still find some fish still lingering on the bars and humps by slowly trolling spinnerbaits. While each lake is different, fish activity and summer patterns are about two weeks ahead of last year due to the early spring. Bass and panfish action has increased with the rise in water temperatures. Crappie action remains good from roughly 7:00 p.m. until dark.. For more information, check out

Northwest Minnesota

Baudette -Lake of the Woods & the Rainy River
On Lake of the Woods, anglers took their limits over the 4th of July weekend. The Northwest Angle and Islands area also experienced excellent fishing. When walleye fishing near Massacre Island, use a 3/8-ounce gold, yellow, or pink jig tipped with a leech or minnow. Northern pike are hitting spoons. The muskie season is now in full swing, with fish responding to crankbaits. On the mainland, Lake of the Woods walleye can be found using gold spinners or gold, pink, and orange jigs worked in 26-32 feet of water. Anchoring rand jigging remains best, but trolling will soon be the method of choice. On one angler's recent outing, limits were taken within 4 hours, along with 25-, 28- and 29-inch catch-and-release walleye. To learn more, dial 1-800-382-FISH, or visit

Anglers continue to catch good numbers of walleye. The best action has been during morning and evening hours, and on days when there is some wind or cloud cover to break up the sunlight entering the lakes. Walleye anglers are doing best by adding spinners to live bait presentations, adding vibration and flash to grab the walleye's attention. Bottom bouncers and spinners are an effective way to search for active walleye. A two hook spinner rig works best for night crawlers, while a single hook spinner rig works best for leeches and minnows. The larger lakes are giving up the most fish, partially due to the fact that they have a greater number of good spots holding fish. Switching species is another way for anglers to stay on active fish. Walleye, crappies and muskies are most active during low light conditions, while northern pike, largemouth bass, sunfish and perch are more active during the day. The end of the mayfly hatch will cause fish to search out other food sources, resulting in fish moving out of the basin and tighter to structure. The general movement of walleye during the summer is towards shallower waters, where walleye can find more food options and higher oxygen levels. Muskie anglers usually enjoy more catches when the algae blooms begin due to a sudden loss of visibility in the water. It takes some time for the muskies to adjust to reduced visibility, causing them to make more mistakes. To find out more, dial 1-800-458-2223, or check out

Walker - Leech Lake
For information on where to fish, dial 1-800-833-1118, or visit
Cass Lake/ Deer River - Winnibigoshish & Cutfoot Sioux lakes
To find out what's biting and where, dial 1-800-356-8615, or visit

Park Rapids
Angling action remains good despite unpredictable weather patterns that dropped roughly 5-inches of rain on the area this past week. Lake levels have risen nicely. Walleye anglers are finding fish in shallow 6-10 foot depths, as well as in deeper 22-30 foot depths. Fish are beginning to travel in tighter schools, therefore locating one fish will likely lead to several more. While leeches are out-producing nightcrawlers, and nightcrawlers are working better than minnows, the best presentation has varied from day to day. Fast moving spinners are also effective when traveling 1- to 1.5-miles-per-hour. Leeches have been best on a roach rig or slip bobber. Northern pike have been active in the mid-depth cabbage weeds, although some of the larger fish are starting to move towards 20-30 foot depths. Spinners, spoons and artificial lures have been good at the new weed growth in 7-15 feet of water. Large sucker minnows drop easily to the deep water fish. Crappies and bluegill have set up on the mid- to deep-level weedlines. Some bodies of water still have large bluegills and crappies sitting tight to the pencil reeds, while other lakes are giving up more fish in 8-15 feet of water. Small 1/32nd- to 1/16th-ounce plastic jigs are working well, with no live bait required. Both largemouth and smallmouth bass have been voracious and very active in shallow waters down to roughly 20 feet. The best activity has been during morning hours as the fish travel quickly looking for crayfish. Rocks and sand adjacent weeds are key areas. Crankbaits and tube jigs emulating live 2- to 3.5-inch crayfish are working exceptionally well. Muskie activity has been above average, with fish active in the shallow water vegetation, and many large fish coming from the mid-lake humps and valleys. For the most fish, troll large crankbaits. Please remember to play the fish quickly, limit the amount of time it is out of the water, and gently return it for more excitement another day. For more information, dial 1-800-247-0054, or check out

Detroit Lakes
While the walleye bite has been tough on sunny, calm days, it has been good when the wind is blowing or clouds are overhead. On bright, sunny days when the winds are calm, try your luck with other species. Fish are starting to come in a couple at a time, so if you haven't had a bite for awhile, switch spots. Anglers report a good rigging bite in 20-28 feet of water; switch between leeches, crawlers and minnows until you learn what's working best. The best bait has been changing day to day, and sometimes throughout the day. Detroit, Pelican, Otter Tail, and Big and Little Pine lakes continue to produce fish. Bass anglers are having success at the weeds on Melissa, Floyd, Cotton and Long lakes. Northern pike are active on Melissa, Sallie and Big McDonald lakes. Panfish action has been great in the weeds of most area lakes, with the majority of fish coming in on small jigs tipped with small leeches or a piece of crawler. Muskie anglers report that the mornings and evenings are best. They recommend chunking on the edges of the large flats on Detroit and Pelican lakes for the larger muskie. To learn more, dial 1-800-542-3992, or go to

Central Region

Otter Tail Lakes Area
For information on what's biting and where, dial 1-800-423-4571, or check out

As of late last week, the walleye bite remained decent during morning and evening hours. The bait of choice was either a leech or nightcrawler on a lindy rig or jig. Anglers concentrating on 16-22 foot depths at the edge of the weeds had the most success. The crappie bite was consistent, with crappies coming from the cabbage weeds in depths of 10-14 feet on white or pink twistertails. Muskies were being seen, but few were caught. Some anglers had success using cowgirls, supermodels or big games quickly reeled back over the cabbage weeds. To find out more, dial 1-877-833-2350, or visit

Whitefish Chain of Lakes Area
Fishing is hot in the Whitefish Chain of Lakes region. Walleye action has started to pick-up again this week, with fish hitting long lindy rigs pulled through 18-24 feet of water. Leeches and crawlers have been best. Northern pike action remains strong along the weedlines. Anglers trolling spinner rigs with large sucker minnows, or throwing spinnerbaits or spoons should find plenty of fish. Recent windy conditions have forced the bass into the weeds; plastic worm rigs worked in these areas will produce fish. Crappie and panfish anglers are doing well using minnows and worms on small hooks or jigs in 12-16 feet of water. To learn more, visit

Brainerd Lakes Area
For information on what lakes are producing fish. dial 1-800-450-2838, or visit

Isle/Onamia -Lake Mille Lacs
Walleye anglers are pulling fish from the mud flats on plain rigs tipped with leeches, and on crawler/spinner combinations worked at a faster pace. The daytime deep-water bobber bite has been good at the deep water rocks and gravel. Many of the same spots that hold fish just before dark are within a few boat lengths of where these fish are hiding during the day. On windy, overcast days, try trolling crankbaits on the shallow rock reefs. Smallmouth bass fishing has really picked up. For the most fish, try throwing 5-inch Berkley sinking minnows in dark colors; rapala x-rap's, and rapala clackin' rap's are also producing fish in the shallow rock areas. To learn more, dial 1-888-350-2692, or check out

Walleye anglers are having lots of success on the larger, deeper lakes, such as Diamond, Green and Eagle lakes. Panfish have been most active on Florida, Nest, and Andrew lakes. Most area lakes are giving up good numbers of bass and sunfish. Crappie action has been slow. Check out Lake Calhoun for northern pike. The forecast is for excellent weather this weekend, so head out and enjoy the lakes! To find out more, dial 1-800-845-8747, or visit

Twin Cities Greater Metropolitan vicinity

Northeast Metro/Chisago Lakes Area
Fishing has been excellent on area lakes. Bass have been extremely active on Chisago and South Lindstrom Lakes, with fish schooled up on the rocks and in the deeper waters. Please note that all bass measuring 12-inches and longer must be returned to the water. This regulation, however, provides anglers with a good chance of catching 50- to 100-fish a day, along with an occasional 5- to 6-pound fish! For the most action, work the deeper weedlines and rocks either Carolina Rigging or working deep-running crankbaits. Sunrise Lake has been good for lots of bass and northern pike action. For the pike, use sucker minnows under a bobber. Panfish and crappies are also biting, especially on South Lindstrom. The crappies can be found suspended in 16-25 feet of water, at 6-10 feet. Walleye anglers are finding fish on the edge of the weedlines at the transition from hard to soft bottoms in depths of 10-16 feet. The best approach has been to troll the weedlines using shad raps. To find out more, dial 651/257-1177, or visit

White Bear Lake Area Lakes
To learn what's biting and when, dial 651/653-5122, or check out

On Lake Waconia, the fish appear to have moved into their mid-summer patterns. Bass can be found along the weedlines in 12-16 feet of water, with anglers pulling nice-sized bass off the deeper cabbage beds, especially at the bay and Cemetery Reef. Most anglers are taking fish on typical jig and worm combinations, however a basic spinnerbait has also been very productive. Most of the walleye action is occurring in slightly deeper waters, with anglers finding fish around the reefs in 18-plus feet of water. A few areas to check out include Kegs, North, and Anderson's reefs. This is primarily a low light bite, especially on hot, sunny days. A jig and minnow combination, and a lindy rig and leech are producing the majority of fish. A lot of panfish are coming from the weeds and weedlines in 10-16 feet of water. Most anglers are having success with waxworms, crawlers and small leeches, however artificial bait is also effective. The muskie action has been heating up, and anglers are seeing and landing more fish. Try bucktails, dawgs, and jerkbaits along the south shore, Reinkes, and the reefs in 12-18 feet of water for the most fish. Some anglers are taking a few fish by trolling crankbaits through deeper water around the reefs. With surface water temperatures hovering around 80- to 83-degrees, please be even more careful while handling muskies. Having the proper release tools, such as a large net, large needle-nose pliers, heavy-duty hook cutters and jaw spreaders are a necessity when trying to get the fish back in the water as quickly as possible. Unhook fish while they are still in the net; the only time fish should leave the water is to snap a few quick pictures. And, when you release the fish hang on to the tail as long as necessary to make sure the fish is ready to be released. For more information, dial 952/442-5812, or check out

Southern Minnesota

Lake City -Lake Pepin/Pool #4 Mississippi River
Despite the hot temperatures and heavy rains the walleye and sauger bite remained good in Lake Pepin. Anglers took the most fish on live bait rigs, and crankbaits trolled on leadcore. The bass bite has been great in the many backwater areas downstream on the Mississippi River, and the smallmouth bass are also fairly active on the many rip rap shorelines of Lake Pepin. The channel cat bite has also been nothing short of fantastic. To find out where the fish are biting, dial 1-877-525-3248, or check out

Excellent stream conditions have returned to most, if not all, trout streams in southeastern Minnesota. Hoppers and crickets have been seen on the stream banks. Small caddis and blue-winged olives have also been seen. As of Thursday, July 8, conditions are clear and normal for the East Beaver Creek at Beaver Creek Valley State Park, Duschee Creek, Forestville Creek, Gribben Creek, the South Branch Root River at Forestville State Park, the South Fork Root River, Trout Run, and North and Middle branches of the Whitewater River system. To learn more, dial 1-800-944-2670, or visit

Albert Lea
For information on what's biting and where, dial 1-800-345-8414, or check out
Ortonville -Big Stone Lake
On Big Stone Lake, anglers have had to locate new areas that have not been choked by weeds. One area producing fish is the South Dakota shoreline, from Manhattan Reef northwest to Schmidts Landing, with several limits of nice-size walleye taken on bottom bouncer/spinner/crawler harness combinations. Lots of nice perch were taken on a recent guided trip by anglers pulling crankbaits on the sand flat from Big Stone Lake state park northwest to Lou's Point. Crankbaits are typically not the bait of choice for perch, but no one could complain! And several anglers followed the same method and were able to easily get around a dozen perch measuring 10- to 12-inches. Walleye numbers are starting to decline as the water temperatures continue to increase. White bass catches have been abundant, and lots of perch are coming in as well. Anglers that are willing to try new techniques and new areas should continue to take good numbers of fish. To find out more, dial 1-800-568-5722, or visit

Report courtesy of Explore Minnesota Tourism

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