The Northwest Angle area is mostly clear of ice and rest of the lake ice is melting quickly. Opening weekend in the Rainy River produced some nice slot-size walleye for those who made it out there. By this weekend, it’s likely the whole lake will be free of ice. The satellite picture of the lake is from last weekend.
Stump Lake, ND- With the latest snowfall added to the snow depth and slush patches popping up, truck travel off of the main trails has become difficult. The bite has been decent, with perch and walleye being caught around the trees and sunken timber in the 30 to 40 foot range. A glow Buckshot Rattle Spoon tipped with a minnow head was a solid presentation. Special thanks goes out to Mark Bry and Jeremy Worden from Bry’s Guide Service and Steve from Dakota Outdoors for providing SnoBear transportation and fishing help for the South Middle School Outdoors Club kids last Saturday. The event went well, and some kids said they had the time of their lives!
Big Traverse Lake of the Woods. Nice weather, but slow fishing. It is mostly a sauger bite with the occasional walleye thrown in. Generally fishing on the mud in the Gull Rock area in 26 -28 feet of water. Saugers ran in size up to 14.5 inches and walleyes up to 18 inches. Some fish were aggressive and fell to the Salmo Zipper while other fish opted for the basic jig-a-bit and minnow on a bobber.
Northwest Angle, Lake of the Woods. Lots of snow on the lake after last week’s storm making for slower cross country travel, however, even with all the snow, slush is not too bad on the lake yet. Venturing into Ontario waters is producing crappies, but they are requiring some enticing. Crappies will do a lot of looking lately and need to be worked a little to be converted to a caught fish. While numbers were down, size makes up for it with crappies running into the 15 inch range. Glow has worked best with Salmo zippers and Northland buckshots, and some shinier spoons have pulled in some walleye and sauger caught incidental to the crappie. 25-28 feet of water was best with fishing right on the bottom while watching for the occasional suspended crappie.
NW Angle Lake of the Woods. Despite slower reports elsewhere in the lake, the reefs in the Oak Island area were doing well. Numbers of walleyes and sauger were coming in. Walleyes were running in the 16-20 inch size and saugers up to 14 inches. Best bite was in 20-27 feet range on the edges of the reefs. Jigging with minnow heads worked best with a variety of lures. Salmo Zippers and Chubby Darters worked as well as glow in the dark Northland Buckshot rattle spoons.
Devil’s Lake. The storm missed the Devil’s Lake area, but pre-existing snow still making tracked vehicles a necessity. The Snobears worked well this weekend running through the snow drifts, pressure ridges, and drifted in access points. The bite was still slow overall, but the use of underwater cameras converted lookers to biters. Both active perch and walleye are in 10-20 feet of water with a few northern pike mixed in. Inactive perch were found deeper, and could be brought in to look, but generally not bite. Northland buckshots with droppers worked the best for perch with walleyes hitting on a variety of gold lures. Using plain hooks and whole minnows were also working on tight-lipped perch onlookers.
Devil’s Lake. Increasing snow making wheeled travel more difficult. Some access points drifted in, others ok. Searching and working the fish is necessary. Perch and walleye have been active from 24-34 feet. Northland buckshot rattle spoons with minnow head has been producing, droppers sometimes are necessary to entice finicky biters.
The Canadian waters around the Angle have been offering good action for walleye, perch, and crappie. Jigging minnows around points and dropoff areas will result in some nice mixed bag catches. Expect the bite to get better as the fall wears on.
Muskie anglers have continued to report good action casting, and the large pike and muskie have been hanging around the deep schools of walleye, crappie, and perch that are forming. Smallmouth bass are still being found near shore, but expect them to start moving deeper as the water begins to cool.
In Minnesota waters, few anglers have been trying their luck. Work the deeper edges of structure, and try the shallows on top during any warm spells.
The fishing in the Northwest Angle area has remained productive in Canadian waters. The deeper reefs in the Skeet I. area continue to hold good numbers of walleye, while the bite on points and dropoff areas nearer to the Angle has continued to improve. Jigging along these areas has been resulting in nice mixed bag catches of walleye, perch, and crappie. Expect to land some big walleye mixed in with the eaters.
Muskie fisherman are still reporting good action, although the algae bloom has reduced visibility in areas. Northern pike and some dandy smallmouth bass have been active along shoreline weedbeds. Slow roll a spinnerbait over the cabbage and hold on!
Few anglers in the Angle hit the Minnesota side this weekend due to the windy conditions, but the typical bite this time of year involves trolling crankbaits over shallow rocks or dragging spinners around the deep edge of structure. Areas like Garden I. and Little Oak I. will allow you to fish both options.
In Canadian waters, the reefs in the Skeet I. area have continued to produce good numbers of walleye, while shorelines, points, and dropoffs closer to the Angle have continued to produce larger fish, mixed in with perch and crappies. A jig and minnow has been the lure of choice.
Muskie action has remained steady, with fewer muskie anglers working the lake now. Look for areas where the algae has been cleared away by the wind, or hasn’t bloomed yet to find water where you can spot your follows and casting targets. Northern pike have been active along shoreline weedbed areas and near schools of walleye in deep water. Casting to shoreline weeds has been producing some exceptional sized smallmouth bass lately. This is not a big numbers bite, but the fish you get will be worth the effort.
Few anglers worked the Minnesota side at the Angle this last weekend due to the wind. Pulling bottom bouncers along the deep edge of structure will be the most consistent presentation at this time of year, but trolling crankbaits and spinners on top of shallow rocks during periods of hot, calm weather can be surprisingly good as well. Try areas like Starren Shoals and the east side of Little Oak for structure with deep and shallow options.