Lake of the Woods
Excellent walleye action continues along the south shore, Lake of the Woods Tourism reported Monday in its weekly update. Best action is in 15 feet to 25 feet of water, with limits of walleyes and saugers coming from Four-Mile Bay, Lighthouse Gap, Morris Point Gap and all along the south shore of the lake. Anchoring and jigging with a minnow remains the go-to presentation, although some anglers also have reported doing well trolling crankbaits.
Anglers up at the Northwest Angle also are catching nice walleyes as water temperatures rise. Shoreline structure and areas with current are good places to target, Lake of the Woods Tourism said, and most anglers are using jigs and minnows. The evening bite continues strong, and saugers, pike and perch also have been in the mix, Lake of the Woods Tourism said.
Open water fishing is ramping up for another season. This time of year, anglers often do well targeting shallow bays, especially those with new weed growth, where water warms up first. Best action typically is later in the day as the sun warms the water.
According to Tanner Cherney of Devils Lake Tourism, anglers should avoid speeding into shallow bays but instead should troll in slowly to avoid spooking walleyes that can be skittish in clear water. Slowly troll the weed edges until finding fish, Cherney recommends, and then anchor up and take advantage of the two-rod rule. Throw out a slip bobber and leech on one rod and cast jigs or crankbaits with the second rod. Shore anglers also should take advantage of using two rods, Cherney says.
River conditions are perfect right now, and catfish action is improving every day, Grand Forks catfish guide Brad Durick reports. The best areas to fish are in the channel along the slower current breaks, he says, which usually occur along inside bends of the river. While suckers have been a go-to bait, goldeyes also have produced some nice cats, Durick said. With the unstable weather, catfish are still a bit sluggish, and anglers should give a spot at least 30 minutes to allow fish time to get in the mood to bite. The big pre-spawn bite should happen any time, he says; the fish just need the weather to settle into something that resembles stable.
Turtle River State Park
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department stocked 780 rainbow trout weighing about a half-pound each into the Turtle River on Thursday at Turtle River State Park, park staff said. Coupled with two previous stockings, the trout give park visitors additional fishing opportunities.
Walleye fishing has been good despite the weather being cold, windy and wet, Dick Beardsley of Dick Beardsley Fishing Guide Service said. Water temperatures are in the mid to upper 50s, which is unusually cold for this time of the year, he said. Good walleye action has been reported on Lake Bemidji, Lake Plantagenet, Wolf Lake and Lake Andrusia, among others, Beardsley said, with jigs and shiners working well in 8 to 18 feet of water.
Crappies on most lakes have started moving into shallow bays and old bulrushes, and small jigs tipped with minnows or plastics are working well, Beardsley said. Bass season officially opens Saturday, May 25, and anglers should target shallow water for best action. Many bass lakes in the Bemidji area have size restrictions, Beardsley said, so anglers should make sure to check the regulations for the lake they’re fishing.
Fishing, much like the weather, has been very sporadic and inconsistent at times, reports Jason Freed of Leisure Outdoor Adventures. Depending on the conditions, anglers are having their best walleye action in 5 to 14 feet of water, Freed said, with 7 to 10 feet best most days. Anglers should play the wind and use one-sixteenth to one-fourth ounce jigs tipped with shiners or rainbow chubs, Freed says. Dragging a live bait rig with a leech also has worked well, he says. This time of year, areas with sand and weeds, sand and gravel as well as rocky areas all hold walleyes on Leech Lake, Freed says.
Anglers also have reported catching some bonus perch when fishing small jigs in areas with sand and weeds.