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Current Fishing Reports on Up North Outdoors.

MINNESOTA - LAND OF 10,000 Lakes - Get out on the Water!
Lake of the Woods Fishing Report - 5-14-18
Rainy Lake Fishing Report - Update Weekly
Lake Mille Lacs Fishing Report - 5-18-18
Kabetogama-Ash River Fishing Report - 5-14-18
Devils Lake, North Dakota Fishing Report from Woodland Resort

Minnesota Statewide Fishing Reports
INFO AS OF 5-18-18

Northeast Minnesota

International Falls - Rainy Lake & the Rainy River

The fishing opener went very well on Rainy Lake with lots of walleye pulled from the rocky shorelines in 8 to 12 feet of water. Live bait on a jig was the best presentation. Anglers expect that the walleye will turn even more active as water temperatures rise. This weekend, consider trolling a large minnow near the warmer bays -- don’t be surprised if you hook a large northern pike. 800-325-5766; www.rainylake.org


To say the 2018 fishing season started with a bang would be an understatement. Most Lake Kabetogama anglers caught their limits of fish making it one of the best openers in years. Fish were eager to bite and could be found in a variety of depths. The dock and shoreline anglers seemed to have the most success with the larger fish -- those that fished a bit deeper took more eating-size fish. Anglers with shiners were lucky since they were hard to come by. Even though shiners produced more fish, all minnow types turned fish. Many techniques worked well including jigs under a bobber over the side of the boat or jigs pitched toward shore. Early and late in the day were peak times to be on the water but there was a consistent bite throughout the day. Northern pike were a nuisance as usual, but last year’s pesky 20 inchers had grown to nice-size 23 to 26 inch eating-size fish. In addition to great fishing, late migrating waterfowl were everywhere, including hundreds of loons. 800-524-9085; www.kabetogama.com

Ely Area Lakes & Streams

Mother Nature came through and warmed things up enough to clear the lakes of ice just before the fishing opener. The season started off very well for many anglers. On lakes closer to the border, rainbow chub minnows were the best bait to have due to cold water temperatures. A large number of the fish caught were pulled from relatively shallow water near shore where the water warmed the quickest. On lakes surrounding Ely, most anglers did well when using jigs and minnows in and around the rock piles. Once again, the fish were in the shallows. A few anglers had success on area trout lakes when using spoons and larger crank baits trolled in 20 to 30 feet of water. This is a great time to hit the Ely area lakes! 800-777-7281; www.ely.org

Duluth - Lake Superior and inland waters

Fishing is excellent for a variety of fish, with the inland area lakes, St. Louis River, Lake Superior and area streams all giving up good numbers -- now is the time to head out and wet a line! The inland lakes are warming quickly. Waters to the south offer great panfish bites in the shallows. Crappies continue to seek out spawning areas. These fish are responding best to crappie minnows under a float. Northern pike and bass are hitting double-jointed stick baits cast to the shorelines. Walleye anglers are catching fish with live bait worked in the shallower waters. The St. Louis River has been off to a good start for most anglers. Fish are coming from most sections south of Arrowhead Flats. With that said, larger females are making their way back to Lake Superior so targeting all sections of the river may be best. Jigs tipped with minnows or plastics have been the most productive for walleye. Smallmouth bass and northern pike are responding well to #5 crank baits in a variety of colors. A few fish are coming in on worm-harnesses and bottom bouncers -- this tactic will become the go-to presentations in the coming weeks. Lake Superior has been good for lots of coho salmon and lake trout, as well as a few brown trout and chinook (king) salmon. The water temperatures are low enough that trolling long-lines with surface baits remains a productive tactic. Some anglers are even catching fish when jigging spoons. The tributaries are giving up good catches of steelhead trout. For the most action, drift spawn or yarn in heavy current or back eddy areas. Smelting is still going strong but it is expected to slow in the next week. 800-438-5884; www.visitduluth.com

Grand Rapids

Most anglers enjoyed good to excellent results during last weekend’s Minnesota Fishing Opener. As predicted, the post-spawn walleye were active in the shallows. The best presentations were a 1/8-ounce jig with a minnow, slip sinker rig with a minnow, and small shallow-running shad raps. Lakes with darker waters were better choices than those with crystal clear waters since they usually warm more quickly. Good reports came from Big Cutfoot and Bowstring lakes where hundreds of anglers found good shallow water fishing. Anglers had good results when slowly trolling the 5 to 8 foot breaks and pitching jigs into the shallows. With water temperatures hovering in the low 50s, the spectacular walleye action will continue to improve on lakes throughout Itasca County. Crappie fishing was also good with anglers taking nice fish from the shoreline wood and old reed beds on several area lakes. Pokegama Lake in Grand Rapids had a good crappie bite in the shallow bays and harbor areas. All that was needed was a small jig and minnow under a small float. Hit the water and make memories that will last a lifetime! www.visitgrandrapids.com

Northwest Minnesota

Baudette - Lake of the Woods & the Rainy River

The Minnesota Fishing Opener was a success with strong numbers of walleye and sauger taken. A jig with a frozen shiner was the key. Lots of large fish, as well as large numbers of keeper-size walleye and sauger were stacked in the shallows. The water on the lake and in the river was about 2 feet low – anglers will need to pay attention if cruising the shallows this weekend. The Rainy River was on fire last weekend with reports of 100-fish days. Anglers that had the most success used a jig and frozen shiner bounced off the bottom. At the Northwest Angle and Islands area, fishing was also excellent. Anglers using a jig and a minnow along the shorelines caught lots of walleye of all sizes. 800-382-FISH; www.lakeofthewoodsmn.com


Opening weekend in the Bemidji area was hit or miss for walleye anglers. During low light hours, the Mississippi River at Lake Bemidji, the inlet fishing pier and Lake Irving gave up some nice fish to anglers using jigs and minnows. The most productive area lake seemed to be Lake Andrusia where jigs and minnows in 8 to 12 feet of water worked extremely well. Some of the walleye are starting to move out onto the mid-lake humps and bars. The bluegills and crappies continue to hit small jigs and crappie minnows in 2 to 4 feet of water on most area lakes. 800-458-2223; www.visitbemidji.com

Bena - Lake Winnibigoshish

The walleye bite on Lake Winnibigoshish remains excellent! Anglers using a jig and minnow in 10 to 15 feet of water (sometimes shallower) along the shoreline breaks and points are taking lots of eating-size fish, along with some very large fish. www.lakewinnie.net

Hackensack Area Lakes

Fishing was somewhat difficult last weekend due to the bait shortages. Once the water warms up a bit there should be better bait availability and an increase in the bite. The best action was late in the afternoon into evening hours when the water was the warmest. Trolling and casting crank baits and other artificials up onto the shallow structure seemed to be the best approach. Some of the points around Pine Point on Leech Lake produced well, and some of the east side bays also gave up nice walleye. Crappie action was great on many area lakes. Again, later in the day was the time to fish due to warmer water temperatures. Tight into the shallow structure such as docks and downed trees were best. Plastics worked well, but dropping a small slip bobber and a dangling crappie minnow was usually the best bet to lure them out from cover. A few anglers targeted catch-and-release bass, with some very big largemouth and smallmouth bass pulled from Portage, Mule, Stony and Woman lakes. While slow techniques were best, pockets of aggressive fish were occasionally located and anglers could speed up their presentation. 800-279-6932; www.hackensackchamber.com

Park Rapids

The panfish and bass are in the shallows. Anglers fly fishing in the shallows are having a great time with these active fish! Most fish are in 1 to 6 feet of water. If you don’t have a fly rod, pitch 1/16 white jigs tipped with a crappie minnow or a small plastic grub. The walleye remain shallow in most area lakes. Look for them in 4 to 10 feet of water using a 1/8-ounce white or blue jig tipped with a shiner -- golden shiners should be avoided. Drag your presentation slowly on the bottom and feel for a soft bite. Lighted slip bobbers and a leech will also work during night time hours. 800-247-0054; www.parkrapids.com

Detroit Lakes

The lakes in the Detroit Lakes area were very busy over opening weekend. Some walleye anglers had success but others struggled. Most of the walleye were pulled from 12 feet of water or less. Shiner minnows were hard to find last weekend but they are available now due to the shiner run. Northern pike and shallow panfish were cooperative. Anglers targeting bass found success in 3 to 8 feet of water on most area lakes. Water temperatures ranged from 48 to 56 degrees on opener, rising to 54 to 60 degrees currently. The crappie bite will continually improve and crappies should be on their shallow spawning beds on most lakes by the weekend. Expect to find some walleye at the mid-lake humps and bars by the weekend. 800-542-3992; www.visitdetroitlakes.com

Central Region

Otter Tail Area Lakes

The walleye and other game fish species are following the shiners into the shallows on lakes with a large shiner minnow populations. The best methods for catching shallow walleye are wading from shorelines or river edges and casting out to the fish. If you approach shallow water walleye in a boat, you must travel slowly and quietly or the fish will get spooked. But, if you do it right, the walleye usually stay within casting distance of your watercraft. Cast with small jigs tipped with shiners minnows or cast slip bobbers tipped with shiner minnows or leeches for the most action. Panfishing has been very strange. The shallow waters have warmed so quickly that the sunnies and crappies have moved out of these areas. Expect rapid changes in the lakes this week as shiners try to complete their spawn before the water gets too warm. 800-423-4571; www.ottertailcountry.com

Alexandria Area Lakes

The Alexandria area had an exceptional fishing opener, with numerous lakes, big and small, treating anglers very well. Limits of 15 to 20 inch walleye were taken by many anglers, along with a decent number of fish measuring 25 to 30 inches. One guided group boated roughly 150 walleye on opening day! Water temperatures had risen to near 60 degrees by the mid-week, and these temperatures are pushing the majority of walleye to slightly deeper waters. A lindy rig and minnow or a jig and minnow trolled at .30 to .75 mph is producing a lot of fish, especially in 12 – 18 feet of water. The panfish bite has also been amazing, and the area is full of some of the state’s best panfish lakes. Last weekend, anglers found a lot of crappies and sunnies in 3 to 6 feet of water when using a small hair jig tipped with a minnow or wax worm. Please remember that these fish continue to spawn so please release the larger panfish. 800-235-9441; www.alexandriamn.org

Isle/Onamia - Lake Mille Lacs

Although the ice was off Lake Mille Lacs by opening weekend, the water temperature was still very cold which required anglers to adapt their presentations. Some anglers did have success using lindy rigs in 20 feet of water. Nice numbers of walleye were caught off the docks in as little as 4 to 6 feet of water in the evenings. Temperatures have been climbing quickly so fishing should be very good by this weekend. 888-350-2692; www.millelacs.com

Southern Minnesota

Red Wing - Mississippi River

Mississippi River water levels were high last weekend but steadily falling. Water clarity was good. Many areas were fishable and the fish were active. The preferred method was pulling crankbaits, with a nice mix of walleye and sauger reported. 800-498-3444; www.redwing.org

Winona - Mississippi River and Lake Winona

The water levels on the Mississippi River are dropping. Anglers are pulling bass and walleye from the backwaters. Sunfish and crappies are active at the snags. Lake Winona is giving up nice numbers of fish, including crappies, bluegill and sunfish. 507-452-0735; www.visitwinona.com

Lanesboro/Preston - Southeast Bluff Country trout streams

At the beginning of the week, warmer, clearer waters with more moderate water flows were being noted. The weather was also conducive to insect hatches. Expect lots of hungry trout by the end of the week, just in time for Preston’s annual “Big Fish Contest” on May 19 at National Trout Center and the Preston Trout Days celebration, May 18-20! Before heading out, check the DNR’s Real Time Stream Flow Map and the Minnesota Stream Flow Report. 800-944-2670; www.lanesboro.com

Albert Lea Area Lakes

Next year's Minnesota Governor's Fishing Opener will be held May 9-12 on Fountain Lake, one of the largest lakes in the Albert Lea area. Located about 75 minutes south of the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, Albert Lea, known as "The Land Between the Lakes," is nestled between Fountain and Albert Lea lakes. In the heart of the city, the 521-acre Fountain Lake features several bays and is home to 20 species of fish, including largemouth bass, northern pike, walleye, crappie, catfish and yellow perch. There are 13 area lakes, many offering fishing, boating, kayaking and canoeing. 800-345-8414; www.albertleatourism.org

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.

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