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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 - 5-18-15
Rainy Lake Fishing Report - Update Weekly
Lake Mille Lacs Fishing Report - 5-21-15
Kabetogama-Ash River Fishing Report - 5-18-15
Devils Lake, North Dakota Fishing Report from Woodland Resort

Minnesota Statewide Fishing Reports
INFO AS OF 5-22-15

Northeast Minnesota
International Falls - Rainy Lake & the Rainy River

The walleye bite has heated up on Rainy Lake, with anglers taking nice numbers of fish from depths of 15-20 feet of water. Fish are responding best to jigs and minnows worked over the submerged humps east of Grindstone Island, with spinner rigs and minnows working well when slowly-trolled along the rocky shorelines. Smallmouth bass are also very active along the shorelines. On the Rainy River, the walleye fishing has been best during morning hours, especially in the slower current of a wide curve in the river downstream from the International Falls dam. Walleye and smallmouth bass action have been good below the dam and downstream for a mile or so. 800-325-5766; www.rainylake.org


The recent wind, rain and cool temperatures have caused a drop in anglers venturing out onto Lakes Kabetogama and Namakan. Those that have headed out or just fished from shore have done well. Large numbers of northern pike have been caught throughout the lake. Walleye are being pulled from both the shallow waters and from waters as deep as 35 feet! The common denominator has been the bait, with minnows leading the way. Slip bobbers have worked well in the shallows; jig and minnow combinations are best in the deep water. When moving, use slip sinker rigs. The shallow waters have given up the larger walleye, along with many pike and an occasional sauger. The deep water has produced keeper-size walleye, sauger, jumbo perch and an occasional pike. Water temperatures were in the low 50s earlier this week, and water levels had risen about 10 inches. Temperatures will return to normal by mid-week which should cause fish to relocate to depths of 18-25 feet where leeches and crawlers will work best. Areas to check out for walleye this weekend include Tom Cod, Peterson, Nebraska and Daily bays. 800-524-9085; www.kabetogama.com


Mixed reports have been filtering in all week, probably due to the fluctuating barometer and the cold drizzly weather. Luckily, this weekend should be much better. Anglers who stayed focused last weekend caught the most fish. The action was in pockets rather then spread across the lakes. Many walleye were in the shallows, and when bait fish popped out of the water, larger fish were typically chasing them. Casting shallow-running crankbaits can be very effective. Many walleye were also caught after dark by anglers using lighted bobbers and a free swimming rainbow chub, shiner minnow, or leech on a #4 or #6 hook. Smallmouth bass fishing is beginning to heat up, and anglers are having a blast with these great fighters. Bass weighing over 4 pounds have been netted, and seem to have an affinity for soft plastics. A ¼-ounce lead head and 3- to 4- inch swim bait or tube is the ticket to capturing smallies in depths less than eight feet deep. Northern pike continue to smash suckers, some of them within a few feet of shore. Most forage fish will relate to the warmer shallow waters near shore, and these eating machines will be right nearby. Casting spinnerbaits will almost definitely be productive. Some lake trout are being taken right from shore and off the docks by anglers laying ciscoes on the bottom. Anglers are also having success trolling spoons in forty feet of water. 800-777-7281; www.ely.org

Duluth - Lake Superior and inland waters

Rivers along the lower shore of Lake Superior were at normal flows with relatively clear water conditions earlier this week. Water temperatures were in the upper 40s in the mornings and into the 50s in the afternoons. There was moderate angling activity, and interviewed anglers caught 13 steelhead, 4 kamloops, 1 longnose sucker, and 1 white sucker. Along the middle shore, water levels were close to normal with water temperatures ranging from 42- to 50-degrees. Angling pressure was moderate, and interviewed anglers caught 4 steelhead. The upper shore tributaries had moderate to strong flows with recent accumulating rains. Water temperatures have been consistently above 50 degrees in most tributaries. Angling activity was light to moderate, and interviewed anglers reported 4 steelhead and 1 kamloop. Knife River trap totals through May 18 were 708 steelhead and 13 kamloops; French River trap totals were 774 kamloops and 117 steelhead. 800-438-5884; www.visitduluth.com

Grand Rapids

The water is starting to warm back up and the fish are turning more active -- Memorial Day Weekend is expected to be an excellent fishing weekend! Walleye have been deeper on area lakes than is normal this time of year, but once temperatures warm a bit, the fish should move back into the shallows. Currently, the best depths are 10-16 feet, with jig and shiner combinations working well. The recent rains have caused water levels to rise, making the boat launches accessible. The crappies and bluegills should also turn more aggressive this weekend. The bass harvest season opens this weekend and most of the smallmouth should be found in deeper waters, with largemouth bass coming from 6 feet of water or less in the bays. www.visitgrandrapids.com

Northwest Minnesota
Baudette - Lake of the Woods & the Rainy River

Lots of limits and trophy walleye were reported by Lake of the Woods anglers last weekend and early this week. Plenty of sauger and northern pike were also taken. Anglers had success fishing 15-19 feet of water and 22-26 foot depths at Pine Island and the Lighthouse Gap. To the west, anglers fished the fields over rocks west of Zippel Bay and near Gull Rock Reef and the Twin Islands. The best depths during the day were 18-22 and 26 feet, with shallower waters being best during morning and evening hours. Anchoring with a 3/8-ounce jig & minnow combination, or drifting with spinners and minnows was the most productive. The top colors have been gold, hammered gold, pink, and white. On the Rainy River, mornings and evenings were best, especially in depths of 18-22 feet. Anchoring and jigging were effective. Those that drifted also caught some northern pike and smallmouth bass. Gold and green jigs tipped with a minnow or frozen shiner produced the most fish. Up at the Northwest Angle, walleye were found in 18-20 and 25-30 feet of water, especially at the island points south of Oak Island and in the current areas. Good numbers of walleye and jumbo perch were taken when anchoring with jigs or drifting with spinners and crawlers. 800-382-FISH; www.lakeofthewoodsmn.com

Bemidji Area Lakes

The Bemidji area received several inches of rain since the fishing season opened on May 9. The water levels in the lakes are rising and the dry conditions on land appear to have turned more normal. Anglers should have better conditions for fishing this weekend as the skies clear and the lakes warm back up again. Walleye in most area lakes have been feeding in 10-14 feet of water off the sides of shoreline-connected structure during the day. During low light conditions, fish are moving shallower. Most anglers have been using jigs and spot tail shiners with good success for walleye when fishing on the outside weed edges. Anglers fishing off the sides of structure in deeper water have started using live bait rigs with larger minnows or leeches. Crappies and sunnies had moved into the shallows before the walleye season opened, but have since moved back into deeper water because of the rapid drop in water temperatures. Once water temperatures rebound, the sunfish, crappies and bass will begin to move shallow again. Harvest season for largemouth bass and smallmouth bass opens this Saturday, May 23, although most anglers usually release their bass. Northern pike have been the most active fish in many lakes, often biting on presentations intended for other species. It would be very beneficial to all fish species and the overall health of the lakes if more anglers know how good a boneless pike fillet tastes. The lakes would be in better balance if people ate more pike. 800-458-2223; www.visitbemidji.com

Walker - Leech Lake

Last weekend, the water temperatures on Leech Lake had dropped 3-6 degrees due to the cold weather and rain. This forced anglers to adjust their presentations and try something other than the “traditional” early season walleye tactics. Walleye fishing was sporadic, but those willing to change up their routine were rewarded. The main lake flats around Goose Island such as West Goose and Grand View continued to produce fish, but the fish had moved deeper, especially when there was a lack of wind to push bait fish up into the shallows. The best fishing was in 9-13 feet of water, with jig and minnow combinations and lindy rigs with a shiner or leech producing the most fish. The windblown shoreline breaks and breaklines that dropped into 10-16 feet of water throughout the main lake were also good. Leech is a wind-driven lake, so using this to your advantage by making controlled drifts or using your bow mount to work the breaklines can be extremely productive. When it was calm, snap-jigging was best; traveling 1- to 1.5 mph or long-lining a leech and crawler was extremely effective and should only get better. Other tactics to consider this time of year include a slip bobber at the isolated weed pockets or rock piles, as well as casting crankbaits at windblown shorelines after dark. Crappies have started to transition to deeper waters. Boy, Headquarters and Shingobee bays are producing fish in 6-12 feet of water along the weedlines and flats with isolated pockets of cabbage. A jig and plastic or a crappie minnow under a float are great presentations. Perch continue to be caught, and there were reports of isolated schools of jumbos caught this weekend on just a jig and minnow. Lots of perch have been mixed in with the walleye. Large numbers of bass have moved into the shallows and this is the perfect time of year to catch a monster bass! 800-833-1118; www.leech-lake.com

Detroit Lakes

The cold, windy and rainy days have kept most anglers off the water. The water temperature has stalled in the mid-50s, but the forecast calls for warmer air temperatures and easier access to the water through next week. Lake levels have risen a bit, and the accesses are in better shape for launching and loading. Walleye anglers are finding most fish in 8-14 feet of water when using jigs or rigs with minnows. Some walleye have also been taken on rigs or bobbers with leeches. As water temperatures warm, the crawler bite should improve. Northern pike have not been affected by the recent cold fronts, and remain very aggressive. The inside and outside weed edges offer lots of active fish. The crappies have been moving in and out of the shallow spawning areas with the fluctuating weather. As it warms, they will move back into the shallows to spawn. 800-542-3992; www.visitdetroitlakes.com

Central Region
Otter Tail Lakes Area

As of Wednesday, May 20, water temperatures on Otter Tail County lakes were holding at 52–54 degrees. The cold water brought the shiner spawn to a halt. Any bug hatches that had begun also came to a screeching halt. As a result, walleye fishing has been inconsistent. Many panfish have retreated from the shoreline areas they were using a week or two ago. Once there are a few days of more normal temperatures, fishing should heat back up again, likely by this weekend. For panfish, use gulp-type baits on 1/32-ounce jigs, and jig them slowly along bull rush clumps. Bobbers are optional. For now, it’s best to bring along a variety of tackle. Once you find active fish, hold on tight! 800-423-4571; www.ottertailcountry.com

Sauk Centre - Sauk Lake

Expect a good walleye bite and a strong crappie bite this weekend, especially in the bays. Walleye are hitting leeches and spot tail shiners in 12-14 feet of water near the rock piles and narrows on Big Sauk Lake. Little Sauk Lake is producing nice numbers of crappies and sunnies. For the most fish, use minnows and waxworms. 855-444-SAUK; www.visitsaukcentre.com

Brainerd Lakes Area

Northern pike have been extremely active on the Gull Lake Chain of Lakes. Many presentations have produced fish, including live bait rigging with spot tails, long-lining 1/16th-ounce jigs with suckers, pulling crankbaits, and dragging crawler harnesses. Crappies can be found in their usual spawning grounds which consist of lily pad roots, downed trees and the inside edges of cabbage beds. Most crappies are staying close to their beds, but fish are responding to a minnow hooked through the eyes with no weight and a small bobber. Last weekend, crawler harnesses were the ticket for walleye. The best set-up was a #5 blade (blue, smooth gold or hammered bronze), half a nightcrawler and a 1/16-ounce weight above the swivel of the harness. The best pulling speed was 1.1 mph. When fishing a crawler harness on the weed edge, the secret is for the weight and blade to just clip the tops of the weeds. Use no stretch line so when you do connect with a weed a quick snap of the rod should release the harness. This is often when you’ll get a walleye to strike. After the mid-day rain last Saturday, some anglers switched species and headed over to the Crosby mine pits for some trout action. Fish came from 25-210 feet of water on the smallest crankbaits pulled at 1.2- to 1.6-mph. The secret was a 1/8-ounce weight about 4 feet above the crank bait to keep the lure deeper. The best colors were gold/black and firetiger. The mine pit lakes in the Crosby/Ironton area are teaming with fish! Crappies are also abundant, with fish found suspended off the edge of a beaver lodge last weekend. Red/ chartreuse tube jig bodies on a 1/32-ounce jig head were the key to success. 800-450-2838; www.explorebrainerdlakes.com

Isle/Onamia - Lake Mille Lacs

The turnout was pretty light on Mille Lacs this week. Anglers that put in the time caught some nice fish, with more "big" fish than small. The north end still has the best daytime bite. Some nice daytime fish were also found on the mud flats, as well as on the shoreline reefs towards dark. Shiners and leeches have been best, with crawlers coming in third. The spinner bite will take off in the near future, when water temperatures rise into the 60s. Anglers are enjoying the relaxing surroundings, and this should be the case again this weekend since the water is too cool for most tubers and skiers! 888-350-2692; www.millelacs.com

Willmar Lakes Area

The weather did not cooperate last weekend, but anglers that ventured out said the fish were biting. The top walleye locations over the last week have been South Long Lake and Big Kandiyohi Lake. Willmar and Foot lakes have also been popular locations for active walleye and crappies. Water temperatures on most area lakes are hovering around 55-60 degrees, but should rise by this weekend. 800-845-8747; www.willmarlakesarea.com

Twin Cities Greater Metropolitan vicinity
White Bear Area Lakes

Good numbers of walleye and perch are biting on Bald Eagle Lake. Anglers having the most success are using leeches and nightcrawlers. On White Bear Lake, fishing tends to be best during early morning and evening hours. Walleye are hitting leeches and nightcrawlers, and crappies are responding best to nightcrawlers. 651/653-5122; www.ExploreWhiteBear.org


The bite has been solid for several species, including walleye, on Lake Waconia. Anglers report catching lots of keeper-size fish measuring 16- to 19-inches, with some 22- to 26-inch fish caught and released. The evening and early morning bites have been best in 4-8 feet of water. Jigging or slip bobber fishing with a leech or fathead minnow are recommended, although casting crankbaits should also produce some fish. For late-morning and daytime anglers, check depths of 13-18 feet. A strong bass bite is also being reported. Crappies continue to hit crappie minnows, and the sunfish bite is picking up. Depths of 5-12 feet have been best. 952/442-5812; www.destinationwaconia.org

Southern Minnesota
Lanesboro -Southeast Bluff Country Trout Streams

As of Thursday, May 21, area streams and rivers monitored by fisheries staff were mostly clear, with normal water levels. On the South Branch Whitewater, two species of caddis were observed, along with some small tan crane flies, assorted midges, and a blue winged olive dun or two. Conditions were excellent! Anglers are encouraged to stop by a DNR Fisheries office in southeast Minnesota to pick up a copy of the new 2015 Trout Angling Opportunities in Southern and Central Minnesota booklet. Check the DNR Fisheries web page for locations. As updates on stream conditions become available, they are posted on the Southeast Minnesota Stream Conditions web page. You are also welcome to call the office for updates at 507-467-2442. 800-944-2670; www.lanesboro.com

Ortonville - Big Stone Lake

Big Stone Lake kicked out good numbers of nice-sized fish last weekend. There were several reports of 5-plus pound walleyes caught and released! Largemouth bass, white bass, northern pike and bluegill were also taken—anglers enjoyed the variety of fish Big Stone had to offer! The walleye were a daytime challenge due to very clear water so low light hours and nighttime were best for fishing. During these low light conditions, casting into the shallows or trolling over depths of 5 feet or less was ideal. Spinner and crawler combinations were starting to turn more fish on the south end of the lake. Expect continual improvement as water temperatures warm over the next couple of weeks. 800-568-5722; www.bigstonelake.com

The information in this report is provided courtesy of Explore Minnesota Tourism.

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