MN: Goose and bear hunting seasons kick off with good reports Issue: 36

Big Six

LAKE MILLE LACS

East -Look for perch in the bays in 12 to 18 feet. Shallow-water walleye action is improving with crankbaits working during the day and during low-light periods along the eight- to 12-foot rock transition areas. There's still plenty of big walleyes being caught on the deep, main-lake structure. Smallmouth bass are biting on the rocks and muskie reports have been more consistent in the bays on the south end and along the north-end cabbage.

Johnson's Portside (320) 676-3811

www.johnsonsportside.com

West – Walleyes remain active during the day on the mud flats with leadcore and crankbaits or spinners and minnows in 21 to 32 feet producing fish. At night, slip bobbers and leeches are producing walleyes on the deep sides of the flats. Perch action is strong with minnows on the 18- to 20-foot rocks between Seguchie Point and Curley's Flat. Smallmouth are hitting on the rocks in eight to 18 feet, northern pike can be had in the bays, and muskie action is best in Vineland Bay and the north end sand.

Terry's Boat Harbor (320) 692-4430

www.terrysboatharbor.com

LAKE OF THE WOODS

The Morris Point area, Lighthouse Gap, and deep breaks along Pine Island are producing walleyes in 24 to 28 feet via minnows and crawlers. A few more fish are being caught in the Rainy River, but the bite is a week or two from taking off. Downrigging on the big part of the lake is productive for walleyes and sauger in 30 feet. At the Northwest Angle, walleyes and pike continue to be taken on the reefs in 24 to 30 feet.

Lake of the Woods Tourism Bureau

(800) 382-FISH

LEECH LAKE AREA

Daytime walleye reports continue to reflect a tough walleye bite with the humps in Walker Bay remaining the best option in 25 feet or more. Trolling crankbaits at night has produced some walleyes around Cedar Point and Sand Point, but even that has cooled down in recent days. Perch action has improved with better numbers of keeping-sized perch being caught in Walker Bay in nine to 12 feet. Look for muskies in the cabbage and largemouth bass in the rice beds of most bays. Panfish action has been limited to a few bluegills in Steamboat Bay.

Reed's Sporting Goods (218) 547-1505

LAKE MINNETONKA AREA

Walleyes are hitting small sucker minnows in 18 to 24 feet in Brown's, Wayzata, and Excelsior bays on Lake Minnetonka. Sunfish and bass remain active on the weedlines of Minnetonka, while spinners and sucker minnows are producing northern pike in 15 to 18 feet. Muskie reports are poor and goose hunting has been excellent if you had the right field.

Wayzata Bait (952) 473-2227

RAINY LAKE

Cranberry Bay is a safe bet for pike as crankbaits and minnows are producing in 14 to 18 feet. Walleye action is best with minnows and jigs on the main-lake reefs, in Sand Bay, and the American Narrows in 25 to 32 feet. Crappie action has been "on again/off again" with most fish showing up suspended in the Rat Root River area of Black Bay.

Loon's Nest (218) 286-5850

LAKE WINNIBIGOSHISH

Shad Raps are best for walleyes along the 10- to 12-foot weedlines and shoreline breaks on the wind-driven side of the lake. Perch are hitting on the west side in six to 12 feet in and around the weeds. Pike are active in the seven- to 11-foot weed edges throughout the lake with crankbaits or spoons working best.

Nodak Lodge (218) 665-2226

Twin Cities Metro

NORTHEAST METRO

The St. Croix River is producing walleyes in 23 feet mainly on crankbaits. Smallmouth bass fishing is excellent on the rock areas of the St. Croix and Mississippi River. Look to Forest Lake and Bald Eagle Lake with topwater baits and small bucktails for muskies along the shorelines and shallow weeds. Big Marine Lake is producing sunfish and crappies in 15 feet and White Bear Lake is a safe bet for sunfish in 20 feet. Goose hunting reports have been limited.

Blue Ribbon Bait & Tackle (651) 777-2421

WEST METRO

The Minnesota River is producing walleyes at the creek mouths and catfish in the deep holes. Northern pike are hitting crankbaits and spoon plugs on the deep weedlines of Pierson Lake and Lake Auburn. Look for bass at Whaletail Lake, Steiger Lake, and Auburn to be hitting topwater baits on the weed tops. Goose and dove hunting reports have been favorable with most groups shooting a fair number of birds.

Cabin Fever Sports (952) 443-2022

LAKE WACONIA

Muskie anglers are hooking fish along the south shore, main-lake reefs, and Wagener's Bay with bucktails during low-light hours. Walleyes are being caught in 14 to 18 feet on Kegg's Reef and Red's Reef with a jig and minnow. Bass are hitting plastics near docks and on the reefs in 14 to 16 feet. Sunfish are in 10 to 14 feet on the reefs and weedlines.

Mases In Towne Marina (952) 442-2096

www.intownemarina.com

Statewide

ALEXANDRIA AREA

Walleye action has picked up on Lake Ida with crawlers and spinners or a jig and minnow in 20 feet or more. Hit Lake Miltona at night with crankbaits for walleyes in shallow water or during the day with leeches in 18 to 24 feet. Bass fishing is strong in shallow water on lakes Carlos, Darling, Geneva, and Le Homme Dieu. Muskie action has picked up on Miltona with bucktails. There seems to be a lot of geese in the area and opening weekend reports were mostly good.

Christopherson's Bait and Tackle

(320) 763-3255

ANNANDALE AREA

Walleyes are hitting minnows at Clearwater Lake in 18 to 24 feet early and late in the day. Look to Maple Lake, Pleasant Lake, Cedar Lake, Sugar Lake, Lake John, and Lake Sylvia for sunfish in 10 to 12 feet. Pike are hitting crankbaits or suckers on the 10- to 15-foot weed edges of Sugar, John, French Lake, and Pleasant Lake. Goose opener went well with many limits shot.

Little Jim's Bait (320) 274-5297

www.littlejimssports.com

BATTLE LAKE

Nightcrawlers are triggering walleyes during the day in 15 to 25 feet as are Shad Raps at night on the flats in five to 10 feet at West Battle Lake and Otter Tail Lake. Sucker minnows drifted on the weedlines of Otter Tail, West Battle, and Clitherall Lake are turning pike, while bass are hitting on the weedlines of Stalker Lake, Bass Lake, and Fiske Lake. Look for crappies over 15 feet at Clitherall and West Battle or sunfish on the bottom in 15 feet at West Battle, Stalker, and Blanche Lake. Goose hunting has produced mixed results.

Ben's Bait Shop (218) 864-5596

BEMIDJI AREA

Crankbaits trolled during the evening on the south end of Lake Bemidji have produced walleyes in 12 to 14 feet. Panfish are being caught at Grace Lake in eight to 12 feet and at the mouth of the river at Wolf Lake. Muskies are more active chasing bucktails on the weedlines and cabbage areas of Big Lake, Lake Plantagenet, Cass Lake, and Bemidji. Bear hunters report good activity just before dark, while the first few days of the goose season have been pretty good for most groups.

Bluewater Outdoors

(218) 444-BAIT (2248)

BRAINERD/NISSWA AREA

Minnows are producing walleyes at Gull Lake in 17 to 30 feet, at North Long Lake in 17 to 35 feet, and at Pelican Lake in 15 to 35 feet. The south end of Gull and the Highway 371 Bay on North Long are producing sunfish in seven to 15 feet. Bass fishing has been best at most lakes on the deep structure and deep weeds with minnows.

S & W Bait & Guide Service/Nisswa Guide League (218) 829-7010

CHISAGO AREA

Bass are hitting topwaters and crankbaits on the weedlines and rocks of Chisago Lake, South Lindstrom Lake, and South Center Lake. A few walleyes can be had with minnows in 16 to 18 feet on the main bar of Chisago. Trolling the weedlines of Green and Chisago with sucker minnows has produced pike. At Sunrise Lake, bass and panfish are active on the weedlines. There seemed to be fewer goose hunters in the area for the opener, which resulted in fewer geese being shot.

Frankie's Bait (651) 257-6334

CROSBY AREA

Serpent, Rabbit, and many other lakes are producing largemouth bass via plastics along the deep weeds or topwater baits in the slop. Black Lake, Mahnomen Lake, and Mississippi River are giving up panfish and the walleye bite on the Mississippi is improving on the edges of the deep pools or feeder creek areas. Pike are hitting suckers under bobbers at Nokay Lake and Bay Lake in 12 feet. There's been a spike in pike action in the pits with large plugs thrown in the flooded timber.

Oars ‘n Mine Bait and Tackle (218) 546-6912

DULUTH AREA

Minnows are producing walleyes at Island Lake in 15 feet and at Whiteface Lake in 10 to 12 feet of water. Crappies continue to hit at Fish Lake over 16 to 18 feet. You'll find sunfish in eight to 10 feet here. Muskie reports have picked up with buzzbaits or large minnows at Island and the St. Louis River. Salmon are starting to stage near the French River and river inlets near Silver Bay. Most of the good reports on Lake Superior are coming from trollers working closer to shore. Bear hunting reports have been mixed with 15 bears registered and other hunters struggling to get baits hit.

Chalstrom's Bait (218) 726-0094

ELY AREA

Pike are hitting minnows or crankbaits in six to 18 feet at Burntside Lake, Snowbank Lake, and Basswood Lake. Crawlers or a jig and minnow are producing walleyes at Shagawa Lake in six to 10 feet. Smallmouth bass can be had on the shorelines of most lakes, but look to Basswood for bigger fish.

The Great Outdoors (218) 365-4744

GRAND MARAIS AREA

On Lake Saganaga, walleyes are being taken with a jig and minnow on the 20- to 22-foot rocks or with spoons in 40 feet. Walleyes also can be had with slip bobbers and leeches at Seagull Lake in 25 feet, with Rapalas in six to eight feet at Devil Track Lake, or with a jig and minnow in 12 to 15 feet at Crescent Lake and in 25 to 30 feet at Homer Lake. Spoons and jigs are triggering lake trout over 50 to 60 feet at Saganaga, and in 40 feet at Pine Lake. Rainbow trout continue to hit nightcrawlers in 18 feet at Leo Lake, 12 feet at Kimball Lake, and 12 to 20 feet at Mink Lake.

Buck's Hardware (218) 387-2280

GRAND RAPIDS AREA

You'll find crappies suspended over 20 feet or more on lakes Pokegama, Big Cutfoot, Little Cutfoot, and Trout. Sunfish are being taken on the weedlines of Jay Gould Lake, Big and Little Sand lakes, Big Cutfoot, and Little Cutfoot. Walleyes are hitting spinners tipped with minnows or crawlers from the weedlines out to deep, main-lake structure areas of Pokegama, Trout, Moose, Wabana, Deer, and Sugar lakes. Smallmouth bass are hitting in 20 feet at Deer, Pokegama, and North Star Lake, while pike can be had with sucker minnows and spinners throughout Pokegama. Bear hunters are seeing action at their baits, but a lot of it is taking place after dark.

Ben's Bait and Tackle (218) 326-8281

HACKENSACK AREA

Hit Woman Lake with a Lindy Rig and leech, minnow, or crawler for walleyes in 12 to 22 feet. Bass fishing is strong on Birch Lake and Pleasant Lake with crankbaits and spinnerbaits. One bear had been registered as of Tuesday morning.

Swanson's Bait and Tackle (218) 675-6176

LAKE VERMILION

On the east end, walleyes are being caught on the rock/sand transitions along the shorelines in 12 to 30 feet depending on the time of day. On the west end, walleyes are being taken in 18 to 22 feet or along the 22- to 28-foot shoreline breaks. Live-bait rigs tipped with crawlers or minnows are working best. Muskie action has been good with blades and topwater baits triggering fish on the summer to fall transition areas.

Lake Vermilion Guides League

www.lakevermilionguidesleague.com

ORTONVILLE AREA

Bluegills and perch are active in the Grapevine, Bayview, and Poverty Point areas of Big Stone Lake in 12 feet. The Highway 75 dam on the Minnesota River is kicking out catfish, northern pike, and an occasional walleye. Goose hunters did well in this area and there seems to be plenty of birds to be had.

Bud's Bait (320) 839-2480

PARK RAPIDS AREA

Sunfish action is most consistent on the Crow Wing Chain of Lakes in 12 feet, while Big Mantrap Lake is producing pike in 15 feet. Bass and walleye reports have been limited, although Fish Hook Lake gave up a few good-sized bass via plastics on the weed edges. Big Mantrap also is the best crappie option over 18 to 20 feet. Bear hunting seems to be best just northwest of town and goose hunters did well in the immediate area.

Delaney's (218) 732-4281

RED LAKE

Spinners and minnows are producing walleyes along many shoreline areas in five to eight feet. The southeast shoreline and Center Bar are giving up limits of fish all day. Bear hunters and guides are reporting good bear activity with baits being hit and several big animals shot. Goose hunting reports varied and it depended on what field you set up on.

Mort's Dock (218) 647-8128

ST. CLOUD/EDEN VALLEY AREA

Sunfish are hitting in four to 10 feet and crappies are suspended at Rice Lake, Lake Koronis, Cedar Island Lake, Horseshoe Lake, and Long Lake. Walleyes are hitting on Koronis and Rice with minnows or crawlers in less than 10 feet. Bass fishing is strong on lakes such as Grand, Pearl, and Rice.

Mike's Bait and Tackle (320) 453-2248

 

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