Report from the Dock
Water temperatures continue to drop and that’s meant a little more consistency with the state’s walleye bite. It’s by no means approaching the peak of the fall action, but many reports were a lot better than they have been in several weeks. While you’ll still find walleyes deep, the water is cooling off so quickly, that those shallow water bars, points, shoreline breaks, and weedlines are starting to hold bigger numbers of fish. Crappies are suspended in many areas, mainly along weedlines or deep basin areas, which is another indication that they’re starting to move to their fall locations. Bigger bass and pike are definitely more numerous around deep vegetation, while more numbers can be had shallower. Muskie action has been OK with some fish still chasing bucktails or topwater baits, but the bite has not been outstanding. Bear and most goose hunting reports from the first week of season have been exceptional. Based on hunter success and overall reports, it sounds like this was the right year to draw a bear tag.
LAKE MILLE LACS
Smallmouth bass continue to hit minnows or crawlers better than artificial baits on the 10- to 20-foot reefs and rock points. Walleye reports continue to be best from the mud flats, but the 18- to 20-foot rock points have started giving up better numbers of fish as well. A few northern pike are biting in the bays, but muskie reports have been light.
Johnson’s Portside (320) 676-3811
Terry’s Boat Harbor (320) 692-4430
LAKE OF THE WOODS
Walleyes are being caught on crawler harnesses or crankbaits in 7 to 15 feet along the south shoreline and 24 to 36 feet over mud. As a rule, trophy fish have been over the mud with more eaters being caught in shallow. On the Rainy River, a fair number of small emerald shiners called “pinheads” moved in this week and walleyes are being caught on jigs and frozen shiners on flats and breaks. Anglers are reporting a mixed bag with walleyes, saugers, smallmouth bass, pike and sturgeon.
Lake of the Woods Tourism Bureau (800) 382-FISH
LAKE MINNETONKA AREA
Spinners with minnows or crawlers are producing walleyes tight to the deep weedlines on Minnetonka and Medicine Lake. Pike are hitting sucker minnows in the channels on Minnetonka or 16 to 18 feet on Lake Independence. Anglers fishing from shore or docks are catching pike and muskies with suckers on Lake Harriet.
Wayzata Bait (952) 473-2227
Walleye action has slowed a bit, and while fish are being caught, they are scattered throughout the flats in Daisy Bay, Frazier Bay, and Big Bay from 4 to 30 feet. The Fectos Point area is giving up walleyes in 18 to 20 feet on live-bait rigs and minnows. Look for smallmouth bass on the main lake reefs and rock piles in 8 to 10 feet – plastics or a jig and minnow are producing best. Muskie anglers are seeing fish on the submerged reefs or rock points in 10 to 15 feet, but it’s been tough getting them to hit a bait. A few crappies are being caught over 16 to 20 feet around Raspberry Island.
Pike Bay Lodge (218) 753-2430
Walleyes continue to be caught with a jig and minnow on the shoreline breaks and points in 6 to 10 feet. Trolling spoons or crankbaits is the ticket for northern pike in 10 to 15 feet and perch are shoreline-related in less than 12 feet and hitting minnows.
A jig and minnow, crankbaits or crawlers are producing walleyes on the 8- to 15-foot flats and deeper, main lake structure in 15 to 20 feet – work the wind-driven areas. The crankbait bite at night has been much more inconsistent than a week ago. Perch reports have improved and the key to catching bigger fish is to use larger minnows in the Narrows and Sand Point area in 6 to 9 feet – a few walleyes are showing up in these spots as well. Muskies are drawing a lot of fishing pressure, with the rocks and reed edges holding the most active fish.
Reed’s Sporting Goods (218) 547-1505
Shriver’s Bait Company
Larger minnows on live-bait rigs or jigs continue to work best for walleyes in 30 to 35 feet, but some fish are being taken in shallower water as well. Minnows or plastics are producing smallmouth bass on the deep rock piles and rock points. Look for pods of suspended crappies over deep mud areas, and northern pike remain active along deep cabbage beds.
RainyDaze Guide Service
Fishing pressure has been light over the past week with the wind again limiting opportunities for anglers to get out. Those that have ventured out also report a slow bite, but with water temperatures dropping, the shorelines should start holding numbers of active walleyes.
West Wind Resort (218) 647-8998
Twin Cities Metro
A jig and minnow is producing walleyes around the main points in 18 to 25 feet of water on the St. Croix River. The 6- to 10-foot weeds on Powers Lake, Silver Lake, Big Marine Lake, and Tanners Lake are giving up a mixed bag of panfish. Bucktails are turning muskies on the St. Croix and Bald Eagle Lake, while Demontreville Lake, White Bear Lake, and St. Croix are kicking out bass.
Blue Ribbon Bait & Tackle
You’ll find sunfish, bass, and pike along the 14- to 16-foot weedlines on Lake Minnewashta. Hit the fishing piers on Lake Ann and Steiger Lake with sucker minnows for northern pike and a few bass or the 12- to 14-foot weedlines on Hydes Lake for panfish. Work the deep holes near Watertown or the bridge by New Germany on the Crow River for walleyes and catfish. There’s been more crop harvest towards Lester Prairie so that’s where the better goose hunting has taken place.
Cabin Fever Sports (952) 443-2022
Bucktails are raising muskies along the weed edges of Anderson’s Reef and the Swimming Beach area. Crappies and sunfish are being found in 12 to 15 feet behind the island, Center Reef, and North Reef. Minnows are producing some walleyes on Red’s Reef and Center Reef in 15 to 22 feet during the day or slightly shallower at night. Hours have changed at the Marina with the arrival of fall, so call ahead for availability.
Crankbaits are producing walleyes at night in less 12 feet at Lake Mary, Reno Lake, and Lake Miltona. There’s been a few fish caught with minnows during the day on Miltona and Mary in 18 to 24 feet. Bucktails or rubber baits are triggering muskies on Lobster Lake and Miltona in 10 to 15 feet. Bass remain active on the weedlines of most lakes and crappies are being found suspended tight to the 15- to 18-foot weed edges on Lake Darling, Lake Geneva, Lake Ida, Lake Le Homme Dieu, and Mary. Goose hunting reports have been mixed, but if you had the right field, success was generally good.
Christopherson’s Bait and Tackle
You’ll find suspended crappies over 18 to 22 feet on Clearwater Lake and Cedar Lake. A few walleyes are being taken with minnows on Clearwater and Sugar Lake in 18 to 24 feet, while sunfish are going at Pleasant Lake, Lake Sylvia, Maple Lake, and Lake John along the 15- to 20-foot weedlines. Largemouth bass are being taken with topwater baits in shallow water or with plastics on the deep weedlines of most lakes. Goose hunting reports have been mixed, but most groups found some success.
Little Jim’s Bait (320) 274-5297
BATTLE LAKE AREA
Walleyes are hitting crawlers during the day in 15 to 25 feet or crankbaits at night in 5 to 8 feet at Otter Tail Lake and West Battle Lake. Sucker minnows are producing northern pike in 20 feet at Otter Tail, West Battle, and Clitherall Lake and largemouth bass are hitting spinnerbaits in the 8- to 10-foot weeds at Buchanan Lake, Donald Lake, and Long Lake. Sunfish and crappies are being found suspended over 15 to 20 feet on Stalker Lake and Lake Marion, while Double CowGirls are triggering muskies on the 20- to 25-foot weeds throughout West Battle. Goose hunters are doing OK, with some groups shooting limits and others finding fewer birds, but there seems to be good numbers in the area.
Ben’s Bait Shop (218) 864-5596
The Bemidji area saw its first freeze Tuesday morning and water temperatures are continuing to drop. The walleye bite has been a bit sporadic, but you’ll catch fish if your willing to work at it. Jigs and minnows are producing some fish in 14 to 20 feet on Lake Bemidji, Lake Plantagenet, and Gull Lake. Bass fishing continues to be good with plastics along the deep cabbage on most lakes. You’ll still find some crappies around the cabbage, while others are moving out to deeper basin areas and suspending.
Dick Beardsley Guide Service
Bear hunting “has been about as good as it gets” and goose hunters have found plenty of success as well. A jig and minnow is turning walleyes and some good-size perch on Blackduck Lake and Island Lake along the 10- to 15-foot weedlines. Bluegills and crappies are being found deeper, 18 to 24 feet, on Pimushe Lake, Gull Lake, and Turtle River Lake.
Timberline Sports and Tackle
Walleyes are hitting minnows or crawlers on North Long Lake, Gull Lake, and Pelican Lake in 16 to 28 feet. Look for sunfish in 6 to 18 feet and crappies suspended over 10 to 12 feet on Cullen Lake, Nisswa Lake, Gull, North Long, and Round. Large minnows are producing bigger pike in 12 to 18 feet on Gull, North Long, and Lake Edward, while good numbers of bass are being taken on the 10- to 15-foot weedlines on most lakes.
S & W Bait & Guide Service/
Nisswa Guide League (218) 829-7010
CASS LAKE AREA
A jig and minnow or Jiggin’ Raps are producing walleyes during the day in 35 to 40 feet on Cass Lake and Pike Bay Lake. Muskie action has picked up during the day on the main lake break lines of Cass, while perch are being found in 8 to 9 feet on Cass, Wolf Lake, and Lake Andrusia.
Sunset Cove Resort (800) 279-4831
Walleyes are hitting minnows on jigs or live-bait rigs in 16 to 20 feet on Green Lake, Chisago Lake, and North Center Lake. The 8- to 12-foot weedlines on lakes such as North Lindstrom, South Lindstrom, North Center, South Center, and Chisago are holding panfish, but look for suspended crappies off these weeds in 15 feet or more as well. Bass fishing is strong in the slop early in the day and along the 12-foot weedlines during midday hours on most lakes.
Frankie’s Bait (651) 257-6334
Look for panfish in the backwaters of the Mississippi River, Little Rabbit Lake, and Black Hoof Lake. You’ll find largemouth bass around the wild rice or 18- to 22-foot structure on Bay Lake and Mission Lake, while Clearwater Lake is producing smallmouth in 15 to 20 feet. Some walleyes are being caught in 30 to 40 feet on Serpent Lake with minnows or nightcrawlers. Goose numbers are fine and most groups found good numbers of birds, while bear hunting success has been “above average” during the first week of the season.
Oars ‘n Mine Bait and Tackle
DETROIT LAKES AREA
Minnows are turning walleyes in 10 to 20 feet, depends on the lake, but Big Floyd Lake, Big Detroit Lake, and Pelican Lake are worth noting. The 10- to 15-foot weed beds are producing crappies on Big Toad Lake, Tamarack Lake, and Cotton Lake. Large sucker minnows are turning muskies on Lake Sallie and Big Detroit in 12 to 14 feet. Hunting reports have been limited.
Quality Bait and Tackle
Bear hunting has been “about the best we’ve seen in years” with many hunters reporting multiple bears on their baits and a very high success rate. Island Lake is kicking out walleyes and bluegills in 15 to 20 feet. Hit Fish Lake and Boulder Lake with chubs for walleyes in 15 to 18 feet. Lake Superior anglers are finding a mixed bag of lake trout and salmon in the Lester River area in the top 50 to 75 feet of the water column. On the south shore, walleyes are hitting stickbaits and brown trout are being taken with spoons over 30 to 40 feet.
Chalstrom’s Bait (218) 726-0094
Big Lake, Shagawa Lake, and Snowbank Lake are giving up walleyes in less than 10 feet on jigs with crawlers or minnows. Northern pike are being caught on spoons along the weed beds of Robinson Lake, Basswood Lake, and Disappointment Lake and look for smallmouth bass along the shorelines early and late each day on Newfound Lake, Crab Lake, and South Hegman Lake. Plastics or minnows are producing crappies around the sunken timber over 15 to 25 feet at Johnson Lake, One Pine Lake, and Birch Lake. Small spoons are the ticket for rainbow trout at Glacier Lake, High Lake, and Tofte Lake. Bear hunting reports have been mostly positive.
Arrowhead Outdoors (218) 365-5358
Northern pike are hitting spoons on Upper Dean Lake during the evening hours in 6 to 8 feet. Look for sunfish on Goodrich Lake in 10 feet, and the lily pads on Ruth Lake continue to produce largemouth bass. Look to the north end of Washburn Lake in 12 to 15 feet for crappies. Goose and bear hunters are both experiencing very good success throughout the area.
Redding Sports and Spirits
Bluegills and yellow bass remain active in 4 to 8 feet at Budd Lake, Hall Lake, and Sisseton Lake. The deep holes on the Blue Earth River are producing a few walleyes on jigs and plastics. Select fields are producing decent shoots for goose hunters, but bird numbers don’t seem as large as expected.
Sommer Outdoors (507) 235-5225
FERGUS FALLS AREA
Walleyes are hitting minnows or crankbaits in 10 to 15 feet at Ten Mile Lake and Eagle Lake. Look for crappies at Orwell Reservoir in 10 to 12 feet or Long Lake by Dalton in 12 to 15 feet and sunfish remain active on the 10- to 12-foot weedlines of most lakes. Bucktails are producing muskies on Pelican Lake in 10 to 15 feet, while bass fishing remains strong on the weedlines of most lakes. Goose hunters are reporting good bird numbers with many limits shot if you got on the right field.
Little Chief Outpost
GRAND RAPIDS/DEER RIVER AREA
Little Ball Club Lake is kicking out crappies and bluegills in 12 to 15 feet, while Little Cutfoot Sioux Lake is giving up crappies in similar depths. Work the weedlines with a jig and minnow for walleyes on Bowstring Lake and Jessie Lake. The majority of goose and bear hunters have found quite a bit of success in this area and have offered favorable reports.
Fred’s Live Bait (218) 246-8710
GREY EAGLE AREA
Overall, the local bite has been slower this week than last. An occasional walleye gets caught on Big Birch Lake in 25 feet or more, but nothing consistent to report. The same is true with the panfish action with lakes such as King’s, Moose, Mound, and Swan kicking out just a few sunfish and crappies.
Nancy’s Bait & Tackle (320) 285-2405
Walleyes are hitting minnows on Woman Lake and Pine Mountain Lake in 15 to 20 feet. Look for crappies to hit plastics or minnows on the 8- to 12-foot weed edges of Birch Lake, Webb Lake, and Little Webb Lake. Smallmouth bass are being taken with swim baits or plastics on Stoney Lake, Ten Mile Lake, and Baby Lake in 5 to 15 feet. Topwater baits are triggering muskies along the reed beds of Wabedo Lake and Little Boy Lake. Bear hunting success has been very high, and goose hunting has been better just west of the immediate area.
Swanson’s Bait and Tackle
The most consistent walleye and smallmouth bass action has come off the weedlines on a jig tipped with a leech, crawler, or minnow. Follow the wind and work those areas thoroughly. Walleyes have been hit or miss on the reefs, so work the weed edges for better numbers of fish. With water temperatures quickly dropping, bass will begin to move away from the weeds and shorelines and out to the reefs. Larger northern pike are being found suspended over deeper water and hitting crankbaits. Bear hunters and guides both report excellent bear activity and a high success rate.
Gateway Store (218) 875-2121
River and stream conditions remain excellent and the trout continue to be aggressive. Most patterns are working, anglers are catching plenty of trout, and they all seem to be fishing with something different. Dry flies, streamers, nymphing and small crankbaits or spinners are all producing fish this week.
Root River Rod Company
Look for sunfish in 5 to 6 feet and a few crappies in 6 to 8 feet on Knife Lake, Ann Lake, and Fish Lake. Bear hunting success and reports have been very good, but goose hunters aren’t finding as many birds as expected.
Jerry’s Sport & Bait Shop
Perch and bluegills continue to be caught in the Hartford Beach and Rocky Ledge areas of Big Stone Lake in 12 to 14 feet. Walleyes are just starting to go a bit more on crankbaits on the north end, south end islands area, and middle stretch of Big Stone in 10 to 12 feet. Goose hunting reports have been mixed, but the right field did produce numbers of birds.
Artie’s Bait (320) 839-2480
PARK RAPIDS AREA
Walleyes are hitting minnows on the 15- to 20-foot weedlines and structure on Fish Hook Lake and Long Lake. The mid-depth weedlines are holding muskies on Big Mantrap Lake and Many Point Lake – bucktails or rubber baits have been producing. Hit the Crow Wing Chain, Fish Hook, and Boulder Lake for panfish in 10 to 15 feet. Goose and bear hunting seasons are off to good starts.
Delaney’s (218) 732-4281
Smokey Hills Outdoors
Work the 8- to 12-foot weeds for bluegills and crappies on Rush Lake, Star Lake, and Little Pine Lake. Walleyes continue to be caught with Jiggin’ Raps or minnows in 12 to 15 feet or 15 to 22 feet on Big Pine Lake, Rush, and Little Pine. Goose hunting reports have varied, but groups that had the best fields seem to find good numbers of geese.
Gene’s Sport Shop (218) 346-3355
RED WING AREA
A live-bait rig and crawler continues to work best for walleyes on Lake Pepin in 16 to 20 feet. Better areas this week include Lake City, Head of the Lake, and Maiden Rock. Sturgeon and some bigger flathead catfish are being caught below the dam on the Mississippi River.
Four Seasons Sports (651) 388-4334
RICHMOND/ST. CLOUD AREA
Sunfish and some crappies are being caught in 10 to 15 feet on Becker Lake, Rice Lake, Horseshoe Lake, Cedar Island Lake, and Schneider Lake. Hit Lake Koronis with a jig and minnow for walleyes in 15 to 20 feet and channel catfish are an easy catch throughout the Horseshoe Chain of Lakes. Goose hunting was OK, with certain fields did producing.
Channel Marine and Sports
SAUK CENTRE AREA
Sunfish continue to be found on Lake Osakis from about mid-lake to the north end in 8 to 16 feet. Sunfish also can be had on the mid-depth weedlines of Fairy Lake, Lily Lake, Grove Lake, and Little Birch Lake. Walleyes are being taken with brassy shiners, chubs, and spot-tailed shiners in 8 to 14 feet on Sauk Lake. Goose hunting reports have been very good from most groups and there seems to be plenty of birds in the area.
Fletcher’s Bait Shop (320) 352-2155
STAPLES/LITTLE FALLS AREA
Walleye action has picked up on Lake Alexander at night with slip bobbers and minnows in 14 to 18 feet or during the day below Blanchard Dam on the Mississippi River. Look for sunfish along the shallow weeds on Beauty Lake and muskie reports have improved with rubber baits on the weed edges of Alexander.
Da Fishin’ Hole (320) 631-0056
A few walleyes are being caught at night with crankbaits along the 8- to 12-foot bulrush edges on Lake Minnewaska. Look for sunfish towards the high school in 8 to 12 feet on Minnewaska as well. There seems to be quite a few geese in the area, but hunter participation has been limited.
Minnewaska Bait and Tackle
A few walleyes continue to be caught with minnows or crankbaits on Lake Shetek and Lake Sarah, but angler numbers have really dropped off. Most people seem to be more interested in hunting with the start of the early goose and dove seasons. Overall, dove hunter success has been better than goose hunters, even though there seems to be a decent number of geese around.
Borch’s Sporting Goods