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Minnesota Outdoor News Fishing Report – May 18, 2021

Report from the Dock

With bright, warm, and calm conditions, it wasn’t exactly ideal walleye-catching weather for Saturday’s fishing opener. While the number of people on the water was noticeably high, the number of walleyes boated wasn’t in most areas. Most lakes also remain extremely clear so that played a role in the lack of success. Some much needed rain would help stir up the lakes and that might get walleyes more active, but early this week, they were spread out and tough to make bite in many locations. The best reports came from water less than 15 feet deep on minnows or leeches, but some walleyes were found deep as well. Crappies saved opening weekend for many groups as they made a serious push into shallow water areas such as bulrushes, sucken wood, docks and shoreline spots. The crappie spawn has started in some parts of the state, just about to start in others, and even wrapping up in some southern lakes. Look for sunfish to move into their spawning areas as well since water temperatures will spike this week.

Great Eight


East – It’s been a strong start to the walleye season with good reports throughout the lake on a jig and minnow or slip bobber and leech. There’s been a wide range of sizes caught during the day in 18 feet of water or deeper and during the evening hours on the rocks and shorelines. Smallmouth bass are pre-spawn, spawning, or post-spawn and have been active on the rock points and reefs.

Johnson’s Portside (320) 676-3811

West – Walleyes seemed to have been biting just about everywhere this past week according to most reports. A jig and shiner minnow along the shorelines, slip bobbers and leeches on the points and reefs, trolling crankbaits during the evening hours on the shoreline breaks, or rigging on the flats have all been producing fish. Work the reefs, north end sand, mud flats, and points and you shouldn’t have trouble finding walleyes. There’s been some smallmouth bass in the mix along the rock points and shallower reefs as well.

Terry’s Boat Harbor (320) 692-4430


The go-to bait for walleyes and saugers is a jig and frozen shiner vertically worked in 14 to 20 feet of water. Some groups were catching limits and most were finding enough walleyes to put together a fish fry. Some anglers report slow-trolling crankbaits has been the ticket as well. On the Rainy River, some nice walleyes have been caught between the fish left over from the spawn and the fish making the Rainy River their home, but good numbers of fish continue to be boated. At the Northwest Angle, many anglers commented that they caught walleyes in the morning everywhere they stopped to fish with jigs and minnows. 

Lake of the Woods Tourism Bureau
    (800) 382-FISH


Walleyes are hitting minnows at night along the shorelines, out to 10 feet on Lake Minnetonka – anglers are fishing from boats and from shore. Crappies, sunfish, northern pike, and largemouth bass are all being caught in less than 6 feet on Minnetonka as well. 

Wayzata Bait (952) 473-2227


Walleyes are being caught in 6 to 8 feet with Lindy Rigs and minnows or shallow-running crankbaits in Pike Bay. Walleyes also are coming out of 25 to 30 feet on the reef edges in Big Bay, around Ely Island, Raspberry Island, the Mud Creek area, and mouth of Cable Bay. Northern pike and smallmouth bass reports have been light, while Black Bay and Greenwood Bay are worth hitting for crappies. 

Pike Bay Lodge (218) 753-2430


A jig and shiner minnow is producing walleyes on the flats, points, and shoreline breaks throughout the lake in 9 to 12 feet. If it’s calm, don’t be afraid to work slightly deeper water. There’s a couple strong year classes of walleyes coming up that remain a bit short, so it’s worth mentioning to toss them back. There’s been some nice perch in the mix, with most bigger fish coming out of 10 to 14 feet. 

Lake Winnie Resort Association                   


It hasn’t been the best start to the walleye season, although calm and bright conditions likely played a part in that. Hit the points and shoreline breaks in 8 to 12 feet with a jig and minnow, any deep weed you can find, and mid-depth rocks early and late or when the wind is blowing. There are some quality perch showing up with the walleyes and crappies have started hitting in most bays over 6 to 10 feet. 

Reed’s Sporting Goods (218) 547-1505

Shriver’s Bait Company

(218) 547-2250


Water temperatures were 62 degrees in the back bays and the mid 50 degree range on the main lake Tuesday morning. Male crappies are starting to show up in nesting areas and walleyes are heating up nicely on shallow, wind blown rocks. Smallmouth bass are hitting tubes and stick baits on shallow scattered boulder, while bigger northern pike are aggressively feeding in emerging bull rushes and old cabbage. The walleye bite will continue to get stronger as water temperatures increase and water level remains low and would benefit from a good rain.

RainyDaze Guide Service

(218) 290-6102


Walleye reports have been mixed and somewhat slow to start the season, but the clear, calm weather last weekend and early this week probably didn’t help. The walleyes being caught are hitting shiner minnows or crankbaits on the east and south shores in 3 to 6 feet. Expect the bite to be best when there’s a wind or early and late in the day.

West Wind Resort (218) 647-8998

Twin Cities Metro


The Prescott and Hudson areas on the St. Croix River are producing walleyes on fathead minnows or leeches. Bass and pike are being found in shallow water on most lakes, but panfish reports have been limited.

Blue Ribbon Bait & Tackle

(651) 777-2421


A few walleyes are coming off Lotus Lake and west side of Riley Lake in 7 feet with crankbaits during low-light periods. Hit the deep holes or creek mouths on the Minnesota River with a jig and leech for walleyes. The fishing piers on Steiger Lake and Lake Ann are producing some pike and bass, but most have been small. Look for crappies on Lake Parley and Wasserman Lake in 4 feet and sunfish in slightly deeper water.

Cabin Fever Sports (952) 443-2022


A few walleyes are being caught at night in shallow water with crankbaits, minnows, or slip bobbers and leeches off Harm’s Point, the Claybanks, swimming beach, and carp trap areas. Crappies remain active in shallow water in Wagener’s Bay, Waconia Bay and several reef tops. Bass and pike action has been limited and the majority of fish have run on the small side.

Mases In Towne Marina

(952) 442-2096



It’s been a tough start to the walleye season with a few fish being caught at night on Reno Lake in 12 to 16 feet with minnows. Sunfish and crappies have moved shallow on Lake Geneva, Reno, Lake Ida, and Lake Mary – work the reeds and bays. Largemouth bass are being caught around docks and along the shorelines of most lakes.

Christopherson’s Bait and Tackle

(320) 763-3255


Walleye reports have been light, with a few being caught on minnows at Clearwater Lake in 20 to 25 feet and Buffalo Lake in 12 to 15 feet. Crappies are really active in 2 to 5 feet on Lake Sylvia, Lake Francis, Pleasant Lake, Sugar Lake, Clearwater, and Maple Lake. Northern pike are hitting sucker minnows along the 10- to 15-foot weedlines of Lake John, Cedar Lake, Maple, and Clearwater.

Little Jim’s Bait (320) 274-5297


Walleyes are being taken in 6 to 8 feet with jigs and minnows or Lindy Rigs and crawlers in 20 to 25 feet on Otter Tail Lake, Rush Lake, and Walker Lake. Crappies and sunfish are hitting in 6 to 8 feet on Fish Lake and Rush, while bass are hitting spinnerbaits along the shorelines and docks on Elbow Lake and Donald Lake. Sucker minnows are producing pike on the 10- to 15-foot weed edges of Donald and West Battle Lake. 

Ben’s Bait Shop (218) 864-5596


With the nice weather there were plenty of folks out on opening weekend. Some anglers did well on walleyes, while others not so much, but that is typical for opening weekend. Jigs and fatheads or shiners were the ticket for walleyes and pike. Some fish are being caught along shallow shoreline areas, while others were in 12 to 14 feet on mid-lake humps. Look to Lake Bemidji, Lake Irving, and Lake Plantagenet for walleye and pike. Crappies and bluegills have finally moved into the shallows on most lakes. 

Dick Beardsley Guide Service

(218) 556-7172


Blackduck Lake and Island Lake are kicking out walleyes during the morning and evenings in 6 to 10 feet. A jig and minnow has been best, but leeches are also turning fish. Crappies are starting to move shallow, into the reeds and shorelines on Gilstead Lake and Rabideau Lake.

Timberline Sports and Tackle

(218) 835-4636


Walleye action has been tough, anglers are seeing fish on the electronics, but getting them to bite has been difficult. The fish being caught are hitting minnows in 3 to 10 feet on Gull Lake, North Long Lake, and Pelican Lake. Crappies are being caught in shallow water on the south end and north end channels on Gull, Round Lake, Pelican, and North Long. Bass reports have been strong along the shorelines of most lakes and sunfish are going on Lake Margaret, Nisswa Lake, and Round in less than 6 feet.

S & W Bait & Guide Service/

Nisswa Guide League  (218) 829-7010


A jig and shiner minnow is producing walleyes early and late each day on Lake Andrusia, Pike Bay Lake, north end of Cass Lake, and humps in Kitchi Lake over 6 to 8 feet. Perch are being caught during the day in the bulrushes on Cass and Pike Bay. Crappie reports have been slow, but some bluegills are being taken along the shorelines of Buck Lake. 

Sunset Cove Resort (800) 279-4831              


Minnows or crawlers are producing a few walleyes in 10 to 15 feet on Green Lake and Chisago Lake. Crappies, sunfish, and bass remain active in shallow water at Chisago, South Lindstrom Lake, North Lindstrom Lake, North Center Lake, and South Center Lake. Look for pike along the mid-depth weedlines of most lakes as well.

Frankie’s Bait (651) 257-6334


A few walleyes are coming off Rabbit Lake and Serpent Lake, but no big numbers, early and late each day. Slip bobbers with minnows or leeches are working best in 5 to 10 feet. Crappies and sunfish are moving into the reeds and shorelines on Rabbit, Serpent, Bay Lake, Black Hoof Lake, and north end of Clearwater Lake. Bass and northern pike are active on most lakes in the 3- to 8-foot weeds. Trout action has been strong with small spoons or crankbaits on the Pennington Chain and Portsmouth Pit.

Oars ‘n Mine Bait and Tackle

(218) 546-6912


A jig and shiner minnow is turning walleyes in 4 to 7 feet or 16 to 18 feet on Big Detroit Lake and Little Pelican Lake. Crappies and bass have moved shallow on most lakes with Cotton Lake, Lake Melissa, and Lake Sallie producing some of the area’s nicer fish. Look for sunfish to start showing up along the shorelines very soon as well.

Quality Bait and Tackle

(218) 844-2248


A jig and minnow is producing walleyes during the day on Garden Lake, Birch Lake, and Alice Lake in 15 to 20 feet, as are slip bobbers and leeches in less than 10 feet during the evening hours. Northern pike are active on Farm Lake, Disappointment Lake, and Basswood Lake in less than 10 feet, while smallmouth bass are being taken with jerkbaits at Newfound Lake and Snowbank Lake on the muds and rocks in less than 10 feet. Anglers fishing from shore are catching rainbow trout on Judd Lake, Tofte Lake, and High Lake with crawlers or small spoons. Lake trout are being found suspended on Knife Lake, Otter Track Lake, and Thomas Lake and hitting tube jigs or bucktails over deep water.

Arrowhead Outdoors (218) 365-5358


Live-bait rigs and jigs with live bait have been best for walleyes in 6 to 10 feet at Amber Lake and Hall Lake. Bluegills, crappies, and yellow bass are hitting in 8 to 10 feet during the day and shallower each evening on Budd Lake, Lake Sisseton, and George Lake. There’s also some evening crappie action on Big Twin Lake in shallow water. Look to George and Lura Lake for largemouth bass.

Sommer Outdoors (507) 235-5225


The 10- to 15-foot weed edges on Lake Mazaska and Shields Lake are producing walleyes on crankbaits and spinner rigs with leeches or nightcrawlers. Sunfish and some crappies are going on most lakes in shallow water. Work the docks and shorelines and you should find plenty of panfish.

John’s Bait & Tackle (507) 332-6787

Lake Country Convenience & Bait

(507) 334-9711


A few walleyes are coming off Stalker Lake, Ten Mile Lake, and Deer Lake with a jig and minnow in 3 to 10 feet. Crappie action has been strong in shallow water at Anna Lake, Swan Lake, Long Lake, and Stalker. Bluegills and bass are being caught along the docks and shorelines of most lakes.

Little Chief Outpost

(218) 998-5050


Walleye reports have been best off Bowstring Lake, Round Lake, and Big Cutfoot Sioux Lake in 6 to 15 feet with a jig and shiner minnow. Crappie action has picked up in the pencil reeds on Big Cutfoot Sioux or Big Splithand Lake and in Tioga Bay on Lake Pokegama. Numbers of small pike are an easy catch on most lakes and look for bluegills to start moving shallow as well.

Fred’s Live Bait (218) 246-8710


Walleye action has started slow throughout the area – anglers just aren’t catching fish locally. Crappies have bit well with strong reports coming off most lakes including Two Rivers, Mound, Pine, Big Birch, and Swan over 4 to 7 feet. Look for sunfish to start moving shallow this week as well.

Nancy’s Bait & Tackle (320) 285-2405


A jig and minnow is producing walleyes on Baby Lake and Pine Mountain Lake in 15 to 20 feet during the day and up shallower during low-light periods. Crappies have moved shallow on Webb Lake, Stoney Lake, Birch Lake, and Ten Mile Lake and are most active during the afternoon or evening hours. Look for largemouth and smallmouth bass in less than 10 feet on most lakes and bluegills should start moving shallow as well.

Swanson’s Bait and Tackle

(218) 675-6176


The walleye bite has been tough so far, but anglers that are constantly on the move are finding scattered fish from 6 to 40 feet over sand and mud. Dock fishing is marginal at best but did pick up early this week. Long-lining a 1/16-ounce jig tipped with a minnow seemed to be the ticket. Similar to last year, the huge amount of forage is making for a tough bite, but persistence will pay off if you are willing to move and change presentations until you find something that works. Northern pike are very active and easy targets off the docks, but smallmouth action is slow to develop.

Gateway Store (218) 875-2121


Area streams are fishable, but running low and clear. Strong caddis hatches continue and floating Rapalas seem to be working best. The fish are spooky in the small streams due to clear water, so reports have been best on the medium to bigger streams and tributaries off the Root River.

Root River Rod Company

(507) 467-2101


Walleyes are most active early or late in the day and hitting shiner minnows on Little Boy Lake in less than 8 feet or the rock piles on Woman Lake in 4 to 8 feet. The 8- to 12-foot weeds on Big Boy Lake are producing walleyes during the evening hours. Crappie action has picked up in the reeds or bays on Girl Lake, Woman, and Lake Inguadona in 4 to 7 feet. Bass are active in shallow water and look for bluegills to move shallow on most lakes as well.

The One Stop (218) 363-2252


Crappies and sunfish are being found in 3 to 8 feet on Madison Lake, Baker’s Bay on Lake Washington, Big Jefferson Lake, and West Jefferson Lake. Washington and Madison are kicking out northern pike, bass are active in shallow water on most lakes, but walleye action has been slow.

Corner Bait (507) 243-4464


Minnows and small jigs are turning walleyes on Fish Lake, Knife Lake, and Ann Lake in 4 to 6 feet early and late each day. Sunfish are being found in less than 6 feet on Knife, Ann, Fish, and Quamba Lake, while crappie action has slowed.

Jerry’s Sport & Bait Shop 

(320) 679-2151


Big Stone Lake started giving up better numbers of walleyes by trolling crankbaits or spinner rigs with crawlers and leeches over the 10- to 12-foot weeds. During the evening hours, jigs and minnows are turning walleyes on the shallow rocks. Look for crappies and a few perch on the shallow rocks as well.

Artie’s Bait (320) 839-2480


Shiner minnows and leeches are producing walleyes in less than 6 feet during low-light periods or 12 to 18 feet midday on Fish Hook Lake, Toad Lake, and the Crow Wing Chain. Crappies, bluegills, and largemouth bass remain active in the reeds of most lakes with some better reports coming off the Crow Wing Chain, Boulder Lake, and Long Lake.

Delaney’s (218) 732-4281

Smokey Hills Outdoors 

(218) 237-5099


A jig and minnow or Lindy Rig and minnow worked in 6 to 12 feet is turning walleyes on Big Pine Lake, Little Pine Lake, and Rush Lake. Crappies are active in the bulrushes of most lakes including Rush, Big Pine, Star, Dead, Big McDonald, and Little McDonald. Bass action is consistently good on Star, Dead, and Lake Marion in 3 to 6 feet and look for bluegills to start moving shallow as well.

Gene’s Sport Shop (218) 346-3355


Crankbaits or live-bait rigs are producing walleyes at the Head of the Lakes and points on Lake Pepin in 14 to 18 feet. The marinas and bays are holding crappies, while largemouth and smallmouth bass are active in shallow water throughout Pepin. The deep current seams on the Mississippi River are kicking out channel and flathead catfish.

Four Seasons Sports (651) 388-4334


The walleye season has started slow, with very few fish being caught throughout the area, and those that are biting have been small. Crappie action is going strong along the shorelines, in the bulrushes, or around the docks on Pearl Lake, Grand Lake, Eden Lake, Horseshoe Lake, Lake Koronis, Rice Lake, and Long Lake.

Channel Marine and Sports

(320) 597-5975


Sauk Lake is producing walleyes in 3 to 6 feet on a slow-presented Lindy Rig and brassy shiner minnow. Shiner minnows also are turning walleyes in 28 to 35 feet on Lake Osakis, Long Bridge Lake in 14 feet, and by the inlet on Guernsey Lake early and late each day. Northern pike are hitting minnows in 8 to 16 feet and sunfish have moved shallow on most lakes, but crappie reports have been limited.

Fletcher’s Bait Shop (320) 352-2155


Crawlers or minnows are producing walleyes below the Little Falls and Blanchard dams on the Mississippi River. Walleye action on area lakes has been slow, but crappies have moved shallow and starting hitting on Bass Lake, Thunder Lake, Coal Lake, Beauty Lake, Lake Alexander, and Fish Trap Lake.

Da Fishin’ Hole (320) 631-0056


The walleyes being caught are hitting best during low-light periods on minnows in less than 10 feet on Lake Pomme de Terre, 4 to 6 feet on Lake Emily, and 15 feet or deeper on Lake Minnewaska. Hit the Starbuck Marina for sunfish and Fish Hatchery Bay for crappies on Lake Minnewaska. A few crappies also can be had on Emily in 3 to 5 feet.

Minnewaska Bait and Tackle

(320) 239-2239


Walleye action has been slow, but a few are coming off Norway Lake and George Lake in 12 feet with fathead minnows. Crappies are being found in less than 6 feet on Long Lake, Henderson Lake, Foot Lake, and Dogfish Bay on Diamond Lake. Ringo Lake is producing crappies and walleyes on minnows in 7 to 10 feet. Hit Nest Lake and Elkhorn Lake for sunfish or Green Lake and Eagle Lake for bass in less than 8 feet.

J&J Hwy. 71 Bait and Tackle 

(320) 235-4097


The shorelines and points on Lake Shetek, Lake Sarah, and Lake Benton are producing walleyes on leeches, minnows, crankbaits, and plastics. Lake Lac qui Parle, East Twin Lake, Wood Lake, Rock Lake, and Dead Coon Lake also are giving up walleyes in less than 8 feet. The Redwood River in Camden State Park continues to produce numbers of rainbow and brown trout. Hit the shorelines on Sarah or Benton for perch, while Shetek, Wood, and Bloody Lake are producing crappies in less than 6 feet. The deep holes on the Yellow Medicine River and Redwood River are kicking out channel catfish.

Borch’s Sporting Goods 

(507) 532-4880

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