DNR Offers Four Multicultural, Family Fishing Events on Mississippi River

Original news release by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources: http://news.dnr.state.mn.us/2019/07/25/dnr-offering-four-multicultural-family-fishing-events-on-mississippi-river/

Anyone who wants to try fishing is invited to multicultural, family fishing events happening at four locations in four days along the Mississippi River from Coon Rapids to Hastings, where people can get a chance to fish for many types of fish at close-to-home locations. 

Angler fishing on the Mississippi River.

“These events are a way to get people excited about fishing, especially from communities traditionally underrepresented in our angling public,” said Ray Ruiz, Department of Natural Resources fishing and hunting skills liaison. “I see a lot of people fishing the river, and if you think about it, the river connects everybody – from Coon Rapids to Hastings, they all share the same water.”

The events will include fun, interactive and practical fishing methods and techniques and are geared toward anyone who doesn’t much have experience with fishing, lacks fishing equipment or wants to learn how to fish on the river’s edge. Attendees will learn how to tie fishing knots, practice casting, making baits, and fishing, with fishing gear and bait provided. People can attend one or more of the four days of events, scheduled as follows:

  • Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park in Coon Rapids, 4-8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15
  • Boom Island Park in Minneapolis, 4-8 p.m. Friday Aug. 16
  • Hidden Falls Regional Park in St. Paul, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 17
  • Lake Rebecca Park in Hastings, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 18.

The events will let people try river fishing, which can be different from lake fishing because of the moving water and the variety of fish to catch. Each location includes playgrounds, places to grill and amenities near the river. Ruiz also plans to go over fishing techniques and how to fish for different species of fish – from smallmouth bass to panfish to catfish.

“The river flows through our major metro area and it’s a tremendous resource for anyone who wants to give fishing a try,” Ruiz said. “We’re bringing fishing to the people, all you have to do is show up.”

The fishing events are possible through participation of the city of Hastings, city of Minneapolis, National Park Service, city of St. Paul and Three Rivers Park District.

Potential anglers who want to learn how to fish can visit the DNR website at mndnr.gov/GoFishing. The page covers fishing basics, where to fish, how to catch different types of fish, fishing programs to join, and the importance of fishing ethics and being stewards of Minnesota’s natural resources.

On the North Shore, many hands work to help a dying forest

Credit to Cody Nelson of MPR News for the original article: https://www.mprnews.org/story/2019/07/25/north-shore-forest-restoration-white-pine

From bugs to invasive species to hotter temps, a host of factors are laying waste to Minnesota’s northeastern forests.

Emily Krulc, center, and her Minnesota Conservation Corps crew take a lunch break.

Emily Krulc, center, and her Minnesota Conservation Corps crew take a lunch break while planting white pine seedlings in the Moose Creek area near Schroeder, Minn., on June 24.
Evan Frost | MPR News

Northern Minnesota once boasted stands of massive white and red pine — giants that lived up to 350 years, with trunks 4 or 5 feet in diameter.

When they were logged out, trees with shorter life spans, like birch, took their place. Now, those trees are dying off.

What’s the answer? For now, it’s plant more trees.

“There’s so much destruction,” said Emily Krulc as she and her Minnesota Conservation Corps team planted white pine seedlings on a recent, wet day in Minnesota’s Arrowhead region. “How can we find a balance between our needs, human needs, and also still caring for the lands that essentially [are] going to be what sustains us?”

White gloves hold a tiny pine tree.

A Minnesota Conservation Corps member loosens the dirt from a white pine seedling before planting it in the Moose Creek watershed near Schroeder.
Evan Frost | MPR News

Efforts to restore Minnesota’s iconic forests face numerous obstacles — from invasive species competing for space to deer eating tree seedlings before they get a chance to grow. But they’re crucial to the Arrowhead region’s ability to continue providing environmental and economic benefits for decades to come.

Planting is the painstaking, unheralded work that will give the forests a chance.

‘We have to get out there and make it happen’

Krulc and her team descended on a football field-sized patch of forestland west of Schroeder, Minn., to plant 350 tree seedlings — mostly white pine — one morning last month.

Using planter bars and chainsaws to clear out any undesired growth, they planted a tree every 10 to 12 feet. Figuring out exactly where to plant a tree is something of a guessing game.

“Humans don’t always know where trees want to go,” Krulc said, “so we’re kind of doing our best to guess you know where these white pines might like to grow and getting them in the ground.”

Sometimes it works best to plant a baby tree among fallen branches lying on the ground, she said. Other times, trees just go where the soil is soft enough to get them in the ground.

When the seedlings get a little older, workers plan to install fencing around the tree or attach bud caps, paper stapled over the top of the tree. These measures protect the young trees from hungry deer.

The Conservation Corps crew was working on land owned by the Rajala Woods Foundation, a nonprofit established by the electrical utility Minnesota Power.

A creek and a foggy forest in the background.

Water flows down Moose Creek near Schroeder. Twelve-hundred acres along Moose Creek are owned by the Rajala Woods Foundation.
Evan Frost | MPR News

This 1,200-acre plot sits along Moose Creek, about a 30-minute drive inland from Lake Superior. The landscape is a thick, relatively young forest. Utility towers stand out above the trees, slinging wires above the trees.

“If you look around, you’re challenged to see any white pine or red pine or jack pine,” said Kurt Anderson, the foundation’s chair.

Anderson’s job is to change that. Rajala Woods is in the early stages of a project to plant 3 million white pine and other trees with long lifespans in forests in central and northeastern Minnesota.

A blonde man with a bear and a hat looks right out of frame.

Kurt Anderson of the Rajala Woods Foundation, left, watches a trout feed in Moose Creek.
Evan Frost | MPR News

Its namesake, Jack Rajala, was a white pine advocate who planted some 3 million trees in his own lifetime. He also made his living from the timber industry that was responsible for cutting most of the trees in the first place.

Logging of the huge white pine began in Minnesota in the mid-19th century.

Many white and red pine were harvested and sent to market in the following decades. “At that time the forest supply of these long-lived tree species seemed inexhaustible. And that obviously wasn’t the case,” Anderson said.

Some major wildfires and droughts took a toll on the woods, too.

As the forest grew back, it was different. Birch and other trees with shorter life spans, like aspen and balsam fir, became abundant. Long-lived pines, more scarce.

Anderson said people realized white pine preservation and restoration needed attention as early as the 1920s. But early efforts to restore white pine backfired.

“White pine was brought over to Europe to grow in some nurseries to bring back over here,” Anderson said, “and during that overseas trip, blister rust was introduced to white pine.”

Blister rust, a fungus that can infect and kill white pine, became a veritable enemy. So did a growing population of whitetail deer, which found an ideal habitat in forests that had been cleared out by logging.

Modern forest restorers have learned from past mistakes. In 1997, Rajala published a guidebook for how he believed restoration should happen.

“If we want to bring [the white pine] back, we have to do far more than wait for it to just happen —we have to get out there and make it happen,” Rajala wrote in “Bringing Back the White Pine.”

A car with a canoe on top drives past a tall tree.

A large white pine stands over Highway 61 on the North Shore on June 25.
Evan Frost | MPR News

Today, Anderson said, the short-lived tree species are reaching the end of their lifespan. That explains the declining birch stands along Lake Superior.

As this continues, he said a worst-case scenario means an unrecognizable forest.

“You end up with a scrubland, a brush scrubland that doesn’t provide a lot of ecological benefit. It doesn’t provide a lot of economic benefit,” Anderson said. “There’s not much timber there to harvest, it doesn’t host a lot of wildlife habitat.”

Some scientists have projected a savanna-like habitat in northeast Minnesota’s Arrowhead region.

Jim Manolis, forest conservation program director at The Nature Conservancy, said a “perfect storm of factors” are leading to this dying forest — from bugs to invasive species to hotter temperatures to the deer.

“Forests along the North Shore are dying,” he said. “I think it’s safe to say there’s hundreds of thousands of acres that are in poor condition and need some help.”

While there’s no measurement on exactly how much forest is dying or at risk, Manolis said, the Nature Conservancy is working on a comprehensive map using lidar and other data sources.

Forest advocates say there’s hope for the white pine, but not without a lot of human intervention.

“We have to be a little smarter as a society about trying to think out not just 50 years in advance,” Anderson said, “but maybe 150 years in advance.”

This forward thinking would prime the forest to withstand climate change and economic changes. It’d also make it a continued haven for nature lovers, and the creatures that keep them coming back.

‘You can feel the age of a forest’

A man is seen standing in water through dense brush.
Shawn Perich prepares to fly fish in a creek off of the Gunflint Trail near Grand Marais, Minn. on June 25.
Evan Frost | MPR News

Shawn Perich caught his first brook trout at age 4 and was instantly hooked on fishing.

When he’s fly-fishing, Perich switches off the outside world.

“There’s really nothing else going on for me except being here in the river and feeling the current wrapping around me as I wade in the stream,” he said, “and just being entirely focused on where I’m placing that fly and whether I can get a fish to strike.”

Perich has fished for trout across North America, he said, but he always finds himself drawn back to the North Shore.

He lives with his dog, Rainy, in Hovland, Minn., and works as a publisher of Northern Wilds magazine.

He caught two brook trout in as many casts one recent morning. Then he pulled in several more of the color-spotted golden fish, releasing each back to the stream.

“They’re so pretty, it’s just hard to keep ‘em,” he said after pulling in a fish.

A fish with a hook in its mouth leaps out of the water.

A brook trout leaps out of the water after biting a fly in a creek down the Gunflint Trail near Grand Marais.
Evan Frost | MPR News

A seasoned angler, Perich knows what makes a good home for brook trout.

For one, they need cool water — he said one brook felt like an “ice cube” once out of the stream. And that cool water comes from shade.

Tall, old trees like the white pine can provide shade for these Lake Superior tributaries their entire length through the forest.

Being in a stand of white pine that could be centuries old feels different, Perich said. And indescribable.

“That’s a hard thing to put into words, really,” he said. “But you can feel the age of a forest. When you walk into a standard white pine you can tell you’re in a special place.”

Tiny scissors cut fishing line off of a fly lure.

Perich ties a fly onto his line while fishing.
Evan Frost | MPR News

Perich recognizes the forest will never return to how it was before Europeans arrived. It’s critical that forest restoration efforts continue to look forward, he said.

Even if current restoration projects succeed, the forest won’t be what it used to be. But, planners hope, it’ll be a diverse, healthy forest that’s more resistant to climate change and one that resembles the nature Minnesotans cherish.

“The land was here before us, the land will probably be here after us. And we have to work with nature,” Perich said. “And nature itself really hasn’t changed that much over that period of time.

“And if we can continue to perpetuate what’s here, what’s supposed to be here, I don’t know if there’s anything better we can do.”

 

 

Minnesota Weekly Fishing Update

Credit to Explore Minnesota for the newsletter.

Fishing at sunset on Leech Lake  
 

Most species continue to bite despite recent above-normal temperatures. Bass and muskie action has kicked into high gear. The crappies are schooling and eager to bite. Walleye anglers are still taking nice numbers of fish.

The forecast for most of the state this weekend calls for mostly sunny skies with highs in the 70s — ideal for a fishing outing!

For rules, regulations and other helpful information on fishing in Minnesota, consult the DNR’s Fish Minnesota web page.

 

[Northeast] [Northwest] [Central] [Minneapolis-St. Paul Area] [Southern]

Northeast Minnesota

International Falls – Rainy Lake

Walleye remain in a transition phase on Rainy Lake. They are beginning to show up on the main lake reef tops, breaklines and deeper points. Most of this activity is in 12 to 24 foot depths. Walleyes at the reefs are generally holding on the top or near the top of the structure. Jigs, lindy rigs and slip bobbers with a leech have been turning lots of fish. Many walleye remain shallow and continue to be caught in and around weedlines. Traditional spinner rigs with a crawler or minnow continue to be effective. More walleye will show up on the main lake structure in the coming weeks or even days.

While most smallmouth bass are done nesting, many remain shallow in 2 to 5 feet of water. Others are further along in the transition, holding in and around the deeper boulders in 5 to 10 feet of water. As always, weed growth and wind make good rock structure better.

​Some crappies continue to be caught on small jigs and slip bobbers in 4 to 6 feet of water. The weeds or a combination of rock structure and weeds are generally best. Other crappies are beginning to school up on the breaklines, points and sunken brush piles.

Like walleye, northern pike are transitioning out to the main lake structure, showing up at the deeper points and reef tops in 12 to 25 foot depths. Walleye anglers report that it is not uncommon for a pike to attack walleye as they are being reeled in. Other pike are still being caught when casting the weed structure, shorelines and points with spoons, spinner baits and larger stick baits. 800-325-5766; www.rainylake.org

Kabetogama

The sun is out and water is warm!  Blueberries and raspberries are starting to ripen. If you search the lake islands, you will find them first. The first major mayfly hatch is over on Lake Kabetogama so fishing should take a turn for the better. The next challenge is the abundance of forage as this year’s minnows are abundant. Water temperatures have risen into the high 70s which will send fish deeper on calm, sunny days.

Last week, 8 to 14 foot depths gave up lots of nice walleye, with live bait rigs and leeches and spinners with half of a crawler producing best. On days with wind and during low light hours, these tactics should continue to be productive. On sunny, calm days, check 20 to 30 feet of water using rigs and leeches. Walleye fishing has also been great at the windblown shorelines and muddy bottom weedlines. Anglers pulling bottom bouncers with a spinner and crawler are having lots of success. On bright days, use orange or chartreuse; on cloudy days, whites and pinks work better. The shallow weedlines on Lake Namakan are beginning to produce as well. Northern pike have been aggressive, responding to large, soft plastics and spinnerbaits worked at the rock piles and rocky shorelines. 800-524-9085; www.kabetogama.com

Ely Area Lakes and Rivers

The walleye bite remains fairly consistent throughout the area. Most of the walleye are coming from 6 to 8 feet of water at the weed beds and windy shorelines. A jig tipped with a leech or half a crawler has been best. Shallow-diving crank baits are also worth trying. A few large walleye are being pulled from the sunken islands on spinner rigs tipped with a leech or crawler, as well as on a jig and leech worked in 12 to 15 feet of water. Blue, pink and gold remain the best colors.

Smallmouth bass fishing remains excellent as fish begin to stage on the edge of the first break. Anglers should continue to work the shoreline, fishing a bit deeper in roughly 10 feet of water for the bigger bass. Topwater fishing remains good early in the morning, but anglers will want to switch to spinner baits, jerk baits or senko rigs as the sun rises. Pink, white and chartreuse remain the top colors. Anglers are having to fight off the northern pike at times.
Crappies remain shallow in the weed beds. Anglers casting a simple jig and twister, close to thick stands of weeds, are catching lots of nice fish. During evening hours, crappies are hitting crappie minnows under a bobber, small crank baits, and jigs and twisters out on the weed edges. White, yellow and pink colors have been working best.

Lake trout fishing has been good, with anglers taking fish on flashy spoons and down riggers trolled through 40 to 80 feet of water. Stick baits trolled with 3 to 4 colors of lead core line out have also produced lake trout.

Northern pike remain very active, but most have been on the smaller side.  Spinnerbaits, buzz baits and suspended jerk baits fished in and around the weed beds have accounted for the majority of pike. Many large pike are now coming from the deep reefs where they are accidentally being caught by walleye anglers. Anglers targeting these fish are having luck with large minnow baits fished right on top of the humps. 800-777-7281; www.ely.org

Grand Rapids Area Lakes

The heat of the summer has kicked in and the muskie bite is heating up! Watch for muskie as they cruise the top of the cabbage weeds. They can also be caught in deeper waters on certain lakes. Many times the pike are suspended, awaiting whitefish and tullibee that may be feeding on bug hatches. The cabbage fish are often the most visible and active. Fast-paced cowgirl buck tails (double bladed) or noisy top water baits can be the key for hot summer muskie fishing. Lakes in the Grand Rapids area to chase muskie include Deer, North Star, Spider and Moose, along with the Mississippi River between the dams. Each of these have great habitat and abundant trophy-sized fish.

Largemouth and smallmouth bass fishing has also been good. Anglers will want to target the outside weedlines for consistent action. For smallmouth bass, use chatter baits and drop shot in areas with a mix of weeds and rocks. For largemouth bass, use swim baits with action tails and plastics over the top of the weeds and around docks. www.visitgrandrapids.com

Northwest Minnesota

Baudette – Lake of the Woods & the Rainy River

It has been an excellent week of summer fishing on the south end of Lake of the Woods. Walleye are responding well to jigging with frozen shiners or leeches. Drifting spinners with crawlers is also working well. The best depths remain 29 to 32 feet of water. The basin is filling with walleye, and crank baits are turning fish.

Anglers are taking a mixed bag of fish from the Rainy River and Four Mile Bay. Spinners and jigs are both working well. Some walleye are coming from the river channel edge of Four Mile Bay. Smallmouth bass are being pulled from the rocky areas, weed beds and bridges.

At the Northwest Angle & Islands Area, a combination of eating-size walleye and slot-sized fish are responding to spinners drifted west of Little Oak. Hammered gold and silver blades remain strong. Some walleye can be found on the structure, while others are holding over the mud. Fishing is still strong for smallmouth bass, large northern pike and muskie. 800-382-FISH; www.lakeofthewoodsmn.com

Walker – Leech Lake

Some days have been good for walleye anglers on Leech Lake, but overall, walleye fishing has been inconsistent now that we’re in the midst of summer. There is still a lot of bait in the water as the yearly bug hatches drag on. Anglers having the most success are trolling crank baits in a perch or crayfish pattern over the 12 to 17 foot flats. Pay attention to your locator and fish the areas where bait is coming up off the bottom. In the evenings, slide up to the shorelines in 7 to 10 feet of water and continue to pull crank baits to catch actively feeding walleye.

Some of the weedlines are still producing some walleye. Pulling spinner rigs tipped with a crawler or leech has been producing walleye, as well as perch, northern pike panfish and bass. Green, yellow and gold spinners or a plain live bait rig are good choices. The cabbage and coon tail weeds in 9 to 15 foot depths are almost certain to produce some sort of action.

Muskie fishing is still a bit slow, but some anglers are starting to turn lookers into biters. Buck tails and jerk baits seem to be the best baits, and the cabbage beds are giving up a few more fish than the rock.

Panfish are being pulled from the cabbage beds on 1/32 ounce jig stipped with a leech, crawler or plastic. Please release the large 9.5 to 10 plus inch fish as they are the prime spawners — the 8 to 9 inches are perfect for a fish fry. 800-833-1118; www.leech-lake.com

Park Rapids

Mid-summer crappie action is in full swing. Crappies can be found schooled in and around the heavy, shallow weed beds in 8 to 12 feet of water. Anglers using 1/16 ounce tube jigs about halfway down along the weed edges or through the weed tops are taking lots of fish. In the middle of the day, these fish can be grouped tight together inside the weeds.

Walleye are being caught on the weed lines and secondary breaks in water ranging from 12 to 25 feet deep. Fast-moving live bait rigs such as a crawler/spinner combination worked along the weed edges will put fish in the boat, along with some really nice bluegills.

Largemouth bass are also schooling on the deep weedlines found on the points or inside turns in depths of 15 to 20 feet. It’s hard to beat a black 7 inch power worm rigged Texas-style. 800-247-0054; www.parkrapids.com

Detroit Lakes

Walleye are holding in 13 to 28 feet of water in Detroit Lakes area lakes. The walleye are shallower on the stained lakes. The clear lakes are giving up walleye at the deeper weed edges. Long bars, extending points and sunken islands are all holding fish. Fish the windswept structure whenever possible. Rigging, jigging, pulling spinners and crank baits, and jigging raps have all turned fish.

Crappies have been roaming the flats in 9 to 13 feet of water, with many relating to the cabbage weeds. Sunfish are active at the weed patches, but some of the bigger bluegill are coming from water as deep as 24 feet off the sharp beaks.

Bass are also relating to the weeds out on the edges of the large flats or extending shoreline points.

Northern pike action remains mostly shallow, but some of the larger pike have come from deeper water off the edges and on the first breaks to deep water and basin areas. Muskie catches have improved over the last week or so with more summerlike temperatures. Fish are active and chasing high-action baits. 800-542-3992; www.visitdetroitlakes.com

Central Region

Otter Tail Area Lakes

Hot summer temperatures have kicked the bass action into high gear!  Lots of presentations, including stick worms on jigs, wacky rigs and swim jigs are turning fish on the deep weed edges on nearly every lake in the county. This is also a great time of year to try some topwater fishing. Frogs fished on top of the slop and in the lily pads will trigger bass.

Even some large bluegills are responding to the topwater lures, but the best way to catch them is by vertically jigging and casting bobbers at the deep weed edges. The points and inside turns at the deep weeds, cabbage and coontail are generally best.

Crappies are heavily related to the cabbage, especially on the main lake humps. Try working tubes over the tops of the cabbage leaves, as well as under deep swim rafts.

The walleye bite seems to be best when the wind blows. Walleye can be found stacked up on the main lake saddles, and at the deep weed edges. Spinner rigs and snells with a half a night crawler fished on a bottom bouncer is a great way to cover water and take your limit. 800-423-4571; www.ottertailcountry.com

Brainerd Area Lakes

Most species are biting in the Brainerd Lakes area! Despite the heat wave, the majority remain fairly shallow.

Walleye can be found in 6 to 20 feet of water on the larger lakes, and in 12 to 25 feet of water on the smaller lakes.  For the most fish, check the green weeds on the points and inside turns. Some fish can also 0be found on the tips of points on the gradual sloping areas.

Panfish remain very active, hitting crawlers and leeches worked in 10-15 feet of water. The largemouth bass are very aggressive in the shallows. Some of the best bites are early in the morning on top water lures.  Northern pike are active and feeding mostly during low light periods at the dense, weed-covered sharp edges. 800-450-7247; www.visitbrainerd.com

Isle/Onamia – Lake Mille Lacs

Late last week, roughly 17 people head out on a night launch on Lake Mille Lacs. The group took lots of large 18 to 20 inch bass, along with roughly 50 walleye. Crayfish-colored lures have been good for the smallmouth. 888-350-2692; www.millelacs.com

Minneapolis-St. Paul Area

Three Rivers Park District – Carver, Hennepin, Ramsey and Scott counties

The Three Rivers Park District offers fishing at 18 parks in the Twin Cities area with a chance to reel in muskie, northern pike, sunfish, bass and walleye. Launch your boat at a lake access site, rent a boat or stay on land as you fish from a pier or on shore. There are also free fishing adventures. Learn more.

Stillwater – St. Croix River

A number of large catfish were pulled from the St. Croix River this week. For most, a 10 pound channel cat is a big cat, and the Mississippi and St. Croix rivers are filled with them. These daytime fish are feeding heavily and they don’t play games when they strike. Fishing for catfish is always fun, especially when the cats are biting like they are right now. 651/351-1717; www.discoverstillwater.com

Southern Minnesota

Lanesboro – Southeast Bluff Country Rivers and Streams

Water temperatures near the springs in the spring fed streams are in the high 50s. The larger streams are in the mid- to upper 60s so it has been really refreshing to wade in the cold water at the end of a hot day.

Some areas did not receive heavy rainfall this week. Streams and rivers roughly 10 miles north and south of I90 had much less rain and not much runoff to spoil the fishing conditions. As always look for the small spring fed streams that don’t get as much runoff and that clear quickly. The North Branch Whitewater and South Branch Root River at Carimona are good examples.

Muddy waters have slowed many hatches but little midges, a few caddis, and an occasional large mayfly are still being seen. The trout fry are growing so larger crank baits and spinners are a more realistic mimic for the large bite items and frogs and toads are dropping into the streams attracting larger fish. The first grasshoppers are also being seen so hopper patterns should be considered as well.

Consider attending the Twin Cities Trout Unlimited Fish Camp at Whitewater State Park, August 2-4. Participants will enjoy fishing, as well as lessons and instruction, camping, children’s activities, snacks and four meals.

For years, the MN DNR has maintained assessable fishing sites in Whitewater State Park, near the Lanesboro Hatchery on Duschee Creek, and at the Lanesboro Park and Dam. Online maps are available.

Check out the DNR’s Stream Flow Report for the most current conditions. Before you go, check out the “Area Highlights” section of the Lanesboro Area Fisheries web page for stream maps. 800-944-2670; www.lanesboro.com

DNR seeks input on managing Mille Lacs fishery

Credit to Kirsti Marohn of MPR News for the article: https://www.mprnews.org/story/2019/07/16/dnr-seeks-input-on-mille-lacs-lake-management

Mille Lacs Lake

The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe is using acoustic telemetry technology to study the walleye population on Lake Mille Lacs. Researchers launched the study from Shah-bush-kung Bay in Vineland, Minn., in July 2018.
Paul Middlestaedt for MPR News 2018

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is gathering public input on its first management plan for Lake Mille Lacs.

About two dozen people gathered at Mille Lacs Kathio State Park Tuesday evening to hear about the lake’s changing fish population and share their opinions about how it should be managed.

DNR fisheries chief Tom Heinrich said the agency’s goal is to get input from anglers, business owners and others with an interest in the lake’s fishery. A draft plan is expected to be complete by this fall or winter.

It will be the first such management plan for Mille Lacs, which is co-managed by eight Ojibwe bands that retain fishing rights on the lake. The DNR has completed similar plans for other large Minnesota lakes.

The DNR sets the amount of fish anglers are permitted to harvest each year, using estimates of the number of fish in the lake. In recent years, anglers on Mille Lacs have faced tighter restrictions on when and whether they’re allowed to keep walleye they catch as the DNR has sought to boost the walleye population.

Heinrich said a management plan should help reduce surprise regulations.

“The types of management actions that we’re going to take on the lake are going to be much more predictable than they’ve been in the past,” he said. “Without any really clear guidance, we don’t really know how people want us to manage things.”

Heinrich said there are several factors behind the lake’s changing fishery. Among them is the fact that water clarity on the lake has improved over the past few decades. It began in the 1990s, likely due to sewage treatment improvements.

It happened again after zebra mussels infested the lake in 2005. Increased clarity is a problem for walleye, because the fish prefer low light and cooler water. But zebra mussels are filter feeders: They clear the water and strain out microscopic algae important to the food web.

Beyond walleye, which Mille Lacs has become known for, Heinrich said the lake’s smallmouth bass population has increased, and northern pike also remain plentiful. But yellow perch numbers are very low.

Heinrich said the management plan won’t just focus on the lake’s signature fish.

“We recognize that walleye are the big player on Mille Lacs Lake and probably always will be,” he said. “But this plan is really designed to give us some guidance in how we manage a variety of fish species.”

A similar community meeting was held last week in Brainerd, Minn. The DNR’s third and final meeting will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Indian Mounds Regional Park pavilion in St. Paul.

People who can’t attend one of the meetings can fill out an online questionnaire on the DNR’s website.

 

Minnesota Scientific and Natural Areas Program Biodiversity

Credit to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for their report: https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/snap/biodiversity.html

Prairie wildflowers at Mound Prairie SNA with wooded bluffland landscape in the background

Determining the best candidates for Natural Area protection is a complex process. Natural area conservation planning focuses on areas of high biodiversity. We use the following tools, concepts and resources to evaluate and manage sites.

The value of biodiversity (the variety of life and its processes)

Minnesota’s biodiversity has evolved over millennia into complex ecosystems. A myriad of species interact with each other and environmental factors such as soils, topography, hydrology and climate within these ecosystems.

Preserving biodiversity has benefits (ecosystem services) such as:

  • Maintaining healthy, stable plant and animal populations
  • Protecting genetic diversity
  • Protecting water and soil resources
  • Filtering pollution and nutrient recycling
  • Contributing to climate stability and carbon storage
  • Recovering from catastrophic events
  • Providing sources for food, medicine and other products
  • Research, education and monitoring
  • Recreation, tourism and inspiration

In areas where biodiversity is threatened, losing species can affect the ecosystem’s ability to function properly and provide these services. Maintaining biodiversity reduces voids and the entire ecosystem maintains a higher degree of resilience.

Conservation planning for natural areas focuses on areas of high biodiversity as well as habitats for rare species.

Resilience as a strategy

Resilience is the capacity of an ecosystem to cope with disturbance. Resilience is critical to reducing climate change and fragmentation from land development. As climate change affects ecosystems they will face increasing vulnerability. An effective strategy at easing these negative impacts is to build resilience into native communities by:

  • Creating large protected areas and corridors to provide pathways for species to migrate to more suitable habitats
  • Preserving a greater variety of habitats for desirable species

The SNA program is using both strategies for resilience to maintain Minnesota’s biodiversity.

Biodiversity significance rankings

Biodiversity significance is a ranking based on the size and condition of native plant communities and how they fit in an ecological landscape. It also includes the presence or absence of rare species populations. The rankings are ‘outstanding’, ‘high’, ‘moderate’ and ‘below’. Ecologists with the Minnesota Biological Survey determine this status. This ranking is used to help prioritize Natural Area protection efforts.

Minnesota’s Ecological Classification System (ECS)

Ecological landscape classifications are used to identify, describe, and map progressively smaller areas of land with increasingly uniform ecological features. Minnesota’s Ecological Classification System (ECS) uses biotic and environmental factors, including climate, geology, topography, soils, hydrology and vegetation.

The largest units of the ECS are provinces and are defined primarily by climate. Minnesota has four provinces. Provinces are divided into 10 sections based on glacial deposits, topography and plant distributions. The 26 subsections of the ECS are further refined by local vegetation, especially trees, among other factors. Individual Scientific and Natural Areas note the subsection in which they are located. Native plant communities are a finer grading of the classification system.

Minnesota’s Native Plant Communities

Local groupings of trees, shrubs, grasses and forbs that interact with each other and their environment are called native plant communities and are characterized by the kinds and quantities of species they contain. They form recognizable units, such as oak savannas, pine forests, cattail marshes and other communities that tend to repeat over space and time.

Plant communities are subject to change. They form in response to climate and nutrients, as well as catastrophic flooding and fires. In the absence of change, they can be fairly stable over time. However they can also develop into something complete new. For example, a beaver dam can cause significant flooding and as a result, over a period of time, a new community will form in the flooded area. Places where native species have been largely replaced are no longer considered native plant communities.

Native plant communities serve as the basis for evaluating Scientific and Natural Area priorities. The Minnesota Biological Survey has identified, surveyed, and prioritized communities and rare species for research and conservation. Minnesota’s Native Plant Community Classification serves as a standard for ecologists to identify and assess communities. Some individual Scientific and Natural Areas have detail maps showing their native plant communities

Minnesota’s Rare Species

Rare species, are defined under Minnesota law as endangered, threatened, or of special concern. The DNR identifies which species are at greatest risk of disappearance. The law restricts harming those species that are designated as endangered or threatened. Natural Areas protect critical habitat for these rare species.

DNR commissioner: Connection to outdoors critical to health, conservation

Credit to Kirsti Marohn at MPR News: https://www.mprnews.org/story/2019/06/18/dnr-commissioner-connection-to-outdoors-critical-to-health-conservation

Bucks such as this wide-racked whitetail will be the target of deer hunters across the Minnesota on Saturday, Nov. 4, when the state’s firearms deer season opens. (Photo/ Minnesota Department of Natural Resources)

The commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources told a group of lake advocates on Tuesday that it’s her personal mission to connect more people with the outdoors.

Sarah Strommen spoke at the “Water Connects Us All” conference in Walker, Minn., organized by the nonprofit Minnesota Lakes and Rivers Advocates. The two-day conference focused on challenges facing the state’s natural resources, including climate change, aquatic invasive species and threats to water quality, as well as possible solutions.

Strommen highlighted Minnesota’s changing demographics, noting that the state’s population is getting older, more urban and diverse. But she said youth and families aren’t using state parks and other recreation facilities as much because of a lack of time or experience, concerns about safety or language barriers.

Strommen said people’s connection to nature is critical for the long-term protection of the state’s natural resources, its economy and residents’ well-being.

“The reality is that people who work to protect these resources, the main factor that motivates people is that personal connection or personal experience,” she said.

Strommen also said there’s a wealth of research showing the mental and physical health benefits of spending time in nature. Even just a few minutes a day spent in an urban park can lower stress and anxiety levels, she said.

Referring to the increased use of technology among kids and teens, Strommen said she was glad her son was fishing at their nearby family cabin while she was at the conference.

“I feel really fortunate that my kid is outside right now. He’s not on the screen,” she said. “But that is not the norm. I’m very well aware that I am raising a child who does not match the activities of his peers.”

But Strommen said there is also growing concern about obesity and interest in a healthy, active lifestyle. People’s motivation for using parks and trails is changing — with exercise now a leading reason, Strommen said. She said the DNR is trying to reach those people to promote activities like stand-up paddle boarding, fat-tire bike events and trail runs.

Strommen said the DNR also is updating older state parks and facilities while keeping hard-to-reach groups in mind, by adding things like Wi-Fi and better access for people with disabilities.

“I know that’s like the worst thing for some people to hear is that you can access Wi-Fi in our campgrounds,” she said. “But the reality is there are a lot of people that cannot leave their job if they can’t connect. And if they don’t feel like they can leave their job, they just won’t go camping, and they won’t take their family.”

Lots of Great Fishing Opportunity in Minnesota

Here in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, there’s tons of places to fish at, including Blackduck Lake!

whitebirchresort.net Call 218-835-4552 for the best deals!

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Explore Minnesota Weekly Fishing Update – June 6, 2019
Connor Schmidt’s 36-inch muskie / Dan Schmidt
 

June 7-9 is Take a Kid Fishing Weekend when Minnesota residents can fish without licenses if they take children 15 or younger fishing!

The bite is heating up as water temperatures rise. Walleye are moving deeper. Anglers are taking good numbers on jigs and rigs with minnows or leeches. Northern pike have become aggressive and are eager to bite!

Minnesota fishing opener dates for the 2019/2020 fishing season for most inland waters are as follows: walleye, sauger, northern pike, bass (catch-and-release) and lake trout, May 11; muskie, June 1. The fishing season for crappies, sunnies, perch and catfish is continuous. For rules, regulations and other helpful information on fishing in Minnesota, consult the DNR’s Fish Minnesota web page

 

[Northeast] [Northwest] [Central] [Minneapolis-St. Paul Area] [Southern]

Northeast Minnesota

International Falls – Rainy Lake

Rainy Lake water temperatures have been in the high 40sto mid-50s so walleye remain slightly behind in their traditional movements. Walleye are currently coming from the bays where water temperatures are slightly above that of the main lake, and the windblown shorelines and points have been the most productive. The best presentation has been a 1/16 to 1/8 ounce jig tipped with a minnow or plastic. A slow delivery is very helpful. Some anglers report that spinner rigs are starting to turn fish. With warmer temperatures, fishing is expected to continually improve.

Smallmouth bass have yet to begin nesting due to the cold water temperatures. Most fish are being caught near their traditional spawning areas where they can be found staging at the windy points, large boulders and other significant structure. The best approach is to suspending a twitch bait, along with a long pause. As always, plastics and hair jigs are great go-to options.

Crappies are in the shallows, hitting minnows under a slip bobber in depths of 3 to 5 feet. The turns and points in the bull rushes, as well as on and around the sunken rocks have been great locations.

Northern pike have completed their spawn but remain near their shallow spawning areas. The bays that are  protected from larger bodies of water are a good place to start since the water is warmer. Spinner baits, spoons, and most significantly, suspended twitch baits have been the most productive. 800-325-5766; www.rainylake.org

Kabetogama

Area guides report another great week on Lake Kabetogama! Walleye are being taken during the day on 3/8 ounce jigs tipped with a minnow worked in 30 to 36 foot depths.  Most have been “keeper” size, but many nice catch-and-release fish have also been reported.  During low light hours, walleye are being pulled from depths of 6 to 12 feet on 1/8 ounce jigs tipped with a minnow. The best technique is to either slowly troll or fan-cast from the boat. Water temperature range from 58 degrees (main lake) to 64 degrees in some bays. Crank baits worked along the shorelines are turning lots of bass. Northern pike seem to be active throughout the lake. The bugs are hatching and the water is warming, so the fish are becoming more active. 800-524-9085; www.kabetogama.com

Ely Area Lakes and Rivers

Walleye fishing continues to be best for anglers fishing near shore or just off their docks or campsites. Areas around the creek mouths are no longer as productive now that the minnow spawn has ended, but walleye continue to be found in the shallows. The large shallow flats near shore have been the best area to fish.  Gold, blue and silver tinsel jigs tipped with minnow have been best. Anglers fishing from their docks or campsite are catching walleye on slip bobbers and leeches during evening hours and into the night. In fact, some real trophy-sized fish were caught this week by anglers using slip bobbers.

Crappies have started to spawn not that waters are consistently warmer. Anglers have been catching stingers full of crappies near the cattails and pencil reeds. Small slip bobbers and plain plastic tubes in pink, white, blue and chartreuse have been the top producers. Crappie minnows fished under a bobber are also turning crappies.

Lake trout fishing has been good for many anglers, but it has been challenging since some trout are coming from less than 10 feet of water on slip bobber rigs, yet others are coming from depths of more than 70 feet by anglers that are trolling. The most successful anglers are using deep-diving white crank baits over deep water. As water temperatures continue to rise, the lakers will move into deep waters and become easier for anglers to locate.

Stream trout fishing has been excellent for many anglers this last week. Rainbows are still being caught in the first 10 feet of the water column. Anglers are having success using cowbells, slip bobbers with baby crawlers, jigs with twisters, small streamers, and trolling small spoons or crank baits.

Smallmouth bass are still spawning so anglers have found them easy to locate, and some huge crappies have been taken. The most successful anglers are using pink, orange, chartreuse and white rigs and jigs. Wacky rigging has been the best way to trigger these fish to bite. Anglers have also been productive using suspended crank baits, and topwater baits such as poppers or flies.

Northern pike fishing is starting to slow as water temperatures rise and the big pike start moving deep. Still, anglers fishing early in the morning or on the edge of shallow bays near deep water are reporting lots of action. Large, heavy suckers and dead smelt fished under a bobber continue to turn the majority of large pike. 800-777-7281; www.ely.org

Grand Rapids Area Lakes

The walleye bite has heated up with the warmer temperatures. Some of the lakes giving up lots of walleye include Winnibigoshish, Moose, Bowstring and Trout lakes. A moon-eye jig and shiner is working well, but rig and leech are also consistently turning fish. Anglers that prefer to troll are doing well with shad raps on Pokegama and Sugar lakes during evening hours. During the day, look for walleye off shore, especially at the near-shore sunken islands.

Crappie fishing has been very good in the shallows now that they are moving into their spawning grounds. Anglers are taking fish on slip bobbers and minnows fished in just 2 to 5 feet of water. Bass fishing has also improved dramatically over the last week. Smallmouth bass are starting to move into and occupy spawning areas. Bluegills are on their beds on several area lakes. Please remember to release the larger fish. 800-355-9740; www.visitgrandrapids.com

Northwest Minnesota

Baudette – Lake of the Woods & the Rainy River

Walleye fishing has been on fire on Lake of the Woods Fish are sliding a bit deeper, holding in 15 to 30 foot depths with the most activity in 25 to 26 feet of water. Anglers that are anchored and jigging minnows or frozen shiners are taking the most fish. Gold combined with other colors have been the most productive. Nice reports are coming in all along the south shore and around Knight and Bridges islands. Water temperatures are in the mid- to upper 50s.

On the Rainy River, walleye and sauger are being pulled from the holes, current breaks and sand riffs. Smallmouth bass and northern pike anglers are finding lots of nice-sized fish, but most anglers remain focused on the walleye. Some anglers are taking a mixed bag of fish when casting at the river mouths, bays and rocky areas. The sturgeon season opens July 1.

Up at the Northwest Angle, large walleye are being taken by anglers trolling crank baits in less than 15 feet of water — some have been more than 28 inches long! Most of the keeper-size walleye are coming from 18 to 22 foot depths on orange and parakeet-colored jigs tipped with a minnow. Sauger, northern pike, perch and bass are also being reported by walleye anglers. The smallmouth bass remain deep but should slide up into the bays very soon. Water temperatures range from 55 to 59 degrees in the shallower areas. 800-382-FISH; www.lakeofthewoodsmn.com

Bena – Lake Winnibigoshish

The water continues to warm on Lake Winnibigoshish so walleye action is also heating up. Anglers are now taking greater numbers of walleye, especially from the main lake bars and flats in 16 to 18 feet of water. During lowlight hours and on days with windy conditions, fish are being taken from the points and shoreline breaks. A jig tipped with a minnow or leech is working extremely well. Northern pike activity has also picked up at the emerging weed beds in 9 to 12 foot depths.  It’s time to fish Big Winnie! www.lakewinnie.net

Park Rapids Area Lakes

The crappie are on fire on lakes throughout the Park Rapids area. Crappies up to 16 inches in length have been caught this week. Anglers having the most success are using 1/16 ounce jigs tipped with a small white twister tail or a crappie minnow. The key has been to make a long cast and slowly swim the jig back to the boat in depths of 2 to 4 feet of water. Walleye action has also picked up nicely. Anglers trolling crank baits over the shallow sand weed flats in depths of 6 to 10 feet are doing well with the walleye. Shiner or perch patterns have been working best. The bass are spawning so they will hit almost anything thrown their way, but a senko worm rig has been extremely effective. Please remember to release the bass while they are spawning. 800-247-0054; www.parkrapids.com

Detroit Lakes Area Lakes

Water temperatures for Detroit Lakes area lakes are in the low to mid 60s and climbing. Some crappies are still on their shallow beds, and others have started to move to the weed flats and emerging bull rushes in depths of 7 to 9 feet of water. Trappers can no longer find shiners, but the shiner bite continues for walleye. Most walleye are coming from the emerging weedlines and shoreline breaks on Sallie, Melissa, Pelican and Big Detroit lakes. Anglers are having the most success in 12 to 17 feet of water when using jigs and minnows, but live bait rigs and leeches are also turning fish.

Northern pike have been very aggressive at the outside edge of the submerged weedlines. Bass are hitting small crank baits, spinner baits and jigs with plastics at the docks and shallow cover. Sunfish are in the shallow weeds, responding to small leeches, pieces of crawlers and waxworms on small jigs or hooks under bobbers. 800-542-3992; www.visitdetroitlakes.com

Central Region

Brainerd Area Lakes

The water temperatures are finally in the 60s, and the fish are loving it. Walleye are active at the thick cabbage beds throughout Gull Lake. Jigs with shiners and slip bobbers with leeches have produced the most fish recently. Anglers continue to enjoy a great night bite. For the most action, cast jigging raps and suspending jerk baits. North Long Lake is also kicking out some nice walleye for anglers using leeches in 14 to 24 foot depths. The walleye bite on the smaller are lakes has improved dramatically with the stable weather.  Bass are very active in the shallows. The bluegills are staging for their spawn. 800-450-7247; www.visitbrainerd.com

Isle/Onamia – Lake Mille Lacs

Anglers are having a blast on Lake Mille Lacs, with lots of walleye, smallmouth bass and large muskie being reported. The water temperature in the bays is 66 to 69 degrees, and the main lake is running 62 to 64 degrees depending on what side of the lake you are on. Most bass are on their beds all over the lake. The walleye bite is strong, with fish coming from the mud flats, sand and rock areas. Over the week, more walleye seem to be moving out to the mud flats and the deeper gravel/rocks in 24 to 30 feet of water. This time of year, jigs, rigs and jigging raps are best. Check out the Lake Mille Lacs webcams for great views of the lake. 888-350-2692; www.millelacs.com

Willmar Area Lakes

Fish are biting throughout the Willmar Lakes Area. Anglers are taking lots of nice walleye when trolling with bottom bouncers and leeches on Long Lake. Panfish are still active under the bridge and in the bays of Nest Lake. The Green Lake weeds are giving up crappies in roughly 25 feet of water. Diamond Lake is producing walleye, crappies and northern pike. For those that like to shore fish, look for active crappies and walleye on Foot, Ringo and Florida lakes. 800-845-8747; www.willmarlakesarea.com

Minneapolis-St. Paul Area

Stillwater – St. Croix River

St. Croix River walleye are transitioning to their summer haunts. Walleye anglers are having lots of success with both eating-size walleye, as well as large walleye.

Anglers are also having fun with the amazing freshwater drum, a.k.a. sheephead, action.  The only problem is that when the drum are this aggressive, the other fish usually can’t get to the bait.

Smallmouth have been especially fun to catch right now since they are very willing to bite. Live bait has worked extremely well in depths of 11 to 14 feet, and in 22 foot depths in areas with a good flow. Pool 3 is giving up lots of fish at the current seams. 651/351-1717; www.discoverstillwater.com

Southern Minnesota

Lanesboro – Southeast Bluff Country Rivers and Streams

As of Thursday, May 30, Lanesboro Fisheries Staff reported that 2.5 to 4 inches of rain had fallen last weekend, but stream conditions were improving rapidly and were expected to continually improve. Check out the DNR’s Stream Flow Report for the most current conditions. Before you go, check out the “Area Highlights” section of the Lanesboro Area Fisheries web page for stream maps. 800-944-2670; www.lanesboro.com

 

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Minnesota fishing report

Minnesota fishing updates provided by White Birch Resort on Blackduck Lake.

www.whitebirchresort.net

 

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Explore Minnesota Weekly Fishing Update – May 3, 2019
Maddie discovers that even a little perch can be exciting! Photo courtesy of Wildwood Resort
 

Excitement fills the air as the 2019 Minnesota Fishing Opener approaches! Nearly all lakes in Minnesota will be free of ice by the May 11 fishing opener. DNR Fisheries Staff expect most walleye to have completed their spawn and be eager to bite.

Anglers continue to take nice panfish from the warm, shallow bays. Large sturgeon and northern pike are still being pulled from northern border waters with open seasons.

Main lake water temperatures remain extremely cold so anglers need to use caution and wear a life jacket. Please review Cold Water Kills before heading out.

Minnesota fishing opener dates for the 2019/2020 fishing season for most inland waters are as follows: walleye, sauger, northern pike, bass and lake trout, May 11; muskie, June 1. The fishing season for crappies, sunnies, perch and catfish is continuous. For rules, regulations and other helpful information on fishing in Minnesota, consult the DNR’s Fish Minnesota web page.

 

[Northeast] [Northwest] [Central] [Minneapolis-St. Paul Area] [Southern]

Northeast Minnesota

International Falls – Rainy Lake & the Rainy River

The Rainy River tag season for sturgeon starts April 24 and runs through May 7 when anglers are allowed to keep one sturgeon with a previously purchased sturgeon tag. To keep a sturgeon, it must be 45 to 50 inches in length or over 75 inches. All Rainy River accesses are open, and the Ron Hall access in International Falls, located just a mile or so downstream from the dam, is always a good choice. The swifter waters in this area are usually hold an abundance of sturgeon. If you catch a sturgeon, but cannot tag it, please handle it carefully and release it quickly. Sturgeon should always be held in a horizontal orientation, holding them vertically can damage internal organs. The Rainy River is a success story in the efforts to restore sturgeon fisheries in North America. 800-325-5766; www.rainylake.org

Kabetogama

Lake Kabetogama and Crane Lake are on track for an ice-free fishing opener. The ice that once was locked tight on the north shore of Kabetogama and towards the east has now melted. Even though it has been cool, the wind combined with poor ice has done its work and we are ice free all the way to Namakan and beyond Ash River. The entire lake chain should be ice-free for opening weekend anglers.

Anglers have been out fishing for crappies but no reports are available. Once the sun shines, this bite should heat up nicely. Loons and pelicans made their first appearance the last week of April, and locally nesting waterfowl have arrived. Water levels are about 18 to 20 inches higher than this time last year. 800-524-9085; www.kabetogama.com

Duluth – Lake Superior, St. Louis River and inland waters

Lake Superior has been busy this week as smelt start to show up in the North Shore streams and rivers. According to the DNR, popular smelting waters include Lester, Knife, Stewart, Gooseberry, Split Rock, Beaver, Baptism, Cross, Temperance, Poplar and Cascade. Learn more at Smelt on the North Shore.

Anglers are taking lots of salmon when trolling the North Shore shoreline. The best tactic has been to troll stick baits in a variety of colors to learn which colors are most productive.

Stream anglers continue to report success with steelhead trout, a few salmon and an occasional brown trout. Some are taking a few suckers as well. The most successful technique is to drift spawn under float indicators. Patience is key. Anglers need to remember that these are migratory fish and eventually one will swim by.

Docks are going in on the St. Louis River. Expect to see anglers testing their boats and trying their luck with panfish prior to the May 11 opener. The MN DNR recently surveyed the spawning walleye up river and the results were very positive.

The inland lakes are giving up lots of panfish in the shallows where the water is warming rapidly. In fact, water temperatures as high as 52 degrees have been recorded. The shallow bays with decaying plants, bug larvae and/or new vegetation are generally the best fishing sites. For the most fish, use a 32-ounce jig tipped with a wax worm or soft plastic under a bobber. A few crappies are also being caught in the shallows by anglers using crappie minnows.

Please remember, that populations of fish can be very vulnerable this time of year. Please release the larger fish and harvest the more plentiful smaller fish. By doing so, we all win! 800-438-5884; www.visitduluth.com

Grand Rapids

The Grand Rapids area offers many early season panfish opportunities once lakes are free of ice. Most anglers target crappies, but there are also great opportunities for bluegill and perch. As the shallows warm and forage increases, look for panfish in water as shallow as 2 to 3 feet. You will need to quietly sneak up on the fish since they are so shallow. A small slip bobber with a jig in soft bottom areas with old stands of pencil reeds are great spots for early season crappies. Instead of anchoring, try a trolling motor to move freely with a bit of control. Four pound test line is ideal and very manageable, even for the largest crappies and bluegills. www.visitgrandrapids.com

Northwest Minnesota

Baudette – Lake of the Woods & the Rainy River

Northern pike and sturgeon reports have been excellent on the south shore of Lake of the Woods.  The bays on the lake and the river are open and full of pike. Large dead baits, as well as slowly rolling a spinnerbait, spoon or crankbait are the best methods. Numerous trophy-class northern pike are being caught. Please remember that all pike 30 to 40 inches in length must be returned to the water. There is a 3 fish limit with one over 40 inches allowed.

The annual Zippel Bay Resort Ice Out Pike Tournament will be held May 4-5, a bit later than usual due to later ice-out predictions. Pike anglers are already pulling nice northern pike from various bays on Lake of the Woods and Zippel Bay is usually a hot spot. Part of the appeal of Zippel Bay is that it’s more secluded, easier to hide from cold winds, and anglers will not require the larger boats like on the main lake.

On the Rainy River, sturgeon fishing has been excellent. The ideal presentation a 3 to 6 ounce no-roll sinker, a sturgeon rig and a few nightcrawlers or combination of crawlers and frozen emerald shiners. The keep season for sturgeon continues through May 7. If you intend to keep a sturgeon, you must purchase a sturgeon tag ahead of time.

Up at the Northwest Angle, open water areas are increasing rapidly. 800-382-FISH; www.lakeofthewoodsmn.com

Bena – Lake Winnibigoshish

As of May 2, nearly all of the ice had melted on Lake Winnibigoshish. Time to prepare for the fishing opener May 11!  Learn about recommended fishing techniques for Lake Winnibigoshish during the Minnesota Fishing Opener.   www.lakewinnie.net

Hackensack Area Lakes

The majority of lakes in the area are wide open, however, as of April 29, Ten Mile still had some ice on the main lake, as did Leech and Woman lakes. All should be free of ice shortly. 800-279-6932; www.hackensackchamber.com  

Central Region

Glenwood Area Lakes

The Starbuck Marina on Lake Minnewaska has been the giving up lots of sunfish and crappies. For the most action, use a small jig tipped with a waxworm or minnow. Other good locations have been Fish Hatchery Bay, and Pocket, Reno, Rachael and Mary lakes. www.glenwoodlakesarea.org

Brainerd Area Lakes

North Long, Hubert and all of the smaller lakes within the Gull Lake Chain are producing good numbers of panfish. The best depths and techniques depend on the day.  On sunny days, crappies are preferring minnows in depths of 2 to 5 feet. On cloudy days, bright-colored plastics have been best in depths of 6 to 10 feet. The larger bluegills are schooling at the new weed growth, with plastics and live bait both working well. 800-450-7247; www.visitbrainerd.com

Isle/Onamia – Lake Mille Lacs

The walleye are hungry on Lake Mille Lacs, with accidental walleye coming in on small plastic crappie baits. Ice out on Lake Mille Lacs was declared April 29, and many docks are already in for the season! Check out the Lake Mille Lacs webcams to view the progress.

Mille Lacs is known to be an excellent fishery for walleye, as well as bass. Consider attending the Bronzeback Blowout at Izatys Resort on May 4. This event helps to maintain Mille Lacs’ world-class trophy smallmouth bass fishery status. Free beer and wine will be offered during Happy Hour, followed by a wonderful buffet meal by the chefs at Izatys. Evening fun includes a silent auction, live auction, raffles and door prizes galore. Special industry guests will also attend. Last year’s event sold out get your tickets soon.

Anglers fishing Mille Lacs may keep one walleye from May 11 through May 31, but the walleye must measure between 21 and 23 inches, or be more than 28 inches long. 888-350-2692; www.millelacs.com

Minneapolis-St. Paul Area

Consider participating in the Family Fishing on the Opener on May 11 at Cedar Lake Farm Regional Park. Learn about different types of fish, preparing equipment, baiting a hook and handling fish once they are caught — make memories on the lake with your family! Pre-registration is required.

Stillwater Area Lakes and Rivers

Opening day for walleye and sauger on the St. Croix River is May 4. According to Turk Gierke, fishing should be very good for opening weekend despite high water levels. Live bait and crankbaits should both be effective. 651/351-1717; www.discoverstillwater.com

Southern Minnesota

Lanesboro – Southeast Bluff Country trout streams

As of May 2, most southeastern streams and rivers were clear with normal to slightly high water flow. Dark Hendricksons were being observed. Several species of caddis were hatching intermittently for the past week or so.  Blue-winged Olives would considered a possibility by DNR fisheries staff. Some anglers were having success with streamers. Learn more at the DNR’s Trout Streams page. Before you go, check out the “Area Highlights” section of the Lanesboro Area Fisheries web pagefor stream maps. 800-944-2670; www.lanesboro.com

Albert Lea Area Lakes

The 72nd Annual Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener will be held May 9-12, 2019 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 is nestled between Fountain and Albert Lea lakes. There are 13 lakes in the area, many offering fishing, boating, kayaking and canoeing. In the heart of the city, the 521-acre Fountain Lake features several great fishing bays and is home to 20 species of fish, including largemouth bass, northern pike, walleye, crappie, catfish and yellow perch. 800-345-8414; www.albertleatourism.org

Ortonville – Big Stone Lake

The bite seems to improve each day the water warms on Big Stone Lake. Anglers having the most success are casting jigs into 1 to 5 feet of water on the rocks. The water is dirty and high so plastics have been best for walleye. The walleye season is continuous on this border water. 800-568-5722; www.bigstonelake.com

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Northern Minnesota Early Ice Fishing: Early ice is not safe, wear life jackets!

November 30, 2017

thin ice sign

With daytime temperatures still climbing above freezing even in the northern parts of the state, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is reminding outdoor enthusiasts to stay clear of early ice and use extreme caution when recreating on dangerously cold water. 

Although some locations in the northern and western regions of the state were reporting ice formation at the end of November, the recent fluctuations in weather have led to degraded ice conditions and warnings from public safety officials to stay off the ice until at least 4 inches of new, clear ice is present.

“No fish is worth the risk of going through thin ice,” said DNR conservation officer Lt. Adam Block. “At this point, it is going to take several consecutive days of below-freezing temperatures before enough solid ice has formed to support foot traffic, and even longer before ATVs  and snowmobiles should be on the ice.”

A recent tragedy occurred in northern Minnesota when two anglers lost their lives after breaking through thin ice on their ATV. Several emergency ice rescues have also taken place over the last few weeks. Last winter, two people died after breaking through the ice.

Block stressed that once ice formation picks up again, it will be important to stay vigilant about safety on the ice, since conditions can be unpredictable and vary greatly even on the same body of water.

“In addition to checking conditions locally and being prepared with an ice safety kit, anyone recreating on hard water should be wearing a life jacket,” Block said. “A life jacket is the one piece of equipment that exponentially increases your odds of not drowning from cold water shock, hypothermia or exhaustion should you fall through the ice.”

General ice safety guidelines:

No ice can ever be considered “safe ice,” but following these guidelines can help minimize the risk:

  • Carry ice picks, rope, an ice chisel and tape measure
  • Check ice thickness at regular intervals – conditions can change  quickly.
  • Bring a cell phone or personal locator beacon.
  • Don’t go out alone; let someone know the plan and expected return time.
  • Always wear a life jacket on the ice (except when in a vehicle).
  • Before heading out, inquire about conditions and known hazards with local experts.

The minimum ice thickness guidelines for new, clear ice are:

  • 4 inches for ice fishing or other activities on foot.
  • 5-7 inches for a snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle.
  • 8-12 inches for a car or small pickup.
  • 12-15 inches for a medium truck.
  • Double these minimums for white or snow-covered ice.

Open water danger
The lack of ice cover means many bodies of water in the state still have open water accessible to boaters. However, late season anglers, boaters and paddlers are cautioned that a life jacket is an absolute must on cold water.

“A fall into extremely cold water can incapacitate you within seconds,” said Lisa Dugan, DNR recreation safety outreach coordinator. “Air temperatures have been relatively mild, but don’t let that deceive you. Water temperatures are dangerously cold across the entire state, which means it’s more important than ever to wear that life jacket.”

State statistics show that one-third of boating fatalities typically occur during the “cold water season,” and that in the vast majority of cases the cause of death is drowning due to not wearing a life jacket.

So far in 2017, three boaters have died on cold water, and 12 total boating fatalities have been reported.

“The last three years boaters have enjoyed extended seasons with mild fall temperatures and early ice out in the spring,” Dugan said. “With increased days on the water came higher fatality numbers and a dangerous trend, which should not be ignored. Ten of the 12 deaths involved male boaters who sadly drowned while not wearing a life jacket. This is a continuing and troubling trend that will only plateau or reverse if boaters in that high-risk demographic choose to put safety first by putting on their life jacket.”

For more information, visit mndnr.gov/icesafety and mndnr.gov/boatingsafety.

Minnesota Fall Fishing Report

Minnesota Fish Tales Fishing Report
The Most In-Depth Statewide Fishing Report in Minnesota! http://www.outdoorsweekly.com/fishtales.html

BATTLE LAKE
– Ben’s Bait & Tackle
Bennet or Craig Stich, Junction of Hwy 78 and 210 (218-864-5596)
Sunfish: Anglers are fishing in the 8-15 foot weedlines using worms and waxworms on small hair jigs. Lakes to try are Battle Lake, Clitherall, Rush, Silver. Crappie: fish in the15-20 foot weeds using small jigs. Try West Battle, Clitherall, Rush, Fish. Northerns: Troll with daredevils or minnows with jigs in 15-20 feet water. Lakes to try are Fiske, Clitherall, Ottertail, Donald. Walleyes: Use jigs and minnows in 10-25 feet or troll Rapalas towards dark in 4-7 feet. Try Ottertail, West Battle Lake, Rush, Pickeral. Muskies: Cast Jake’s or double cow girls in 20 feet of water.

LAKE BENTON
– Veire’s Mini-Mart
Dave, 117 E Benton St, corner of Hwy 75 and 14 (507-368-4204)
Please call Dave for a fishing report!

BLACKDUCK AREA whitebirchresort.net
– Timberline Sport & Tackle
Carl Adams, Junction of Hwy 71 and Blackduck Lake Rd. (218-835-4636)
Blackduck and Island Lake walleyes are biting on jigs and minnows in 10-14 feet. Panfish are hitting on Pimushe, Gilstead, Rabideau and Gull. Stop in for details!

BRAINERD AREA
– Leisure Outdoor Adventures – www.leisureoutdooradventures.com
Jason Freed, Toby Kvalevog, Jeff Andersen (1-855-LOA-HOOK or 1-855-562-4665)
Well we are getting to the tale end of things this fall, but there is still alot of open water fishing left. Here is quick report from Leisure Outdoor Adventures.
Walleye fishing has been really up and down of late. The cooler temps and stable weather should push the water temps down into the upper 50s and that is usually when fall fishing takes off. A jig and minnow is often the ticket. An 1/8th oz jig tipped with a golden shiner or rainbow is a great presentation on Leech Lake. Cadence and colors often times change day to day, so pay close attention to details. Look to wind blown shorelines and points that have had wind blowing into them for a couple days to produce. If it is a strong wind look in 5-8feet of water and on lighter blow days move out into 10-12 feet of water. The obvious areas should hold fish such as Pine Point, Stoney, Little Stony, Ottertail, Two Points, Sandy Beach, and the Flats around Goose Island. When working the flats pay close attention to where you are seeing bait and also subtle contour lines. Flats can be intimidating to fish, so the best thing to do is cover ground and work a large area until you connect with fish and then work that area over.
Have a Great Fall! Leisure Outdoor Adventures

CENTRAL MINNESOTA
– Minnesota Fishing Guide Service
www.minnesotaguideservice.com – www.minnesotaicefishhouserental.com
Capt Josh Hagemeister (320-291-0708)
Hello everyone, Fall fishing is here! Between the awesome grouse hunting and fishing throughout the area, I’m not sure what to do. I do know that when I’m catching crappies bigger than a bucket I’m in 30 ft of water fishing an 1/8 oz jig tipped with a Berkley Gulp white 2” grub. And occasionally, a bonus walleye or nice pike. The bigger pike are lurking nearby chowing on the crappies so fish the edges of the crappie schools with a large chub on a large bait rig. The easy walleyes to catch are in or near the deepest holes in the lake. Concentrate on the 45-60 ft range using minnows on just about any type of live bait presentation. Lotsa Fish! Lotsa Fun!

CHISAGO CITY
– Frankie’s Live Bait and Marine – www.frankies.net
Brad, Corner of Hwy 8 and CR 77 (651-257-6334)
On Chisago, crappies and sunfish are biting in 10-15 feet at the weedlines. North and South Lindstrom also report a good panfish bite. Green and North Center are best for walleyes in 12-14 feet.

DULUTH
– Marine General – www.marinegeneral.com
1501 London Road, on the edge of Lake Superior (218-724-8833)
Walleyes are biting on Fish Lake in 10 feet of water. Crappies also reported there. For muskies, try Island Lake using sucker minnows in 10 feet of water. Walleyes are biting in 15 feet of water on Island as well.

ELY
– Babe’s Bait and Tackle – BabesBaitEly.com
500 Kawishiwi Trail, Ely, MN, first business on the left as you are entering town of Ely from the west on Hwy 169 (218-365-6930)
Fishing report 9/25/17
Just when you think you have the walleyes figured out, they change things up. Some anglers were reporting that the walleyes had gone deep, as that’s where they were catching them. Lately though, they have been getting caught all throughout the water depths. Some in thirty feet of water, some in seven feet. Go figure. The best advice right now is to keep watching your sonar till you mark some fish and then go after them. Most are still using crawler harnesses, but a good number of fish are being caught using crank baits fished just above the bottom. Jig and minnow combos should start to produce once again as they had done in the Spring.
Crappie anglers are beginning to converge on Birch Lake as the action there is beginning to heat up. We still don’t have the big schools bunching up, as the water temps are still a bit high at sixty four or five degrees, but this is soon to change as evening temperatures begin to fall. Crappie minnows are still the bait of choice, but safety pin spinners with a jig and soft tail make a good search tool as you slow troll to find the concentrations of fish. Watch for marks that are suspended mid-way in the water column, as this quite often represents the presence of crappies.
Many folks are chasing pike too at this time of year. The biggest fish of the season seem to get active at the onset of cooler weather. Big suckers fished right on the bottom will fool them time and again, but this can also be the time to dig out your biggest crank baits and work over the deeper weed edges and rockpiles to bring some giants to the net. This action should continue right up till ice begins to form.

HACKENSACK
Swanson’s Bait & Tackle www.swansonsbait.com
Caleb Garoutte, Hwy 371 on the north end of Hackensack (218-675-6176)
9-27-Water temps are still fairly high despite the cooler weather we have been getting. Walleye fishing has remained in that late summer/early fall pattern where crawlers are still working and minnows are starting to; lake to lake you will see the pattern change. Guys are primarily finding fish in 20-24 feet of water. Covering ground over larger flats has been good, but guys are starting to find fish off long edges and breaks. We should start to see fish stacking up on structure as the water cools, and the bite should switch over to more minnows as well.
Smallmouth bass on many of the area lakes have been going very well. Stony, Portage, Baby, and Ten Mile have all been producing great smallmouth action. Get the swim baits out or suspending/sinking stick baits to target them on the first break on rocky structure. They seem to be really putting the feed bags on right now, and an aggressive approach has been most successful so far. If you get on a tough bite, let the suspending action on the stick baits do the work near the bottom – drop shot rigs can work very well in this situation, but be sure to find where the fish are holding before switching over.
Leaves have really been falling hard with the rain we’ve been getting this last week so the woods are starting to open up for the grouse/deer hunters. It has been much easier seeing flushed birds now, and the deer are starting to focus on more obvious food sources instead of just hammering acorns. After the first week of season the grouse hunters are having trouble finding good numbers, but that could likely be due to the poor visibility and abundance of food. We should start seeing birds focus on good cover and food.

KABETOGAMA-NAMAKAN
– Gateway Store kabfishingreport.com – gatewaygeneral.com
Jason and Robyn Cooper, US Hwy 53 & Co Rd 122, 30 miles south of Int’l Falls-Canadian border (218-875-2121)
As angler numbers dwindle fishing still remains consistent, grouse hunters finding better success
As we pass peak fall colors, cooler temps have water temperatures down in the 50’s. Fishing has been consistent and grouse hunters are finding better success as leaves continue to fall which is providing better hunting conditions. Some local and migrating ducks are flocking up and can be seen going to and from feeding areas around the lake. Bear have been sighted with more frequency, just another sure sign fall is here.
Walleye fishing has been consistent throughout Kabetogama. With limited fishing pressure and a wide variety of depths producing, reports are few and far. Anglers are still catching walleye and sauger using a jig and minnow but better success has been had trolling crankbaits to cover more water. Trolling weed lines and using lead core over deeper water has been producing fish.
Smallmouth bass are still being found on the reefs with regularity. A jig and minnow is the way to go. Start on top of and then work your way along reef edges to find active fish. When found, they can be in big numbers. It’s a great time to practice catch, photo and release with these strong fighters as many trophy fish can be caught in a single trip.
Perch fishing has been picking up over deeper water using a jig and minnow. Look for depths in the 30’ range off island points.
Waterfowl hunting has been fair at best. With the lack of migrating birds in the area, scouting is the key. Most success has been had scouting the beaver ponds off the main lakes with hunters taking mallards, teal, wood ducks and ring neck ducks. A few redhead and pintail have also been reported.
The park service is in the process of pulling rock and channel markers. Having a GPS and map in hand is recommended when venturing out. With the continued mild weather forecast for the foreseeable future, you can’t beat a day on the lake right now. With bugs at a minimum and leaves opening the woods up, take the opportunity to hike one of the park trails as well. Not only will you most likely have the trail to yourself, you never what you are going to see this time of year as animals are preparing for the long cold months ahead.
As always, we all hope to see you soon…..
Jason and Robyn
Cooper’s Gateway General Store

LAKE OF THE WOODS
– Lake of the Woods Area Tourism Bureau – www.lakeofthewoodsmn.com
near Junction of Hwy 11 and Hwy 172 in Baudette, (1-800-382-FISH)
The walleye bite remains strong! Report is very similar to last weeks. Walleyes are staged in front of Pine Island, Graceton Beach and Zippel Bay in 18-30′. Anglers sorting through a few small fish for every keeper. Most anchored up with jig and shiner. Pink, pink/white and gold have been the best colors. Reefs holding fish as well.

Rainy River anglers finding success up and down the river. Schools of shiners coming into river randomly right now. When they do, the walleyes are close behind. Some days excellent, some days catching fish but not a slam dunk based on whether shiners are moving through. Vertical jigging tipped with a shiner while anchored is the go to method. Some anglers trolling crankbaits with success as well. Smallmouth bass, pike and crappies showing up.

Up at the Northwest Angle, in MN waters walleyes are crushing jig and shiners. Orange and chartreuse were the hot colors this week. Big pike being caught trolling minnow baits. In Ontario waters, minnow/shiner have been effective off of points at depth of 18-26′ while anchored or trolling. In addition to walleyes, crappies on fire and jumbo perch active! Some muskies being caught trolling. Lodging, charters and guides are available at www.LakeoftheWoodsMN.com/Lodging.

LEECH LAKE
– Anderson’s Resorts – www.andersonsleech-lake.com
Tim, (1-800-516-0077) (1-800-516-0077)
Fall on Leech lake is a wonderful place to be! Beautiful colors warm days and cool nights and the fish seem to feel the need to feed. Muskie action has been great, hitting almost anything but if you’re looking for MR. BIG, then a 12 to 16 sucker minnow might be the right combo! I have friends who put one out and the others cast lures it’s amazing how they will attract the fish and then they will bite the live minnow! Walleye action is getting better with the cooler water temp, all the points will be great! Perch action is also going strong, shallow bays and lots of minnows are the key! Grouse numbers are up! Come sneak a fall trip in! Winter will be here shortly! Come enjoy all that the Leech Lake area has to offer!

MILLE LACS
– Chris Kuduk’s Guide Service – (320-630-1761)
Bassmaster tourney was a success on Mille Lacs. Smallie bite is doing well while pitching jigs/tubes. Reports of muskies and pike biting on Mille Lacs. Walleye season is closed. Panfish are biting on smaller area lakes such as Sullivan, Anne, Shakopee, Knife. Work the weedlines, as pike and walleyes are also mixed in. Aitkin Lake has been producing some big crappies and walleyes. Deer are being registered in the area and we are looking forward to a great pheasant season with many birds in the area.Call Chris for up-to-the-minute fishing reports or to book a launch trip or a small boat trip! We are still going out on fall guided trips! Listen to Chris and Stan live from 5-6 pm Saturdays on Outdoor Adventures on www.twincitiesnewstalk.com (iheart Radio)! Or listen to the podcast!

LAKE MINNETONKA
– Wayzata Bait & Tackle
Tim or Bob, half mile west off I-494 on Hwy 12 (952-473-2227)
Minnetonka walleyes are biting on nightcrawlers at the weedlines and in the bays. Try crankbaits or minnows after dark in the channels. Independence has also been producing walleyes in 18-20 feet. Crappies are biting on Independence, Minnetonka and Medicine as well.

PARK RAPIDS
– Smokey Hills Outdoor Store, Josh Severtson, www.smokeyhills.com
19143 US HWY 71 N, Park Rapids, MN (218-237-5099)
Park Rapids area fishing report 8/31/2017
Bass- Most of the fish and size has been up shallow around a lot of standing structure. Mostly looking for very shady areas on these hot, calm, sunny days! Like Lilly pads, docks and cabbage weeds! A surface bait has proven to outshine any other lures. Tie on either a Scum frog “Trophy Series” or Terminator “Walking Frog” for your best chances on catching that 5lb pig!
Walleye– Found out schooling deeper waters between 20’ and 28’. Pulling Crawler harness spinner rigs paired with crawlers or redtails at a slow speed have been out fishing most other baits. And sometimes stripping the rigs of their beads and blades for more of a plain appearance also proving positive as well!.
Crappie/Sunfish– Sunfish have been between 6’-12’ around the tall standing vegetation and structure. Crappies swimming between 15’-20’ suspended or around deeper growing weeds. Either casting/jigging a small Rapala “Ultra Lite rippin rap” or tying on a VMC “Hot Skirt” jig tipped with either a crappie minnow or worm for best luck! Smokey Hills

LAKE TRAVERSE
– Steve’s Bait www.wheatonservice.com
Neighbor Steve, 912 Broadway, Wheaton, MN (320-563-1400, 320-563-1400)
The Fishing on Lake Traverse has been HOT!! From walleye to catfish, They are all hungry. As we move further into September, the bite will only get better, right up to freeze up!! Our Wheaton Service bait shop will be relocating to Hwy 75 here in Wheaton, and will operate under the name STEVE’S BAIT! As always, Steve’s Bait will offer everything you need to be successful on Lake Traverse!! From the hot jig or plug, to the Best LIVE BAIT to be had within 75 miles!!! Pop, water and snacks will also be available Lodging is also available at our Fishin’ Hole Lodge, along with ice fishin packages. Good luck on the water!! Take a Kid Fishin! You can also check us out on Facebook!

WACONIA
Mase’s In Towne Marine – www.intownemarina.com
Cindy, corner of Lake and Elm (952-442-2096)
We are changing our hours starting Tuesday, 9/5/17. Monday thru Friday, we will be open from 11:30 am to Sunset. Saturday and Sunday we will be open 8 am to Sunset. We close for the Summer Season after Saturday, September 30th.
The month of August, while cooler than normal for the pleasure-boaters was a good one for fishermen. Water temps stayed much cooler than normal (hovering around 70 degrees lately), which made fishing better. We had one of the best months of Northern Pike fishing in years, and that has continued into September. They were actively biting in many different depth ranges and on many varieties of lures and baits. Typical areas to target included Anderson’s Reef, Cemetery Reef, and Center Reef among others. If using live bait, sucker minnows were a popular choice.
Sunfish, Crappies, and Bass continued to be active as well. Fishing the weedlines in 11 to 13 feet of water was common for success. Some days crappies were found deeper off reefs such as Kegs and North Reefs in 15 to 18 feet of water. Sunfish could be found in 6 to 8 feet of water as well. Waxies or crawlers were used to catch some nice ones. The bass, while bigger off the deeper weed edges were also good in the shallow water reeds, the Rock Dock or near the Carp Trap (Peterson’s Creek on the NW side of the lake).
Walleyes should get nothing but better as we get into the Fall. This summer’s walleye bite was good, but as the season progressed, it was important to target them during the early morning or late evening hours for best success. Kegs Reef, Reds Reef, and Cemetery Reefs were all areas that produced some nice walleyes. Fathead minnows were commonly the best bait.
Muskie action picked up in August as well and should continue well into September and October. Bucktails and big topwater baits worked well for some. Areas like North Reef, Kegs Reef and Center Reef have all been muskie territory. However, it never hurts to target weedlines like those in Waconia Bay and out from the south shoreline from Lola’s toward the beach.
Our Fishing Boat and Pontoon Rental season is coming to a close shortly. This time of year, we highly recommend calling for reservations. We for sure will be renting thru next weekend (the 9th and 10th). After that, we will likely be prepping them for winter storage. However, if you call us and we still have a boat or pontoon available, we will be happy to rent!

WINNIBIGOSHISH
– Walleye Visions – www.mnfishingconnections.com
Tom Neustrom, 21622 Airport Rd, Grand Rapids, tom@mnfishingconnections.com, (218-327-2312)
Look for walleyes to hang shallow before heading off shore. All the points from Sugar, Ravens, Mallard, to Stony Point are great spots to try. Depths of 6-12 best. VMC mooneye jigs and a shiner have been productive or with a slip sinker rig with a shiner.

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218-835-4552

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WHITE BIRCH RESORT

Bemidji Region - Minnesota
18882 North Blackduck Lake RD NE Hines, MN 56630 Office 218-835-4552 Cell 218-553-0210
Email - vacation@whitebirchresort.net