On the south end… An incredible week of fishing on Lake of the Woods. The lake continues to put out big numbers of walleyes and saugers of all sizes.
Two areas were the focus this past week. First, rocks. Walleyes love crayfish on LOW and nice fish have been found over various rocky areas targeting crayfish.
The second area that has really fired up nicely is the deep mud. There is usually a transition this time of year. Walleyes are feeding on baitfish and bug hatches.
Did you know when there is a bug hatch, most of those bugs come from the bottom of the lake from the mud in a larval stage? Walleyes love the nymphs of various insect hatches as they emerge from the mud. If that nymph makes it to the surface, it sheds its covering and flies away.
Various techniques are catching walleyes. The most common technique catching walleyes is drifting or trolling crawler harnesses. A two hook snelled spinner with a crawler and 1 -2 ounce inline sinker or bottom bouncer drifted or trolled at 7.5 – 1.25 mph will catch walleyes. Some anglers are using leeches on a snelled spinner with success as well.
A tip for pulling spinners (crawler harnesses)… Try to maintain a 45 degree with your presentation and keep it just off of the bottom. Oftentimes, a fish will feel like a wet sock rather than hitting it hard. Set the hook!
Jigging with minnows or a leech is effective on structure or where fish aren’t so spread out.
Trolling crankbaits is an effective way to catch walleyes much of the open water season. Try the first or last couple of hours of the day trolling shorelines in addition to deeper fish over the basin.
Most walleyes are being caught in 12 – 25 feet, with various shallow bites taking place due to available forage in those areas walleyes are taking advantage of.
Other species are also available and often caught by walleye anglers. Pike, muskies, sturgeon, smallmouth bass, jumbo perch, and crappies are a few.
On the Rainy River… River anglers are catching “local” walleyes, or walleyes that live in the river. The river offers various areas of structure and a variety of forage that holds fish all year long. Keep this in mind on an extra windy day or simply for a change of scenery.
The same techniques that work on the lake work on the river, often with a tweak. You may have to alter the weight of a jig due to current or troll upstream, for example.
Good numbers of smallmouth bass. Look for boulders, rubble, bridges and current breaks.
For pike, bays, feeder rivers and weed edges.
The sturgeon season opens this week on July 1st. This is a “keep” season. If you want to harvest a sturgeon in the Rainy River or LOW, one sturgeon is allowed per calendar year per angler. It has to be 45 – 50 inches or over 75 inches. A sturgeon tag is available for $5. Otherwise, simply catch and release.
Up at the NW Angle… Walleye fishing is excellent with impressive numbers of walleyes on both sides of the border. With resorts up at the Angle being literally, right on the border, many anglers fish Ontario waters.
Anglers are allowed to boat into Canada without having to clear customs as long as they don’t touch land, anchor, moor, touch a dock or exchange goods or services. An Ontario fishing license for zone 5 is required to fish this area and different lengths and limits vs MN applies.
Jigging is more common year round in these parts due to the structure and many more rocky areas. With that being said, crawler harnesses are putting a lot of walleyes in the boat. The flash, vibration combined with a live bait offering is hard for a walleye to resist. Keep your bottom bouncer just above the rocks or mud.
Smallmouth bass are in good numbers along shoreline structure. Pike can be found in bays and targeting points.
The muskie season is open and great reports continue. With 14,552 islands in LOW, structure and forage is excellent for world class muskie fishing.