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Minnesota Fish Tales Fishing Report
The Most In-Depth Statewide Fishing Report in Minnesota!

Fish Tales Archive

© 2017 OutdoorsWeekly.com - Copyright Info

- 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.

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- Veire's Mini-Mart - Visit our Facebook Page
Dave, 117 E Benton St, corner of Hwy 75 and 14 (507-368-4204)

Anglers on the west side of Lake Benton found little action, with relatively little wind. Even the bullheads weren’t biting, and only a few walleyes were pulled out. Action was a little steadier on the east end of the lake, with several nice fishing caught using minnows. Most of the walleyes were smaller males, and many of the females may still be in a pre-spawn pattern.
Rock Lake was also fairly slow, with only a few walleyes coming out, although one group of anglers hooked a channel catfish.
The action on Lake Shetek was also pretty slow, as anglers crowded the banks searching for the year’s first walleyes. Even using a variety of methods, from a bare hook and worm, to Lindy rigs tipped with a minnow, to casting crankbaits, anglers only found a few walleyes worthy of a trip to the frying pan.
Lac Qui Parle had a pretty steady bite a couple of spots on the lake, with the best action coming right at sunrise. Walleyes here seemed to be firmly in a pre-spawn pattern, as most walleyes were caught off shore, vertical jigging from the boat. Small jigs pitched over rocky areas and retrieved slowly caught some heavy pre-spawn females. Fishing should continue to pick up as walleyes cycle through the spawning areas and start to feed heavily post-spawn.

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- 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!

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- Leisure Outdoor Adventures - www.leisureoutdooradventures.com
Jason Freed, Toby Kvalevog, Jeff Andersen (1-855-LOA-HOOK or 1-855-562-4665)

9/17 - Leech Lake

Walleye fishing on leech lake is changing.  Fish are starting to transition into their fall patterns which means its jig and a minnow time! Water temps are currently in the low 60’s and look to continue to fall all week.  Look for walleyes to be active throughout the day on windblown points and shorelines throughout the lake.  As things start to set up look to the traditional wind blown points such as Pine, Ottertail, Stony, Hardwoods, and the Ducks to all hold fish on certain days.  Otherwise expansive sand flats and current areas will also be good. Go back to your spring patterns and realize with the fall comes changing weather patterns and water temps, and this means that changing up your cadence and presentation is key to putting fish in the boat.  Also don’t forget weeds can also hold fish this time of year, especially a mix of walleyes and jumbo perch.    There is still a decent minnow bite going on in Walker Bay on some of the deeper structure as well.  

Musky fishing still remains solid and should be good throughout the fall.  On days when the wind isn’t blowing too much, the main lake rods and secondary pieces of structure will hold fish.  Also don’t forget about wind blown shorelines or shelves that have had a good wind blowing into them for a couple days.  As we get into Oct the tullibees will move up shallow and this is when some of the best musky fishing is to be had.  Bucktails such as the Big Tooth Juice Series are still producing and moving fish, but as the water cools down look to big plastics to be a bait to throw.  The McRubber series from Svartzonker Tackle offers some dynamite baits as well as the Bulldawgs.  

Brainerd Lakes Fishing Report

Welcome to fall 2017!  At Leisure Outdoor Adventures we love this time of year as it brings amazing fishing, hunting, football, and amazing fishing:)  In the Brainerd Lakes Area, the walleye action has been heating up as the water temps start to fall.  Look to Gull, Whitefish, and North Long for a good bite, that should only get better.  

The walleyes are starting to move out from the weeds and seem to be settling into the 20-30 foot range.  However, using your electronics is important because these fish will change depths throughout the day.  Redtail minnows on live bait rigs were the best over the weekend, but Rapala Jigging Raps or rainbows on a short-shank jig  are always a good bet also.  Fishing the wind on sharper shoreline breaks, mid-lake humps, long under water points and other “fall” locations will produce walleyes.  Just make sure to be patient and drive around the entire structure to find the school.  Don’t forget to be a good steward of the lake!  Let the big girls go and keep only what you need for a meal.  Also remember that Minnesota only allows ONE walleye over 20 inches per license.  

The crappies have also been starting to bite again as the water hovers right around the 70 degree mark.  They have been located off deep cabbage weeds that are located around the deepest basins of the main lake, big bays, or under water points.  Casting/trolling small plastics on light jigheads will help you locate happy fish.  

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- Minnesota Fishing Guide Service
www.minnesotaguideservice.com - www.minnesotaicefishhouserental.com
Capt Josh Hagemeister (320-291-0708)

Fishing Report 10-17-17
Wow what a gorgeous week to be on the lake! Leaves are colorful and falling quickly and so are  the water temperatures around the area.  Look for water temps to be in the lower to upper 50’s.  This is the sweet spot folks for fantastic fall fishing for everything from pan fish to muskies.  Look for the big perch cruising the shallows along with some of the biggest pike in the lake.  Troll 12”-18” suckers on a quick strike rig in the local lakes and catch big pike or muskies! Work the weed edges (10-15ft deep) on drop offs near deep water—45 f.t +.  Look for the big perch in the 5-12 ft range cruising the flats near deep water.  Look for walleyes in the deep holes and the dying deep weed line.  With this warm weather, the weed lines will see a spark of activity.  A rainbow chub about 2-3” long on a jig will do the job.  Save your money, skip the red tails and use a “river mix”.  The Mississippi river walleye bite is in full force as well!  The largemouth bass are gorging on the deep weed lines.  Use a Stanley jig tipped with a small Berkley Gulp grub.  Stick to black and brown for colors.  A standard Texas rigged black plastic or a jig worm comb will also work.  Smallmouth bass are schooled heavily on steep breaks that have rocks and some weeds.  Look for the fish suspended on your electronics. If the wind is blowing into a rocky/gravel shoreline –you better fish it. They can’t resist a sucker minnow on alive bait rig—it’s almost cheating!  Good luck, Lotsa Fish!  Lotsa Fun! 

- 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.

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- 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.

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- 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)

The cooling water has pushed some of the walleyes down deep. Try working crawler harnesses along the drops in the deepest part of the lakes. Some folks are reverting back to a jig and minnow combo with success as well. Color of jig or spinner blades are not as important as location. If you're not marking fish, move on. Some walleyes are still roaming some shallower water late in the day as water temps begin to rise in the evening. Slip bobbering a minnow late in the day in ten to fifteen feet of water can be very effective. Crappies are beginning to bunch up. Search for them to be suspended around mid way in the water column. Trolling a small safety pin spinner and jig like the Beetle Spin or tiny crank baits can lead you to the schools. Once located, you can readily catch them either on a live minnow suspended under a slip bobber or use one of the many small plastic baits on a jig, such as the one inch Berkley Gulp minnow. Pike are starting to put on the feed bag too as winter approaches. Large crank baits, spoons, and spinner baits are working well. One can also use larger sucker minnows either suspended under a bobber, or just take a dead or frozen one and lay it on the bottom. Really big pike seem to prefer to take this easy meal as opposed to chasing at times. Lake trout are beginning to move up a bit in the water column as lakes cool. Try trolling spoons or cranks in forty to fifty-five feet of water.

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- Fish On Bait & Sport www.habitatnow.com
Kyle, 201 S Franklin St, 2 blocks south of stoplights in Glenwood (320-634-3667)

Visit the Habitat Outlet on line at www.HabitatNOW.com for all your habitat needs.  Fish On!

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Swanson's Bait & Tackle - www.swansonsbait.com
Caleb Garoutte, Hwy 371 on the north end of Hackensack (218-675-6176)

10-24 - Fall fishing has continued to be very good on the area lakes for the walleye. Woman and Leech have been the hot spots, and with the wind blowing like it has been, they've been found in as shallow as 3'-6' feet and as deep as 30'-35'. Focus on the deeper water in normal conditions, but if the wind is blowing with some overcast get up on the shallow mid lake humps or shoreline flats and long-line on a good drift. Don't rule out pitching crankbaits up shallow either! Deep water fish have been responding very well to jigs with shiners or rainbows and/or jigging raps.

Muskie are still biting on the lakes, though it wouldn't hurt to have a little cooler temps to bring the water down. Big fish are on the move though, and throwing big rubber, glide baits, and other bigger slower baits is worth the effort. If you want to pitch bucktails and v-spinners, get up on the deep bullrushes and work the angles in the weedbeds.

Grouse hunting has gotten better the last couple weeks with the dropping of leaves and food. Birds are starting to show up on the clover trails more, and they're more predictable than they were in the early season. Get some miles on grouse walking trails or better yet get off the trail and into the edges along broomstick aspen and you'll find some birds! 

Deer traffic has increased dramatically this week. We're seeing a ton of buck sign in the woods with scrapes popping up all over. These cooler temps coming should amplify movement even more. Bowhunters should have a fantastic week leading up to Firearm Opener in November. Deer hunters coming to the area this fall should see fantastic deer numbers.

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- Gateway Store kabfishingreport.com - gatewaygeneral.com
Phil & Ellen Hart, US Hwy 53 & Co Rd 122, 30 miles south of Int'l Falls-Canadian border (218-875-2121)

10-24- With boats heading to storage, anglers are missing out on good fishing while most are turning their attention to the woods.

With grouse, deer and duck hunting taking most anglers focus from the lake, for those on the water the fishing has been good to excellent.
Walleyes are being taken with consistency off island points and bay entrances in 22’-35’ of water using a jig and minnow combination.  Ash river is also producing but with some success.
Smallmouth bass are still red hot off edges of reefs.  Many trophy fish can be had right now with 50 day catches not uncommon.  A jig tipped with a minnow or plastic is working well. Please practice catch/photo/release to ensure a healthy population in the future.
Grouse hunting has improved with most foliage off the trees.  With all the 4 wheeler traffic, your best bet is to put some miles on and get off the trails.
Bow deer hunting has been limited but they are in pre-rut and just beginning to chase does.  The next couple of weeks should be good with peak rut near or just after opening day.  Lots of deer have been seen so expecting a better than average season.
Duck hunting has slowed with most local birds heading south and/or educated and hard to decoy.  With the upcoming cooler weather hopefully some new birds will move in but unfortunately this is not your traditional clipper weather system freezing water to the north.
Don’t forget we have our annual Hunters Supper on November 4th from 3-8 pm at the Kabetogama Town Hall.  Baked sale goods available.  $10 gun raffle and 50/50 drawing.  This event is supporting the Kabetogama Firefighter and Volunteer EMS.  Proceeds go towards the Helicopter Landing Pad.

As always, we all hope to see you soon…..
Jason and Robyn
Cooper’s Gateway General Store

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- Lake of the Woods Area Tourism Bureau - www.lakeofthewoodsmn.com
near Junction of Hwy 11 and Hwy 172 in Baudette, (1-800-382-FISH)

11-6- Some nice walleyes being caught despite very cold temps and opening of MN deer hunting season.  Ice is forming on back bays, not on the lake yet.  It won't be long.  For the few anglers out, walleyes are staged in 7-30' across the south shore of the lake. Most anchored up with jig and shiner.  Pink, pink/white and gold colors good starts.  The walleyes and saugers are setting up nicely for first ice anglers.

Rainy River holding walleyes of all sizes. The late shiner run didn't happen this year.  Late Sep. and early Oct were better.  Still some big fish in river with numerous fish over 28 inches being caught along with eaters.  Evenings have been best.  Water temp at Wheeler's Point public access at the mouth of the Rainy River was 36.8 degrees Monday morning.  It won't be long!

Up at the Northwest Angle, ice has formed in many areas.  Some harbors locked up with ice.  Prior to ice up, walleyes were being caught in 10-30 feet in many spots with jig and minnow the most effective.  Some hearty anglers trolled for muskies around and through thin ice last week and were rewarded with fish.   Resorts have equipment ready for ice fishing which could come early this year!  Lodging, ice fishing packages and sleeper houses are available at www.LakeoftheWoodsMN.com/Lodging.

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- Anderson's Resorts - www.andersonsleech-lake.com
Tim, (1-800-516-0077) spirit@arvig.net (e-mail) 

Wow the summer just flew by! Leech Lake is on fire right now if you are a Muskie Hunter! Surface lures and shallow rocks and sand bars are the ticket right now. With the water cooling down the action is just going to continue to increase. Pike action in the weed edges are going strong. Walleye action is also going to be picking up by the time you are reading this post! Live bait rigs and jig minnows in 8 to 12 feet! Wind is always a key on Leech Lake! If you have wind for a couple days head to the shore that its blowing in on! As always contact us or bait shop for more details. September is always a fun month with football, fishing and hunting all going on at the same time! So if you have not planned a trip up to Leech Lake yet there is still time and openings. If you can come up in late September/early October bring your shotguns. Grouse numbers seem high this fall and there are lots of duck hanging around! Come enjoy Leech Lake with us this fall!

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- Chris Kuduk's Guide Service - www.kuduksguideservice.com
For up to the minute reports, call Chris at 320-630-1761!

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. Call Chris for up-to-the-minute fishing reports. 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!

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- 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.

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- Turk Gierke, Croixsippi Guide Service

October 17 - St Croix River Fishing

The weather patterns have stabilized and the water is barely falling not many people fishing though the bite has picked up for walleye and sauger.

Mike out with his two sons for a morning on the St. Croix River. Here is a nice 18' eye. Mike landed this on a crawler. Fun trip.
Mike out with his two sons for a morning on the St. Croix River. Here is a nice 18-inch eye. Mike landed this on a crawler. Fun trip.

In the outdoors it is easy to look at the calendar and expect certain conditions to be present, but in fact “mother nature” is often weeks ahead or behind schedule.  This is why it pays to fish the present conditions and not the calendar.  This being said points to why my guide trips are still catching fish on summer time baits like crawlers.

Bro's Dave (left) and Dan. Dan was the man IMHO as he boated the most. out with dad Mike.
Bros Dave (left) and Dan. Dan was the man IMHO as he boated the most. Out with Dad Mike.

When one technique doesn’t work I do other techniques or just fish the way certain clients enjoy best.

Paul lovess to Troll! He does it well. Catch and Release.
Paul loves to Troll! He does it well. Catch and Release.

So the bite has improved we are seeing bigger fish and numbers more keepers coming in.

Jim is happy with with limit of eaters. saugers and a walleye. Colors are starting to reach peak. Look at that blue sky I was a really nice day.
Jim is happy with with limit of eaters. saugers and a walleye. Colors are starting to reach peak. Look at that blue sky – it was a really nice day.

Since my last report…The river is down 1 foot and is at 682.5 feet above sea level as measured in Stillwater, MN. The river is projected to level.

Since my last report…The water temperature is 53 (3 degrees colder).

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- Smokey Hills Outdoor Store, Josh Severtson, www.smokeyhills.com
Park Rapids, Minnesota (218-237-5099)

Walleye/Northern- With the water temps hovering around the high 60's on the majority of the area lakes the main group of walleyes have been marked and caught between 10'-16' of water. The bite switching from minnows to leeches and crawlers. Tie up a Lindy "Walleye Spinner" with a 1/2 oz walking sinker for the perfect weight. 

Bass- starting to spread out between 1'-8' in the thickest weed beds, lily pad patches, and timber piles. Rig up a VMC "Wacky Weedless" hook and team it with a Yum "Dinger" in a variety of colors from light to dark depending on the lake's clarity and food source. 

Sunfish/Crappie- Still staged around the shallows from 6'-12' looking for either sandy bottoms, pencil reeds, or cabbage for cover. Tie on a slip bobber paired with a VMC "Hot Skirt" or Northland "Fire Fly" jig tipped with a crappie minnow or small leech for best luck at filling the bucket! 

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- Wheaton Service & Bait    www.wheatonservice.com
Neighbor Steve, 912 Broadway, Wheaton, MN (320-563-1400)

Lake Traverse, on the MN/SD border, is on fire! The walleye bite has been great, as well as the other species of fish we catch on our quest for walleye:) Water temps are relatively cool for this time of the year. Wheaton Service bait shop is relocating to Hwy 75 in Wheaton. Way better location, You will be able to drive right into our new lot pulling a boat, no hassles like our old location. Like always, Wheaton Service will have the "Best Bait in Town" and we always have up to date info on the bite that is going on on Lake Traverse. Our website will remain the same until our new shop is up and running. Wheaton Service will once again be building lite weight fish houses this fall. Our houses brand is Fishin' Hole Lodges. Lite weight skid houses, all aluminum, We use the same 3m tape that Yetti uses on their houses, less screws, makes for a great finished look! Available in most any color. The average 6x8 is $3,795.00 and weights about 360 lbs.Check us out at wheatonservice.com... 320 563-1400 Ask for Steve! Take a Kid Fishin!

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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!

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- Walleye Visions - www.mnfishingconnections.com
Tom Neustrom, 21622 Airport Rd, Grand Rapids, tom@mnfishingconnections.com, (218-327-2312)

The shiners are running and the walleyes will be actively chasing bait. With the cooler weather of late look for walleyes to hang shallow before heading off shore. All the points from sugar, Ravens, mallard, to stony point should be great spots to try. Depths of 6-12 feet will be best. Vmc mooneye jigs and a shiner will be very productive or with a slip sinker rig with a shiner. Have a great opener and be safe.

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