Fishing Report June 2010
June 27-29, 2010
The Woman Lake walleye bite is on fire! Every year it seems we experience some extremely good walleye fishing sometime in June on this lake. Well that time is now. I thought the fishing was great last weekend, but right now it is as good as it gets. The big fish are cruising the main lake bars and points, easy to mark on your depth finder, and aggressively chasing bait. I took a group of Minnetonka High School seniors out fishing Sunday and in one 30 minute stretch we caught 24", 21.5", 21", and 16 inch walleyes. The 24 inch fish sported yellow DNR tags which we recorded and then put her back in the water. We caught fish anywhere from 17 feet to 23 feet deep using leeches on Lindy rigs or jig/leeches combos. I suspect either minnows or crawlers would have been equally effective, because these fish are not shy. I have not had a chance to check reports from other area lakes, but my bet is that the fishing is solid everywhere in the Longville / Hackensack area.
It is a great time to be on the water up north. The loons are swimming around followed by their quickly growing chicks, duck broods cruise the shorelines, kingfishers can be seen dive bombing schools of perch under trees overhanging the water, and eagles are soaring the summer thermals keeping an eye out for an easy meal. Walleyes aren't the only fish biting, naturally. The panfish bite is solid as well, based on big bull bluegill slabs displayed in the fish freezer at the One Stop in Longville. I have not heard of any big muskie catches yet, but this is usually when they really begin to get active. I am turning around and heading back north to fish over the full week of July 4th, so you won't see my next fishing report until after the holidays.
June 19-20, 2010
I marked walleyes on my depth sounder almost everywhere I went on Woman Lake last Saturday. It appears they have moved into traditional summer patterns and many of the mid-lake structures (reefs, rockpiles, sunken islands) are holding clouds of baitfish. It might have something to do with the huge mayfly hatch that was occuring, but never the less, the walleyes were more than happy to take a leech. Most of the fish seemed to be holding in the 21-23 foot depths, no matter what the light conditions presented (bright or cloudy). Just after I caught a 25.5 inch walleye, I realized I had forgotten my camera. I had to run over to the Green Roof Lodge, where the owner was kind enough to take a picture to put on the web site this week. We caught a bunch of other nice ones as well. Based upon the size and frequency of huge schools of minnows swimming by my boat dock, I suspect Woman Lake had a bumper perch hatch this spring.
The reports I've heard from around the area is consistant with my own experience - the walleye bite is on. Birch Lake, Ten Mile, Leech Lake and many others have been providing a consistant catch lately. Big smallmouth bass can be found active over on the Little Boy / Wabedo Lake chain. I also heard that crappies are beginning to come to the weed edges just before sundown, and that is always a fun experience. Fish a fathead minnow 24-36 inches beneath a small bobber and cast it up to the edge of the cabbage weed beds that are just now reaching the surface. If you find some big ones, send me a photo.
June 5-6, 2010
Bigger walleyes seem to be the rule on Woman Lake this spring, as you can see in the photos. While we have not yet had the hot bite that puts large "numbers" of eaters in the livewell, it certainly has not been dificult to catch 20" plus walleyes every trip. Generally, for me, these fish go back in the water quickly, after a photo and maybe writing down the DNR tag numbers from any tagged fish. But there is no slot limit on Woman Lake, so you can catch and posess 6 walleyes, with one allowed over 20" (same as the statewide limit). In the Catch Photos gallery, you will see a picture of the yellow DNR tags being used for the walleye study being conducted on Woman Lake. You will also see a few nice walleyes that are typical in this lake. Based on my experience, Woman Lake has a healthy and well balanced walleye population with a number of strong year classes represented. You may catch a 14" fish, followed by a 19" fish, followed by a 24" fish off the same structure. If you catch a tagged walleye, you can help the DNR by reporting the tag number, length, and catch location via the MN DNR website. Weather was erratic over the weekend with sun, then wind, then rain, then repeat, but it was all fishable and the fish were cooperating. While I did not try and chase any bass over the weekend, somebody registered a real hog largemouth at the One Stop in Longville, which you can view in the fish display freezer. Woman Lake definitely has big bass, both largemoth and smallmouth. I did not see any muskies over the weekend, but I saw some boats tossing big surface baits in likely locations. I usually lose a hooked walleye or two to big muskies each spring when I am fishing near traditional muskie haunts. I like to keep my eyes open, and a big rod rigged and ready in the boat, so I can make a few casts when the opportunity arrives.