Fishing Report May 2010
May 29-30, 2010 Memorial Day Weekend
Fishing is in full swing on the Longville and Hackensack area lakes for everything from walleyes, to bass, to northern pike, to crappies and sunnies. Water temperatures are in the mid to upper 60s and the bass are on their spawning beds. I saw a few boats sight fishing for spawning crappies in the thicker reeds, but it still might be a little early for that technique. Fishing on Saturday was decent on Woman Lake with my son and daughter. I hooked and lost a real nice walleye at boatside, but later managed to boat a healthy 23.5 incher. My kids caught walleyes and northerns using both leeches and red tail minnows, but the larger fish all came on leeches. Most of the fish were hanging in the 20-23 foot depths on main lake points. The local wildlife is highly active this time of year. I saw a mother loon up close with a black furry chick clinging to her back that looked no bigger than a golf ball. I took photos of another loon still sitting on her nest. Flotillas of tennis ball size ducklings are seen quickly scurrying behind hen mallards and goldeneyes all around the shorelines. A bald eagle swooped down and snatched a small fish near the surface right near my boat, before I could get my camera ready. A few moments later, I did get a few shots of the eagle enjoying lunch while sitting on a dead tree limb. Check out my photos in the Catch Photos gallery.
Leech Lake has been excellent on the main lake points (Pine, Ottertail, Stoney) when ever the wind blows. Walleyes love a wind blown shoreline or rock pile. Decent walleye fishing reports have come from Ten Mile Lake as well, using nightcrawlers. Generally speaking, the fishing is pretty good all over when the weather cooperates. The next 4-5 weeks is typically the best fishing of the summer, at least for walleyes. Next weekend is the MN Muskie opener which adds yet another dimension to the fishing gold mine we all can enjoy in all the Boy River basin lakes. Little Boy Lake, Wabedo, Woman, Boy Lake, and Ten Mile can all put out big muskies, and everyone knows the reputation Leech Lake has for these monsters. Good Luck.
May 22-23, 2010
Walleye fishing definitely improved over the last week, but the hot bite is yet to come for sure. On Woman Lake we caught walleyes ranging from 13 - 22 inches, a good mixture of 3 or 4 year classes. I was fishing a live bait rig with leeches primarily in 17-23 feet of water. Five of our fish were over 20" and a couple of them sported DNR tags, which will be reported via the MN DNR web site. If you catch a tagged walleye, record the number off the tag, the length of the fish, and the location on the lake where the fish was caught. You can choose to harvest the tagged walleye, or release it. Leave the tags on the fish if you release it. Then log on the the MN DNR web site and you will find where you can report your catch. The DNR will email you back information as to where and when that walleye was originally tagged. Personally, I release most of the walleyes I catch that measure over 20", although I may occasionally keep one to cook on a soaked cedar plank, which is a delicious technique for thicker filets. I heard reports of walleyes coming from Ten Mile Lake and Birch Lake as well. Evening trolling the shallows with crankbaits has been effective. I also heard about a decent crappie bite on Webb Lake, as well as crappies on Ten Mile and Birch found in the 8-12 foot depths. The coming Memorial Day weekend could be outstanding for fishing with the warm stable weather pattern we have expereinced. I know I will be on the water.
May 16, 2010 MN Walleye Opener
The walleye fishing on Woman Lake was certainly different than what we anticipated. Main lake water temps on Saturday morning held at a chilly 51 degrees, but the clear, warm sunny day was a nice change from years past. We started searching for walleyes on shore related points in 16-19 feet of water and found little. In fact we found nothing. Hardly even a blip on the sonar. The few fish we did locate were laying belly to the bottom, barely detectable on the fishfinder display. It appeared to me, the lake was still feeling the effects of the recent snow and cold weather, so we started looking deeper. We eventually found some walleyes in much deeper water, but could not get them to bite our leeches. After lunch time, with nary a nibble, we decided to switch to a slow, finesse approach using minnows. We hung large redtails on a jig in 25 - 28 feet of water and tried to hover right on top of these negative minded fish. This worked to some degree and we caught 5 decent walleyes ranging from 16 to 21 inches in length, but it took us most of the afternoon. I would suspect the warm temperature forecast for the Longville area over the next 7 days will gradually warm up the water as well as the walleye bite.
We did catch quite a few northens, along the way, as well as a trophy dogfish (Bowfin) on a leech. It seems contradictory to use the word "trophy" and "dogfish" in the same sentence, but this one was truly a monster. Naturally, we did not think to measure the fish before releasing it, but we estimated the fish to be well north of 10 lbs. We did take a picture, so you can make your own weight estimate, once I get the catch photos loaded in the Catch Photos section of this web site. After heading back to the cabin, I checked the DNR regulation booklet to find the MN State Record for a Bowfin in 11.4 lbs.
May 12, 2010
The cold weather and snowfall definitely lowered water temperatures all across the area lakes and temporarily killed the decent crappie and panfish bite, as I suspected. The crappies have moved out of the shallows, for now, but I would expect a quick return if the sun and warmth predicted for the walleye opener is accurate. The weather forecast for the Longville / Hackensack area has bright sun and high temps in the high 60s Friday - Sunday, so this could turn out to be an outstanding fishing weekend for both walleyes and panfish. The walleyes will be further along in their seasonal location patterns than typical for a walleye opener. Fishing spots adjacent to spawning areas may likely not be holding fish, as they might during a typical weather year. Look for walleyes to be located in areas you traditionally find them around Memorial Day or even early June. Some walleyes will have already ventured out to mid-lake structures in some lakes. I will be opening on Woman Lake, focusing on breaklines along major shoreline related points, as well as checking out some mid-lake bars and reefs. Depending upon the winds, I will likely be fishing a live bait rig with leeches to start. A jig and minnow or maybe a spinner rig / bottom bouncer combo would be next in line, if I am not finding fish. Don't forget about longlining floating crankbaits (like Rapalas) during the evenings over shallow shorelines and near-shore sand flats, which is always a solid pattern for walleyes in mid-to-late May. If you prefer to soak a bobber, hang a leech, crawler, or minnow about a foot off the bottom near the top of the primary breakline during the changing light conditions (dawn / dusk) on any of the primary walleye structures. See you on the water - Good Luck.
PS - If you have good fishing this weekend, send me an email and photos ObermanJP@aol.com Thanks
May 8, 2010
Snow and cold in early May. You knew it was bound to happen after the string of beautiful weather we had through March and April. I expect this will slow the shallow water bite somewhat, but remember, those fish don't go very far. Use your sounder to locate the schools of crappies and then position your boat so you can hang your bait right in front of their nose. Even in post cold front conditions you can coax neutral and negative fish to bite, if you make it tempting and easy for them. Next weekend is the long awaited Walleye Opener and I would anticipate an excellent bite if we get decent fishing weather. I will probably be opening on Woman Lake and will target prominent shoreline related structure for my walleyes. Traditional fishing wisdom will tell you that shiners or red tails will be the bait of choice for the opener, whether you are fishing a live bait rig or fishing under a cork. Personally, I have had excellent results fishing leeches this time of year, and will certainly have them in my boat next weekend.
May 4, 2010
The colder weather and windy conditions made for tougher fishing over the weekend, but the crappies are holding to their shallow water pattern. It was not an aggressive bite, by any means, but the size of the slab crappies was still impressive for my fishing party. It seems that bigger bass and northern have begun to roam the shallows, as well. I think this colder weather and cloud cover lately has slowed the warming of the lake waters, meaning we may get to enjoy an extended shallow water crappie bite. The late walleye opener date this year gives us an additional weekend to chase the big panfish. I finally got a few catch photos from this years crappie ventures posted so you can check them out in the Catch Photo section.