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AREA FISHING REPORT: Minnesota anglers report good walleye opener, fish on Devils Lake remain shallow

A Minnesota angler holds a walleye before releasing it. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources officials are considering reducing the state's walleye limit from six to four. News Tribune file

Lake of the Woods

By most accounts, last weekend's fishing opener was excellent. According to Lake of the Woods Tourism, some boats landed more than 100 fish in a day ranging from small to trophy size. Weeding through smaller fish to find keeper-sized walleyes and saugers was the norm. Best action across most of the south shore was in about 20 feet of water using a jig-and-minnow combo, Lake of the Woods Tourism said. Some anglers also did well pulling spinners in 6 to 12 feet of water. Sturgeon fishing closed Monday and reopens July 1.

Anglers up at the Northwest Angle encountered good fishing in 6 to 20 feet of water, Lake of the Woods Tourism said. Walleyes were holding in a variety of locations, including islands, neck down areas, points and reefs. A bright jig tipped with a minnow is the go-to method up at the Angle, the report said.

Devils Lake

The report hasn't changed much from last week, and the "shallow bite" definitely is on in 1 to 5 feet of water, Mark Bry of Bry's Guide Service reports. Look for long, shallow, windswept bays for best results, Bry said, and if the water is a bit stained, all the better. Wind has been a detriment, at times, during the cold front of the past couple of days. Expect the best action later in the morning and throughout the afternoon as the sun warms the water. Pike remain active, as well. Jig-and-soft plastic combos have been productive, Bry said, and while crankbaits also work well, northern pike can be hard on the pricey lures.

Red River

Catfishing remains excellent this week, and there are plenty of big fish to be had along the Grand Forks stretch of river, local guide Brad Durick reports. The cold front that moved in earlier this week pushed catfish out of the main current, Durick said, but they have not gone far. Cats are biting short with the colder weather, and Durick recommends downsizing the bait and threading it onto the hook to increase the catch rate. As for bait, anything fresh seems to be working, he said.

Bemidji area

Anglers in the Bemidji area reported mixed results for the fishing opener, but most managed to catch enough walleyes, pike and perch for a good meal, fishing guide Paul Nelson of Bemidji Area Lakes Guide Service said. Upper Red Lake and Cass Lake served up good walleye action, he said.

Leech Lake

The west end of Leech Lake produced decent opening weekend walleye action depending on the time of day and weather conditions, according to Jason Freed of Leisure Outdoor Adventures. Finding green cabbage weed was a key to catching walleyes in 5 to 7 feet of water on a jig tipped with a minnow or soft plastic, Freed said. Anglers fishing the south and east sides of Leech reported great action in 6 to 10 feet of water, Freed said. Most of the walleyes caught were in the 20- to 26-inch protected slot and too big to keep, Freed said, but anglers still managed to land plenty of keepers for the frying pan.

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