Fishing is picking up on Leech Lake and the surrounding area. This past week the fishing has continued to improve. The water temperature is creeping up into the low to mid 50's now and the fish are becoming more aggressive. Although there are fish on both rocks and sand, as the week has progressed the walleyes seem to be relating to rock structure slightly more than the sandy areas. Fish are being caught on a jig and a minnow or a Lindy Rig and leech. 8-14' of water has been the most productive for my boat this week. During low light or windy conditions the fish will be slightly shallower. Look for windblown shorelines and points to be holding the most active fish right now. Pine Point, Grand Vu Flats, and Stony Point have all had fish on them at some point this week. Those areas would be good places to start your search.
With opening weekend now in the rear view, hopefully soon will be able to put the ice fishing gear away until next year. Overall it was a decent opening weekend on Leech Lake, but mother nature decided to throw us a good old fashioned Minnesota snow storm Saturday morning. The ground was completely covered and accumulating quickly by late morning. It is a good thing the fish didn't seem to mind much.
Although the fish seemed more spread out this year than they have in the past, staying persistent kept putting fish in the boat. Along with being persistent, staying mobile to stay on top of fish is key right now. As always things are changing quick this time of year. 6'-13' of water was the best for my boat this weekend. A simple jig and minnow or Lindy Rig and minnow is all that is needed to catch fish on Leech Lake right now. Areas with a sand bottom seemed to hold a few more fish then rocky areas, but this time of year that can change quick. Begin looking for fish on shoreline areas that are windswept. Those areas will typically hold the fish that are more active and willing to bite.
There seems to be plenty of Bass (catch and release only) and Northern Pike in the shallow weedy bays. Swimbaits are a good choice to target both the Pike and the Bass right now.
2020 Opener Predictions
These are uncertain times that we live in, but one thing is for sure, the outlook for opening weekend this year is looking fantastic! The ice has been off of Leech lake for 5 days now and some of the surrounding lakes have been ice free for nearly 2 weeks already. The ice out and sunny days means the lakes are starting to warm up nicely.
The Northern Pike and Walleyes should be on the backside of their spawning cycle by Saturday morning when we all hit the lakes. These fish should be hungry and willing to cooperate. If you're going to be out chasing Walleyes this weekend a good place to start your search is on wind blown points or shorelines in 4'-12' of water. Both rocky shorelines and sandy areas will hold fish this time of year. Early in the year warm water and the wind will dictate both the bait location and the fish location. A jig and minnow or Lindy Rig and minnow are good presentations to start with. If minnows are not producing leeches can also be a good option early in the year. If you are not finding fish keep on the move until you do, because there will be active fish somewhere on the lake.
The Crappies and Sunnies are staging for spawning right now. As the dark bottom bays continue to warm up and the weed growth starts the Crappies and Sunnies can be found near the newly emerging green weeds. A small jig and plastic or plain hook and crappie minnow are sure ways to catch them. As always, the panfish are vulnerable during their spawn, so practicing sustainable harvest is absolutely necessary this time of year.