This time of year as things are beginning to change and the walleyes are transitioning more towards their summer patterns, it’s a good idea to bring the whole arsenal when searching for biting fish. Jigs, Lindy rigs, slip bobbers, minnows, leeches, crawlers, and crankbaits have all put fish in the boat this week. The walleyes are beginning to spread out further away from their spawning grounds and are relating more and more to softer bottom areas where bugs are beginning to hatch. 5-15’ of water has been the most productive this week. When it is overcast and the wind is blowing the fish are relating to shallow rocks and weeds. A jig and minnow is a good way to target those activity feeding walleyes. When the lake is calm and it’s sunny look for the walleyes to spread out and disperse in slightly deeper water. Check 12-20’ of water close to shallow structure. Leeches and night crawlers seem to be the bait of choice on these days, or when the fish are in a neutral mood.
The weeds in the shallow bays of Leech Lake are beginning to green up and are showing lots of signs of life. Fish around the emergent green weeds and you’re sure to find biting fish. Bass and pike can be caught casting spinner baits. Panfish leeches and night crawlers are sure to catch perch and panfish.
Muskie Opener Outlook:
With Muskie opener next weekend things are beginning to shape up nicely. The water is slowly warming up and the weeds are greening. The muskies should be done spawning by next weekend and should be looking for a meal. Quite a few muskies have been seen near the new weed growth this week. Casting smaller Muskie sized baits around the weeds should entice the shallow fish. Some muskies will be spending their time over open water recovering from the spawn. Trolling 8”-14” crankbaits over the open water of Walker Bay is a good way to target those fish.
Overall fishing in the Leech Lake area has been very good the past week. Walleyes, Panfish, Pike, and Bass are all biting somewhere out there. Look to the shallow bays of Leech Lake and surrounding area lakes for panfish, bass and pike. Areas with green cabbage weeds or slightly greening reeds are sure bets to find some fish. Try a simple bobber rig with a small jig and crappie minnow for the panfish. A swim jig is a good choice for targeting bass and pike.
Walleye fishing has been up and down on Leech Lake this week. The fish are spread out in small schools, so continuing to move until fish are found is important. Pay attention to your electronics. Areas that have been wind blown in 6’-14’ are holding a lot of bait. The walleyes are not far from the bait. A jig and minnow still seems to be the bait of choice, but more and more fish are being caught pulling Lindy rigs tipped with leeches and crawlers.
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.