2015 Fishing Opener Recap

As many of you know, Saturday, May 9th was the MN Fishing Opener.  Walleye and pike seasons were officially opened for the open water season in the state of MN.  Up at Lake of the Woods, many anglers took advantage of the weekend getting out and wetting a line.  Temps were a bit chilly but there was no rain and winds were moderate.

Anglers fished all areas of the lake and Rainy River.  Here is a recap…

The Rainy River...  Saturday was a good day.  Most anglers were anchored up with jigs and frozen shiners.  Pink and gold were the hot colors.  Many of the walleyes came from some of the deeper holes, most likely due to the dry spring and lower water levels.  Some anglers were actually reporting walleyes that were not yet spawned out.

Some anglers also fished 4 Mile Bay.   A lot of fish came from the bay as well including a number of big sturgeon.  Some sturgeon were caught by anglers fishing for them, and some by walleye anglers.  The water temp in 4 Mile Bay this weekend was 57 degrees vs 46 degrees in the lake.

Jenna Theis_sturgeon on opener_201529.5 walleye steves lucky bait river opener spring 2015

Big Traverse Bay…  This is the first year in three years anglers were able to fish the entire big water of Big Traverse as the past two years there was still ice.  This year as expected, walleyes were caught in 7 – 24 feet, as a rule.  With colder water temps, the go to method was anchoring up and jigging.  Lake of the Woods walleyes and saugers prefer a jig and minnow presented vertically vs moving along.  If you are new to LOW, this might not be what you are used to as it is beneficial to cover water.  The walleyes here seem to move around and will find your offering if they are in the area.

Some anglers jig with a live fathead or shiner.  Many use frozen emerald shiners.  Frozen shiners are very effective as they are a natural food source, have good flash, good scent and are available at local resorts and bait shops.  If you miss a lot of bites, try shortening your minnow by using half, using a stinger hook on the entire minnow or threading your minnow on to your jig by placing the hook through the mouth, out the gill and hooked through the back of the minnow.

Some anglers will troll this time of the year.  I believe there is a belief that trolling is best when the water warms.  Not necessarily.  I have experimented in cold water on Lake of the Woods over the past couple of years and done very well covering water with crankbaits this time of year.  Fish will still strike out instinctively and on certain days, this method will out produce jigging.

Some of the hot jig colors on Big Traverse were bright green, gold, and combo colors.  Glow colors are often effective due to the stained color of the water.

zippel charter spring opener 2015 walleyeDerik Boxell on water_2015 OpenerDerik Boxell_2015 OpenerDerik Boxell_walleye in net_2015 Opener

NW Angle…  Up at the NW Angle, the most active fish were deeper. Limits of nice sized walleyes caught in 25-30 feet while those chasing trophies found larger fish in 15-20 feet. Jigging with a minnow best near Oak and Flag Islands. With a large variety of structure, many depths and techniques will work.  Pike were also caught by unsuspecting walleye anglers, as were smallmouth bass.

Up on the very NW portion of the Angle is actually called the Angle Inlet.  This area has mud, sand and rock with mixed in weed beds.  Good numbers of walleyes are caught in this area during the early part of the year into June.

Rocky points will also hold fish this time of the year, and often, most of the year.  Shallow bays will have warmer water and also hold some fish.  And of course the islands that this area is famous for.  Start shallow and work your way deeper until you find where the walleyes are living.

Dan Schmidt_walleye_2015 MN Fishing OpenerSmallmouth bass_Samantha_Sunset Lodge

To learn more about Lake of the Woods, depths, reefs and structure, check out our Navionics Lake Map on our website.

For a complete list of lodging, go to www.LakeoftheWoodsMN.com/Lodging

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