2016 MN Fishing Opener Recap

It was cold and windy, a typical MN Fishing Opener for those who go back many years taking part in this annual tradition.  Despite the weather, anglers hit the water on Lake of the Woods on many parts of the fishery.  We received good reports from the Rainy River, Big Traverse Bay and up at the NW Angle.

Walleye in net Fish cleaning tablelarge walleye with baudette bridgelimits of walleyes- opener 16Wheeler's Point, Opening day walleye 2016

With strong winds from the Northwest, many anglers chose to forego the big water and stayed closer to the mouth of the Rainy River.  Fish were caught up and down the river with much activity at the mouth of the river and in Four Mile Bay.  Walleyes were caught from 4 mile bay all the to Birchdale, about 40 miles upstream. Most walleyes caught in 5-15 feet of water. Slow presentations worked best.  In some spots due to current, a 1/2 ounce jig  was required to reach bottom. Gold and bright colors worked best when tipped with a minnow.

Both Lighthouse Gap and the Morris Point Gap also are producing walleyes.  The word is these fish are not huge, but nice eaters in that 15 inch range.

Anglers fished various depths up to 28′ on the main basin to find walleyes. Nice sized saugers are also being reported.  Jigs tipped with minnows worked best. Colors that seemed to do better than others are gold, orange, pink, and chartreuse.

Up at the NW Angle, anglers were able to get on the leeward side of islands and find good fish.  The best depth was 20-27 feet of water which was producing eater walleyes. 1/4 ounce jigs in Pink and gold tipped with a minnow was the go to presentation.

With consistently warm temps all of this week, fishing will be ramping up nicely for the weekend and next week.  We predict jigging will be the go to method.  Don’t be afraid to investigate if there is a crankbait bite to be had.  This time of year this effective method of extracting LOW walleyes often gets missed.   Give it a try if you aren’t finding the larger schools of walleyes initially.

051816 weather forecast

This is a productive time to catch fish on Lake of the Woods.  Some anglers will find schools close to shore, some will go off shore.  Whatever your method, take advantage of The Walleye Capital of the World and get out fishing!

For a complete list of lodging options and guides, check out the Lake of the Woods Tourism website.

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