Fishing Opener 2019 Recap

Lake of the Woods walleyeSome look forward to this day all winter.  Others simply make a mental note.  If you are from MN or fish in MN, you are certainly aware of it.  The 2019 MN Fishing Opener took place this past weekend and was a happening place.

Known as The Walleye Capital of the World, Lake of the Woods is one of the best fisheries in the world for walleyes.  The opener did not disappoint.  The majority of the anglers caught limits of walleyes and saugers with a lot of trophy walleyes mixed in.  When we say trophy walleyes, we are talking walleyes over 28 inches which is typically about an 8 pounder with a good share of fish over 30 inches as well.

The majority of walleye anglers used jigs and minnows or frozen shiners.  On some lakes, anglers are used to moving around slowly with jigs and minnows trying to get over more active fish.  On Lake of the Woods, however, anchoring up and jigging is a very effective method for a number of reasons.  First off, the walleyes and saugers on LOW seem to move around a lot which bodes well for still fishing and simply staying put.

Second, some believe a mini ecosystem is actually created under your boat when anchored up and jigging.  Scent and scales from the minnows are in the water attracting fish.  In addition, anglers are jigging, often contacting the bottom of the lake and shaking their jig.  All of this commotion creates vibration which equates to a meal for a walleye or sauger.  More fish start to congregate, anglers are reeling in fish and there you have it, an ecosystem for angler success!

Charter walleye on the Rainy RiverWalleyes were caught in many locations during the opener.  Anglers fishing the Rainy River experienced a higher than normal current for this time of year.  Many good reports came in from Ship’s Wheel Resort about 5 miles upstream from the Wheeler’s Point area to 4 Mile Bay.  Again, a jig and minnow were used the most with success.

Anglers also found fish throughout 4 Mile Bay.  When walleyes spawn in the Rainy River, some stay in the river and others slowly make their way back into the lake.  4 Mile Bay is a natural spot to hang out with it’s warmer water, many areas just off of the current and good forage offerings for walleyes.

The majority of anglers fished Lake of the Woods along the south shore.  There were good reports from the Lighthouse Gap all the way to Long Point.  The most popular depths were 18-25′.

Up at the NW Angle, great success was also had during the opener.  There was some floating ice in some areas around the islands that anglers worked around but other than that, the fish cooperated nicely, specifically in the evenings.

Right now is an incredible time to fish Lake of the Woods.  The fish are hungry and relatively close to shore.  They are caught in the river, bays and along shorelines.  The water is cold and the fish are hungry.

There are many ways to experience LOW.  Some anglers bring their own boat.  There are numerous nice public and private boat ramps to land a boat of any size along with safe parking.

Others who don’t own a boat or simply want to make their trip easy jump on a charter boat.  Charter boats take up to six anglers and almost everything is provided.  Coast Guard licensed captain, large comfortable boat, rods, reels, tackle and bait.  Normally, an angler simply has to think about what to wear and what to bring for lunch.  Everything else, navigation, finding fish, etc is taken care of.Lakemap, Lake of the Woods

Up at the NW Angle, most visitors will hook up with one of the guides who work through the resorts.  Guides up amongst the islands typically use a nice 20′ boat, perfect for accessing the 14,552 islands Lake of the Woods is famous for.  These trip typically allow up to 3, sometimes 4 anglers plus the captain.  This is an adventure before you even wet a line navigating amongst the islands and many great fishing areas.  You have the choice to fish MN waters or Ontario waters in these parts.  It is good to communicate with your resort and guide ahead of time so a good gameplan can take place.

The Walleye Capital of the World rarely disappoints.  If you have been to LOW, you understand.  If you have not, now is the time.  You wont’ regret it!


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