Opening Day Success for MN Fishing Opener
Expectations were high for the 2018 MN fishing opener on Lake of the Woods and Rainy River. They were high with good reason. The last time the lake had a late ice out in 2014, fishing was tremendous with a lot of walleyes still in the river. That history combined with the fact that sturgeon anglers were catching nice walleyes on sturgeon rigs in good numbers. On top of that, guides who were putting boats in the river and running into Four Mile Bay to make sure everything was working properly, saw good numbers of fish on their graphs. Well, the expectations came true!
The opener was a wonderful one with some reports of 100 fish days up river and most everyone having some level of success in catching walleyes and saugers. A jig and a frozen shiner was the ticket while anchored up. Lots of fish stacked in shallows. Lots of big girls mixed in with keeper walleyes and saugers. Anywhere from 10-20 feet holding fish.
In chatting with Phil Talmage, DNR Fisheries Manager, Baudette, he too believes good numbers of walleyes are still in the river. “When those fish spawn, they don’t just hightail it out to the lake. They expend a lot of energy spawning and may lay low for a while before making their way.”
The thought is many of the walleyes will eventually make their way back to the lake, but this process takes time and in the meantime, walleyes will be in good numbers both in the river, Four Mile Bay and along the south shore of the lake.
Jason Groll, fishing guide in the area took his family out (see large photo above) with great success on the river. Everyone caught fish with some surprises in sturgeon and pike along with the targeted walleyes.
Paul Arnesen of Arnesen’s Rocky Point took advantage of the glass calm waters on opening day and took his son and guide fishing in his airboat. Not that he had to, but it was something he had always thought about doing if conditions were right. They caught walleyes and were certainly notice by other boaters.
Some customers fished near the ice chunks floating around on opening day. There wasn’t a ton of ice, but about 5% of the lake still had some good sized areas of floating chunks. The small amount of ice that was left is now completely gone. One boat who was catching nice walleyes fishing out of Ken Mar Ke Resort actually anchored off of an ice chunk! Probably more for a joke than anything, it made for a fun photo.
Up at the NW Angle, the MN fishing opener was good as well. Again, the method was a jig and a minnow. The fish that resorts were catching in March still remain in good numbers, staying true to the NW Angle reputation of being a tremendous and diverse fishery with so many islands and reefs.
It was a successful MN fishing opener indeed. The weather was wonderful and the walleyes were in good numbers and cooperative. As the waters warm, it should only get better!