Predictions Strong for Lake of the Woods on MN Fishing Opener

Anglers who have fished Lake of the Woods or the Rainy River for the MN Fishing Opener in past years understand how good it can be.  But why are anglers so positive about this year’s opener?  There are a number of reasons…

  1.  Spring Walleye Fishing Strong.  For anglers who fished the Rainy River this spring, as long as you didn’t hit the stretch with muddy water, you learned quick there were a lot of very nice walleyes in the river.  Many anglers called it the best spring fishing in years.  That great bite lasted through the end of the season on April 14th.  The walleyes are there.  Typically, some walleyes will remain in the river and some will make their way back out to the lake.  The point is, the walleyes are there.
  2. Big number of walleyes on south shore.  The walleyes and saugers were there during the winter months.  The walleyes were present as the Rainy River opened up the ice into the lake for over a mile.  Anglers who anchored up on the edge of the ice pack on the lake caught good numbers of walleyes.  The prediction is these walleyes will be in the same area.  From the river into 4 Mile Bay into the lake and all along the south shore of the lake, schools of roaming walleyes will be there and be hungry.
  3. NW Angle experienced great ice fishing.  This was an excellent year on the MN side of LOW up at the NW Angle.  Resorts report pulling in good numbers of nice walleyes and those fish normally are there for the opener.  There is structure and food and plenty of spawning habitat.  In past years, fishing shoreline structure such as points and neck down areas with some current have been good bets.

Lake of the Woods walleye on charter MN Fishing Opener, Lake of the WoodsFish cleaning table, Lake of the Woods MNwalleye in net, Lake of the Woods

How to approach walleye fishing for the MN Fishing Opener on Lake of the Woods.

  1.  Jig em up!  Most anglers will be jigging for the opener.  Typically a gold, glow or brightly colored jig with a shiner will be a good bet.  Local resorts and bait shops have live shiners, frozen shiners, chubs, fatheads, etc.  A few tips for jigging.
    1. If using a larger minnow or if you are missing fish, use a stinger hook.  A small stinger that attaches to your jig and has a small treble hook to insert just ahead of the minnow will greatly improve your hook up ratio.
    2. If using a frozen shiner, which are very effective due to their stink and shiny scales, not to mention they are a desired staple of LOW walleyes, insert the hook of the jig through the mouth of the shiner and out the gill.  Push the minnow all the way up to the jig head and push the hook through the body of the minnow.  Now, your hook is half way back on the minnow and the walleyes won’t pull off your minnow so well.
    3. Try different jigging cadences.  Jig, jig, jig and let it sit in the strike zone.  Try pounding the bottom.  Lift the jig up a bit higher in the water column.  Shake the lure real fast.  It is also handy to slowly lift the jig in an attempt to detect a little extra weight which could be a walleye hanging.  If you feel extra weight, set the hook.  Not every walleye gives you a textbook tap.  Some just hang on the jig.
  2. Get Crankin’.  Although the water is cold, crankbaits still work.  Think about it, they are still feeding heavy on minnows that don’t willingly swim in front of a walleye.  For whatever reason, crankbaits still produce in cold water.

It is almost like a holiday, the MN Fishing Opener.  Anglers are excited to get after those walleyes.  In the rest of the state, anglers are excited to get after the pike also.  At Lake of the Woods, the pike are open all year so it’s not such a big deal.

Whether it’s the MN Fishing opener or simply May fishing on Lake of the Woods and the Rainy River, expectations are high and walleye fishing is looking up!


Lake of the Woods Tourism Website

Lake of the Woods Area Lodging

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