Well it starts at midnight tonight here on Blackduck Lake in Minnesota. This is the first year i will fish on opener with the boys which is a first in MY life. I have owned White Birch Resort on Blackduck Lake since 2014 and have never taken the time to fish the big day. We have the 70% of the dock in and plan on getting the rest in this weekend and also have 1 pontoon in. I can say i have never had a pontoon in before walleye open. Aaron has been getting all of the fishing poles ready and it should be fun.
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This year’s fishing opener is shaping up to be a great one. Ice is off the majority of lakes, and most of the walleyes and northern pike are post-spawn and very hungry. For the opener, hit the shallows and move deeper until fish are located. Use smaller minnows on light jigs, and work them slowly. Drifting, trolling and casting should all work well. Have a safe opener and good luck fishing!
Minnesota fishing opener dates for the 2014/2015 Fishing Season for most inland waters are as follows: walleyes, sauger, northern pike and lake trout, May 10; largemouth and smallmouth bass,May 24; muskie, June 7. The fishing season for crappies, sunnies, perch and catfish is continuous. Please note that seasons and regulations vary for certain boundary waters and some individual lakes and rivers–consult the Minnesota DNR Fishing Seasons and Minnesota DNR Fishing Regulationsweb pages for the most current information.
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International Falls – Rainy Lake & the Rainy River
As of late last week, anglers were doing a lot of open water fishing since all of the Rainy River accesses were open, and the sturgeon fishing was going well. The best bet for the sturgeon has been to anchor just upstream of a deeper hole and dragging a decent-size baited hook slowly through the hole. The preferred bait has been worms. Please note that the catch-and-release season is May 8-15. Northern pike and smallmouth bass season are open continuously on the Rainy River/Canadian border waters. Rainy Lake was still largely covered in ice last week, but starting to break up fast due to very windy weather. 800-325-5766; www.rainylake.org
Lake Kabetogama will be fishable for opening day, with all or nearly all of the ice off the lake! Fishing will be great for post spawn northern pike, and most walleyes should be post-spawn as well. 800-524-9085; www.kabetogama.com
Duluth/Grand Marais – Lake Superior
All three creel clerks were out interviewing anglers last weekend. Along the Lower Shore of Lake Superior, water temperatures were in the mid-30s in the mornings and rising to upper 30s to low 40s by afternoon. Flows were moderate and stable, with some color to the water. Anglers took advantage of the decent weather and fishing pressure was moderate to high. Interviewed anglers landed 15 Kamloops, 12 steelhead, and 1 coho salmon. Along the Middle Shore, rivers were running fairly high and some portions were not very accessible to anglers. Water temperatures were in the upper 30s to about 44 degrees in the afternoons. Fishing pressure was light and interviewed anglers landed 2 steelhead, with other anglers reporting some fish hooked but not landed. Along the Upper Shore, snowmelt continues to keep rivers high and fairly turbid, especially in the afternoons. Some ice remains along the margins of some of the rivers but has diminished greatly, making access to fishable areas much better than last week. Water temperatures were 34-38 degrees. Fishing pressure was light and interviewed anglers landed 1 steelhead. Through 5/5, trap totals are 82 steelhead and 3 Kamloops at the Knife River, and 36 Kamloops and 1 steelhead at the French River. Rivers are still too cool for smelt to run, and ice is still packed along the beaches in Duluth. For more on the smelt run, refer to the “Smelt on the North Shore” fact sheet.
By mid-week, all smaller lakes and rivers in the Grand Rapids vicinity were completely open. Larger lakes such as Pokegama, Bowstring, and Winnie looked promising for the weekend opener. Anglers hoping to land walleyes on opening day should look to traditional shallow water locations less than ten feet deep, including rock structure, river mouths, weed beds, areas with current and warmer water locations where walleyes have spawned and are transitioning to post spawn structure. A jig tipped with a spottail shiner, golden shiner or fathead chub will be the best presentation. Use a light 1/8th or 1/16th ounce jig and a slow to medium jigging technique while bouncing off bottom. Try drifting, trolling and casting in these locations, keeping your boat to no more than .7 mph. Have a safe opener and good luck fishing! www.visitgrandrapids.com
Baudette – Lake of the Woods & the Rainy River
Sturgeon anglers are reporting strong numbers of walleyes in the Rainy River and in 4 Mile Bay where the walleyes are hitting sturgeon rigs. Northern pike fishing has been good along the weed beds and dock areas on the river banks. Zippel Bay and 4 Mile Bay are producing lots of fish, with spoons or rigs with dead bait and smelt working best. Large post-spawn pike measuring more than 40 inches have been common. On the Rainy River, sturgeon have been easy to find, with lots of larger fish coming from the deep pockets. Use 5/0 circle hooks and a 4- to 5-ounce no roll sinker baited with a mix of crawlers and frozen shiners. Ice is out a few miles past the Lighthouse Gap beyond Pine Island. Open water is also visible past Zippel Bay and on to the west. Please note that as of the middle of this week, resorts still had some openings for opening weekend! 800-382-FISH;www.lakeofthewoodsmn.com
There will be open water on some lakes in the Bemidji area when the fishing season opens on Saturday, May 10th. Which ones remains the question. Early this week, most of the larger area lakes such as Bemidji, Cass, Winnibigoshish and Upper Red still had some ice. Many of the public accesses may not have docks in the water when the season opens. Docks don’t go in until the ice is off the lakes and it takes more than a few days to get all of the docks in the lakes. Anglers should be prepared to launch their boats without the aid of a dock, especially if they plan to fish a lake where the ice has only been off a day or two when the season opens. Anglers will have the best chance for success in the lakes with the warmest water on the opener. Areas close to inlets and outlets are often the key areas on the opener because post spawn walleyes will travel through those areas as they return to their home lakes. Jigs and minnows are the “go-to” presentation for walleyes early in the season. Slow presentations in areas with rocks, emerging weeds or some current are often best. Slip-bobbers with live bait are another good option once anglers find an area holding active fish. Local bait stores will have the most current information on the lakes, so anglers should ask their questions when getting their bait for the opener. 877-250-5959; www.visitbemidji.com
Bena -Lake Winnibigoshish
The ice took a beating May 7, and Cutfoot Sioux is now open. The main lake has just a bit of ice on the southwest shore from Townsite up to about Mallard Point. Current rain and winds will wipe out any lingering ice by the opener this weekend. Look for a good bite now that the spawn in Cutfoot is just about over. Lots of fish back at the north side of the lake. www.lakewinnie.net
Walker – Leech Lake
Earlier this week, anglers were wondering whether Leech Lake’s Walker Bay would be free of ice for this weekend’s opener, but the forecasted warmer temperatures and rain made the outlook promising. Walleye numbers on Leech Lake are strong throughout the lake following several excellent year classes, and this should be a great walleye opener and season. Because of the late ice off, the majority of walleyes will probably be located along the long shallow shoreline breaks and points where the wind blows inward. Try a jig and minnow or a Lindy type rig set up for the most fish. Jigs should be light, with 1/8 to 1/4 ounce jigs in dark green or lime green being best, especially when tipped with a spot-tail shiner or fathead minnows. Areas to check out include Walker Bay, Cedar Point, and Steamboat Bay at Mounds Point. In the big lake, use the wind to determine the best locations, and consider the big lake side of the Narrows from Oak Point to Star Point. Pine Point from Grand Vu Lodge into Traders Bay will also draw many anglers. Again, depending on wind direction, check out Big Hardwood, first and second Duck Points, Stoney Point and Ottertail Point. 800-833-1118;www.leech-lake.com
As of May 1, the ice was off the lakes, the loons had returned, and the fish were biting! Long and Fish Hook lakes were two hot spots last weekend, and should be excellent for this weekend’s opener! 800-247-0054; www.parkrapids.com
All lakes in the Detroit Lakes area have been ice free for about a week. Water temperatures range from 48-53 degrees depending on lake and location. Sunnies and crappies are starting to move to the warmest of the shallow water locations close to healthy weeds. Small jigs or hooks under bobbers and tipped with small minnows should be best, especially if fished halfway down. For panfish, try small jigs with plastics or minnows. If shiner minnows are difficult to find, try fatheads or small suckers for the walleyes. Jigs and live bait rigs tipped with bait fished near river inlets and outlets, on the edges of large flats, and at the extending points into main lake areas should be best for walleyes and northern pike, especially if these areas have hard bottom consisting of gravel and new weed growth. Move and fish slowly, start shallow and move deeper until fish are contacted. 800-542-3992;www.visitdetroitlakes.com
Otter Tail Lakes Country
The water in the back bays of the smaller lakes is approaching 60 degrees when the sun is out, dropping to roughly 54 degrees at night and when it’s cloudy. A few of the clearer bays recently produced good numbers of panfish; if you don’t find fish within 10 minutes, they’re probably not there just yet. Early in the season be sure to use light 1/32- or 1/64-ounce jigs, as well as a slow approach. One method that has proven very successful over the last few days has been a white 1/32 once hair-jig tipped with pink Gulp fry. Over the opener this weekend, check out the warmer waters where the walleye and northern pike will have completed their spawn first. Instead of being focused on reproduction, they will be concentrating on feeding! Walleyes that have spawned even 3-4 days before other walleyes will be much more likely to eat. Shiner minnows should be your number one bait on most lakes in the county, especially on those larger than 1,000 acres. Be aware, however, that not all lakes have lake shiners so the fish may not recognize them. If this is the case, especially on the smaller area lakes, then nightcrawlers are a good choice. You may also want to bring along some leeches. Jigs and lindy rig style presentations should both work well. One recommended approach is to troll a lindy rig with a 5 foot leader until you get a bite or catch a fish, then switch over to jigs. Keep boat speeds to a minimum. Opening weekend is a perfect time to use blue, chartreuse, glow, pink, or florescent green. 800-423-4571; www.ottertailcountry.com
Crappies have moved into the Starbuck Marina area of Lake Minnewaska. Anglers having the most success are using brightly colored tube jigs with minnows or sliver wigglers. Fish Hatchery Bay on the Glenwood side was also producing lots of fish. Other lakes to check out include Pelican, Pocket, Rachel and Reno. www.glenwoodlakesarea.org
Ice has left the lakes in the Pine River area and all accesses are open and ready for the Minnesota Fishing Opener! With water temperatures still in the mid-forties, look for walleyes to respond best to light presentations. Expect them to be schooled near spawning areas in shallow to very shallow water, depending on how bright the day the opener turns out to be. Small ¼-ounce jigs tipped with shiner or fathead minnow should be best. When jig fishing, tie a two-way barrel swivel to the end of your line and then attach a 2-foot long, six pound test monofilament leader for your jig. This will eliminate a lot of twisted line caused by jigging. Northern pike anglers should find active fish at the shallow side of the weedlines in 8-12 feet of water. A jig and minnow also works well for pike, and slower presentation works best for both species. Crappies will also be moving to the back of the shallow water bays and inlets. For crappies, hit 1-2 foot depths using a small crappie jig and minnow under a bobber. 800-728-6926; http://www.pinerivermn.com
Whitefish Chain of Lakes Area
Ice is off the lakes and the Whitefish Chain is ready for the opener! The crappies and sunnies are moving into the smaller bays. Anglers report good numbers of both species, with lots of nice-sized crappies being taken. For walleye over the opener, try working the shallows, such as depths of 3-8 feet, early and late in the day. During the afternoon hours, move out a little deeper. Smaller minnows are best when the water is still cold, and jigs should be worked slowly. www.whitefish.org
Brainerd Lakes Area
All the lakes in the Brainerd Lakes Area are ice free. The last ice left Gull Lake the very end of April. The rivers and creeks were full of walleyes last weekend, and the spawn was still going strong on a few of the rivers as of Tuesday. Expect the majority of the walleyes to be relating to current areas. Key locations will be the rivers and creeks which connect one major lake to another. Prime locations include the bridge on the northern end of Gull Lake near Zorba’s Restaurant. There is a fishing bridge located on the southern side of the bridge which is open to the public. While the south side of the bridge is good, the northern side is even better. For the most fish, use a jig tipped with a spot tail shiner. The best crappie action is just around the corner. The 67th Annual Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener will be hosted in the Brainerd Lakes Area this week and weekend, with the headquarters at Grand View Lodge. The Minnesota Fishing Opener is Saturday, May 10, with events planned for guests and participants in the governor’s opener from Thursday, May 8, through Sunday, May 11. The public is invited to a free Community Picnic on Friday, May 9, in downtown Nisswa.800-450-2838; www.explorebrainerdlakes.com
Isle/Onamia – Lake Mille Lacs
Ice went off the lake on May 7, just in time for the opener. There has been a big push today to get the docks and reef markers out prior to the opener. There is an excellent population of keeper-size walleyes so anglers are very hopeful. Look to the shallower waters that warm first. Some of the warmest water is typically found on the north end in the sand around Big Point and Vineland Bay. Keep your presentation slow, small and shallow. Shiners and medium-sized leeches should work best. 888 -350-2692; www.millelacs.com
Willmar Lakes Area
Northeast Metro/Chisago Lakes Area
Anglers are taking lots of nice crappies from the channel on Chisago Lake. The best bet is to use waxies, crappie minnows or plastics on tiny jigs in 4-12 feet of water. Good-size crappies are also being pulled from South Lindstrom Lake, with depths of 4-10 feet being best. The St. Croix River has been producing a few walleyes on fatheads and rainbows. 651/257-1177;www.chisagolakeschamber.com
On Lake Waconia, crappies are coming from slightly deeper waters than normal for this time of year. Anglers having the most success are hitting 15 plus feet of water using crappie minnows anywhere from 1 –6 feet off the bottom. Some of the better locations include Waconia and Cemetery bays. This weekend, walleye anglers should hit the shallows casting rapalas or spinnerbaits, or try jigging with leeches and nightcrawlers. 952/442-5812; www.destinationwaconia.org
Lanesboro -Southeast Bluff Country Trout Streams
As of May 7, conditions were clear and normal for most area rivers and streams. Forestville Creek, the South Branch Root River at Forestville State Park, and the South Branch Root River at Lanesboro remained slightly high. Area fisheries staff reported that conditions were great overall. Dark Hendrickson’s were observed hatching this past weekend. Hendrickson nymphs were observed in the fish buckets while electrofishing. As updates on stream conditions become available, they are posted on the Southeast Minnesota Stream Conditions web page. You are also welcome to call the office for updates at 507-467-2442. Before traveling, please check out the new detailed fishing easement maps. 800-944-2670; www.lanesboro.com
Albert Lea Area Lakes
Fountain Lake is giving up lots of sunnies and crappies, especially near the Brookside Boat Landing. Anglers are having the most success using wax worms. 800-345-8414; www.albertleatourism.org
Fairmont Area Lakes
Amber Lake is giving up crappies to anglers using jig and minnow combinations in 8-12 feet of water. Quite a few catfish are also being taken. Reports from George Lake have been similar. Hall Lake has been pretty slow, but should be good location for the walleye opener. Budd Lake is producing lots of crappies and bluegills in depths of 8-12 feet during the day, and in shallower waters during early morning and evening hours. Sisseton Lake anglers are pulling crappies and bluegills from similar depths. Tuttle Lake anglers are finding lots of bullheads, along with a few border opener walleye this past weekend. The surface water temperature was 54 degrees on May 5. 800-657-3280;www.fairmontcvb.com
Ortonville -Big Stone Lake
As of Sunday, May 4, fishing on Big Stone Lake had been a challenge due to strong winds. Luckily, the wind settled down a bit by dusk most evenings, giving anglers a chance to catch some fish. Shoreline anglers seemed to do the best, taking a few walleyes here and there during low light hours. The best approach was to pitch a jig and minnow into the rocks. A few anglers tried trolling crankbaits through cloudy waters with limited success. This week’s warmer temperatures should help anglers catch more fish. 800-568-5722; www.bigstonelake.com
Will we be ice fishing on Easter Sunday this year or will the shore start to melt by then? It looks like some of the coldest weather we have seen in April. I do really think we will be on the ice for a family Easter fishing trip.
It is always here on the resort this time of the year and with the late spring it makes it even more stressfull. We have to get so many things ready before the firsts guests come. The reunion homes are going to get their yearly spring cleaning starting this week. I do have a lot of yard work to get done but there is still snow in the shady spots so that will wait until it is all gone.
The Blackduck river is really flowing now with the nice warm days we have had this past week. Here on the resort things are really drying up nice for the spring thaw. Most of the snow is really melting and should be gone by the end of this next week.
The lake is really holding up for ice fishing for another week it looks like. The perch have really been biting and are around 10″ or better. I look for the walleye opener on May 10th should be excellent this year.
All of the reunion homes are all getting a good cleaning before the summer rental season begins in a month. I have along list of things that need to be fixed,replaced or checked on all of the reunion homes.
Here in Northern Minnesota we offer some great spring break getaways for everyone. Our luxury 6 bedroom homes come with a 12 person hot tub for the winter time blues. All of our six bedroom homes are 5 star accomadations and will make that special weekend something you will remember. There are alos smaller ctudio suites for the couples that want to find an excape from the daily routine of life.
Check out www.whitebirchrsort.net
Here in the sring we have always another season. Whne the winter finally breaks from its grip we go into mud season. A lot of people do not understand the frozen ground thaw and the way it works. The ground freezes 6′ down during the winter and then in the spring the sun will start to warm the surface and the mud season starts. Some years here at the resort we can go a month before it will completely thaw. It needs to thaw all the way for the melting snow to have some place to soak into instead of running off and making everyhting stay wet. It looks like we will be getting some rain this weekend which is the best for breaking the grip on the frozen ground.
Check out our resort at www.whitebirchresort.net
Today we are still ice fishing here on Blackduck lake and it is April 8th. The ice is still 3′ thick and we are still driving trucks out there. The snow is going away pretty quick since these alst few warm days and tomorrow reaching close to 70* it should almost be gone.
I am going to start working on all of the resort spring to do list since we have to have the everything ready for May 9th and walleye opener May 10th. We will have to see if the ice will be gone before then or if it will be like last year.
All of our cacation homes where stained last fall so they are done on the outside but need some minor repairs on the inside. I do need to repair one of the hot tubs in the reunion homes when it warms up. It needs a new skim coat of cement since it seems to be leaking a little.
The grounds on the resort is drying up pretty good and the “mud season” might be short this spring.
I am still catching perch and crappie thru the ice.There is over 3′ of ice out there and it is going to take a while to melt. I look to be driving on the lake for another 3 weeks.
Some great fishing is still going on here. Check out all the specials at www.whitebirchresort.net
Today i plowed the resort for 6 hours and have about half the resort done. Hopefully i can get the rest done tomorrow if the old jeep will start in the morning. There should be some good snowmobiling this year with all the early snow.
The hot tubs sure a big hit when the weather turns cold. Nothing better than jumping into 100* water when it is -20 outside.
Check it out www.whitebirchresort.net