Up Nort Opner, Eh.

Posted on May 14, 2019 · Posted in Leech Lake Fishing Report

Well, it’s that time again, it’s hard to believe we are already back on the water chasing those rascally bottom dwellers we love so much.

Open water and sunshine has been a welcome respite from the long, cold and snow-filled winter we just had, we actually had a couple of snow piles that were planning on sticking around through summer, but I evicted those tenants by pushing them into the sun, you could call me a snow murderer and I’m okay with that.

Mother nature was on our side this year, vanquishing the ice on the main lake over 2 weeks prior to the Walleye opener, I believe the official lake ice-out was May 2nd or 3rd, there was a few rogue pieces of ice in Walker Bay that didn’t want to succumb to the heat of the sun.

With the lake open and warming, the weekend before Walleye we had some guests that stayed with us with the intentions of going after some Perch and Crappie, Perch were hard to come by but Crappies were happy to oblige. The North end of Sucker Bay is a hot-spot for Crappie action this time of year, sandy soil and the moving water from the Sucker River make it an ideal place to spawn. Crappies have not actually spawned yet but should start any day now, I saw a couple in the harbor this morning and if they are showing up in here you know the spawn is only days away from starting. Anglers were catching them as they stage to move into shallow water.

The following “crappie” images should whet your pan fish whistle.

Pictured from L to R: Paul, Aaron and John from the Stillwater area, and the “Blanch” crew, minus John – from the twin cities.

Now, on to the Walleye discussion.

Opener was a bit of a feast or famine type situation here. We had around 35 boats sitting in the harbor Saturday morning and when they left they went every direction under the sun. The forecast was for sun and South winds 10-20mph, anyone familiar with Leech Lake knows you may as well add 50% to those figures, it made for some bouncy rides for the anglers that chose to go to the North end of the lake.

Pictured below from L to R: Russ Havlik from Cedar Rapids, IA – Sam Casey, Mike and Paul Kreutzfeldt from Stillwater, MN – Tim Kennedy and Travis Beniak from Zumbro Falls, MN and Chris Morgan from Pipestone, MN

Water temps during the weekend remained around the 47-48 degree mark, which is a tad cool for the amount of time the lake has been open, the coming week will bring that temp up in a hurry, it’s going to be hitting the sweet spot of the mid 50’s soon and fish should become much more aggressive than they were this weekend.

Changes to Leech Lake’s slot limit have made an instant impact on fish that are being kept, you can now keep 1 Walleye over 20 inches per person, after around 12 years of those fish being protected, I have to say it felt a little weird putting a 23 incher to the knife, something I haven’t done for a long time, but brings me back to the late 90’s.

Live bait on a jig is the go-to presentation for the next couple of weeks, getting spot-tail shiners has been a little bit of a struggle the past few days, many bait shops were able to track down small quantities before opener and were only willing to part with them a couple dozen at a time. I did receive the text from our bait supplier that every resort wants to get, we will have plenty of shiners starting tomorrow and for the foreseeable future – come get’em!

My advice for the next couple weeks is pretty simple. Fish shallow, fish wind-blown structure, use jigs tipped with shiners and stay at Big Rock Resort.

Featured image up top is of Kevin Luehrs of Glencoe/Walker, MN with a healthy 26 incher.

Thanks for reading

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