Minnesota Outdoorsman - Minnesota Fishing and Hunting Reports
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Cruisin' for a bruin

Forget bait. For pursuing black bears, nothing beats the excitement of spot-and-stalk hunting

As I came over the knoll and saw the black, furry back of a trophy bruin feeding 50 yards away, the adrenalin set in. With the bear completely unaware of my presence, there was no point in standing up and taking a long shot—I had more than enough time left in the day to see where it was heading and wait for a better opportunity.

I patiently held my ground, watching the bear's every move, and sure enough, it decided to leave the grassy clearing and head toward the timber. Oh, did I mention I happened to be right between the bear and the patch of brush he was heading towards? Hastily, I clipped the arrow release onto my D-loop, as I knew the bear was coming quickly and it would only be a matter of seconds before he was on my lap.

While making his way in my direction, the big boar made good use of the last few yards by eating the fresh spring grass, which, thankfully, gave me time to draw back my bow undetected. Time seemed to stand still as he closed about half the distance. I anchored the pin on his vitals, slowly squeezed the trigger and watched as my bright white fletches disappeared into the black fur.

After a quick follow-up shot, I had a Pope and Young class bruin on the ground and a notched tag for my second spring spot-and-stalk black bear. When sharing a photo of the animal with my hunting buddies across North America, the first question that always came up was, "Were you hunting over bait?" I wasn't, of course, but I have no problem with using bait—I've taken many bears that way in the past. But for me, spot-and-stalk adds an extra level of excitement to bear hunting. Here's what you need to know to get in on the action, too.


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Fish are active and there are limits to be had. Resorts are downrigging with crankbaits, jig fishing and drifting spinners. Schools of fish in the middle of the lake in 28-32 feet being targeted by jiggers and crankbaiters continue to heat up. Garden Island and 9-12 miles off of Pine Island are holding fish. Many great fish in the 18" range and some trophies mixed in as well. Gold, silver and white have been strong.

On the Rainy River, some walleyes are being caught near the mouth of the river and into four mile bay. Water clarity has improved slightly.  Jig and minnow remains best option for catching walleyes with some anglers using a bottom bouncer paired with a stick bait as well. Most anglers fishing the lake.  Great smallmouth bass bite up and down the river.  Sturgeon "keep" season is now open through Sep. 30th and they are active.

Up at the NW Angle, the mud between Little Oak and Oak Island has been pro and aducing good numbers of saugers and walleyes in depths of 24 to 30 feet. Work the offshore reefs and humps using spinners and bottom bouncers with crawlers, or crankbaits, as the majority of fish have moved off the larger islands onto the mid-lake structure. The southwest side of Oak and the areas around Four Blocks also good producers again. Gold, pink and orange are top color choices. On the Ontario side the walleyes have been out deep in the mud off the rocks in 25-35 feet due to the recent storms and heavy winds. Spinners have been the most productive. The water temp is 70 degrees. Many nice sized fish have been boated and everyone has been going home with their limits! The Muskie action has continued to improve along with pike and smallmouth bass. 

Anglers who plan to take Highway 46 out of Deer River should know that the bridge 3 miles south of Alvwood is closed and a 30 mile detour is the result. Our suggestion is to take Highway 6 North in Deer River to Highway 1 West to Northome.  Resorts, guides, and local events at www.LakeoftheWoodsMN.com.
The walleye fishing was good to very good this past week.
We experienced a smaller than normal mayfly hatch. Most of the structure in the south half of the lake were unaffected by the bugs. This made for some good fishing for walleyes.
The fish have started to relate to the weeds as well as the main lake structure. Spinners and crawlers seem to be the ticket in the weeds from 9-14' of water. This program produces a better ratio of keepers to slot fish. The “crankbait bite” has been hit and miss, but this will get better as the young of the year perch move onto the flat areas of the lake.
Northern fishing continues to be very good. Trolling, casting, and live bait are working right now. The fish are running on the small side, but are very abundant. Fish the shoreline drops, the deep weeds, or the shallow weeds, and you will catch pike.
Perch fishing is kind of strange right now. We are seeing a bunch of 5-6" perch biting on everything from leeches to crankbaits. The larger perch have been tough to come by. Some of our guests fished up the river this past week and had some dandy perch. There was no mother lode by any means but the caught enough for a meal.
This week is our slow week of the summer. We intend to get a lot of work done around the resort. If you want to come up this week for a few days, give us a call. - Joe Thompson, Four Seasons Resort 218-665-2231
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