Minnesota Outdoorsman - Minnesota Fishing and Hunting Reports
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Four Seasons Fishing Report May 22, 2016

The John Deere Orioles have flown north to their annual outing at the Four Seasons Resort. They are a group of John Deere employees, past and present, who come on a charter bus from Moline, Il, Waterloo, Ia, and Cedar Falls, Ia. They have been coming to the resort since 1967.
 The reason I mention this group is the fact that the weather for their weekend is absolutely perfect! This happens for them exactly once every 20 or so years.
 This week the walleye fishing was quite good. The fish were scattered from shallow to the deeper breaklines. Jigs and rigs with shiner minnows is the best bait. We have been lucky enough to have shiners available to our guests this year. Hopefully, that will continue. If you are coming, call to see if we have any of these minnows. It really seems to make a difference in your success right now.
 Northerns are being caught right along with the walleyes. This is very typical for this time of year. You will have no problem catching these fish on jigs and minnows along the shoreline breaks.
 Some very nice perch are being caught while fishing for walleyes and northerns. They seem to be scattered so far and the large schools
 that you expect to encounter are hard to come by. So don't expect to stop on one spot and catch a limit of perch. You will have much better success moving around and picking off one here and there. By the end of the day, you will have a nice bunch of perch.
 The calm conditions and water clarity can make for some difficult conditions. But if you keep working and searching for the baitfish on your electronics, you will find the fish.
 If your schedule allows, we still have a couple of openings for the upcoming holiday weekend. We also have specials later in the year, so check the availability and give us a call. -Four Seasons Resort 218-665-2231
With temperatures doubled from the previous weekend, anglers found walleyes very cooperative. Fish are biting, finding the active schools is key. Guides are scattered all over the lake finding fish. Anglers fishing multiple depths up to 28' on the main basin to find walleyes. Jigs and minnow working best. Colors:  Lake of the Woods signature gold, along with brighter colors such as orange, pink, and chartreuse. Anchoring and vertical jigging producing numerous limits.  Some pulled spinners if the wind was right.

On the Rainy River, walleyes are being caught from 4 mile bay all the way up to Franz Jevne, about 40 miles upstream. Most walleyes caught in 5-15 feet of water. Slowly working a 1/2 ounce gold or bright colored jig and minnow worked best.  Some anglers are catching fish from shore as well.

Up at the NW Angle, resorts and guides continue to find good fish. 20-27 feet of water is producing walleyes of all sizes in both MN and Ontario. 1/4 ounce jigs in pink and gold while tipped with a minnow has been the ticket.  Lodging, guides, charters, area attractions and more from around the lake at www.LakeoftheWoodsMN.com.
 

Pike

Photo by Bill Lindner
Article by Dave Csanda
 

With water temperatures in the high 50Fs or low 60 Fs throughout the Upper Midwest, northern pike are on the chew, feeding actively atop shallow weed flats. It's one of the best times of year to get 'em. Big ones, too!
 

In natural lakes, developing weed flats adjacent to marshy spawning bays are the first places to look. Big pike have likely dispersed to nearby main-lake coontail or cabbage weeds, which are only a few feet high at this time of year, seldom rising much more than halfway to the surface. There's plenty of open space above them to fish a variety of lures; even lures with treble hooks, since snagging weed tops isn't much of a problem unless you select a lure that runs too deep-like a deep-diving crankbait.

 

Rapala's Saltwater X-Rap SXR-14 is actually a great pike lure, all season long.

Rapala's Saltwater X-Rap SXR-14 is actually a great pike lure, all season long.

Large (5- to 6-inch, give or take a bit), shallow- to mid-depth runners are fine, cast or trolled. So are large, bass-sized spinnerbaits, like 1/2-ounce tandems. You don't need to supersize up to muskie baits this early in the season. The biggest pike tend to respond best to baits of modest proportions.

 
For casting cranks, use fairly steady, moderate-speed retrieves, interspersed with the occasional pump-and-pause to help trigger following fish. The water's still a bit cool for fast-snapping, dash-and-dart lure motions, so don't overdo it on most days.

 
For spinnerbaits, predominantly use steady swims, with the occasional pause-and-flutter, allowing your bait to tumble down into visible holes in weedbeds, or down along inside or outside weed edges.

Half- or 3/4-ounce Terminator T-1 Spinnerbaits have a titanium wire frame that stands up to the crushing punishment of pike jaws.

Half- or 3/4-ounce Terminator T-1 Spinnerbaits have a titanium wire frame that stands up to the crushing punishment of pike jaws.

 
Both cranks and spinnerbaits are easily long-line trolled at this time of year. By their basic nature, spinnerbaits will ride higher, nearer the surface, while lipped crankbaits will dive. You don't need to "bulge" the surface with spinnerbaits, nor scratch weed tops with cranks more than occasionally. Clean, mid-depth trolling runs should be sufficient, particularly on cloudy or windy days when pike typically are most active. Once you locate areas with active pike, you can always stop to cast them with similar lures, and fine-tune your tactics as needed.

 
As a third option, try tossing a mid-sized (3 1/2- to 4 1/2-inch) wobbling spoon, like a Dardevle, Len Thompson #2 or #4, or a #3 Blue Fox Strobe. These are classic, popular lures for pike fishing in Canadian waters, but it seems that most American anglers just stash them deep in the tackle box once they return south of the border to their home waters. Midwestern pike actually see very little of their flashing, wobbling action, even in heavily fished waters. You can't go wrong with a yellow-orange, Five-of-Diamonds pattern, slowly retrieved with occasional pauses and flutters. In fact, you just might be surprised.

Len Thompson #2

Don't overdo it on spoon size for pike. Not much more than 4 to 4 1/2 inches is usually best.

 

Angler instinct draws many pike anglers to the deep, outside weed edge at this time of year, which can admittedly be very good for big pike. Most fishermen would be astonished, however, how shallow some of these big gators can be at these comfortable water temperatures. Depending on the day, 8 or 9 feet might be the productive depth-or 5 to 7-and even shallower. Mostly, it depends on the depth and thickness of the best weedgrowth; the presence of baitfish; and the activity level of the pike, which is often based on wind and sunlight conditions. Or, simply on the freaky nature of big pike, which can go anywhere they want, whenever they want, until the water temperatures rise much above 70 F, sending them retreating to deeper, cooler water for the summer months.

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