Minnesota Outdoorsman - Minnesota Fishing and Hunting Reports


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On the south end...  Strong walleye bite this week.  Water temps cooling off, migration has started and walleyes are putting on the feed bag for winter.  Walleyes in good numbers along south shore with a big school still in front of Lighthouse Gap (mouth of Rainy River) in 28' - 30'.  Various schools of walleyes along south shore and also holding to structure areas.  Emerald shiners continue to run in some bays and Rainy River, but not heavy.  Anglers having success trolling crankbaits, drifting spinners and anchored up and jigging.  The fall jig bite is coming on strong.  Some live shiners are available at local resorts and bait shops.

On the Rainy River...   Emerald shiners in the river, not a huge run, but it has started.  Continued Good reports of walleyes in Four Mile Bay as well as up river east of Baudette.  Most common depth, 14-16'.  The fall run has definitely started.  Snelled spinners and jigging the go to method.  Sturgeon anglers also reporting good success as well.

Up at the NW Angle...  Walleye fishing excellent.  Walleyes being caught in various spots around Garden Island and around islands and in funnel areas between islands.  Jigging around structure and pulling spinners or cranks over flats all effective.  Crappies and perch activity continues to pick up as water cools.

Bottom-dwelling algae is a side effect of invasive mussels
By Mike Schoonveld

A recent column I wrote for Michigan Outdoor News highlighted research ongoing at Good Harbor Reef near the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. These studies could be the precursor of efforts to suppress or possibly even eliminate the zebra and quagga mussel scourge that has befallen the Great Lakes.

More than 25 years ago, when these closely related mussels invaded the lake, their populations proliferated to incalculable numbers and immediately began to affect the lake’s food web. The mussels filter feed on plankton and phytoplankton in the water and compete directly with fish and other organisms for food and vital nutrients. The result has been a nearly complete reordering of fish populations since the mussels arrived.

There are other indirect consequences to the ecology of mussel-infested lakes.

One is increased sunlight penetration as the water becoming clearer from the reduction in plankton and phytoplankton. Lake Michigan has now taken over from Lake Superior as the Great Lake with the clearest water for no other reason than zebra and quagga mussels.

Another consequence is the “fertilization affect” from massive amounts of mussel doo-doo being deposited at the lake’s bottom.

The increased light penetration and fertilized substrate combine to encourage bottom-dwelling filamentous algae to grow, spread, and sometimes proliferate into massive mats.

Before the zebes and quaggas showed up this type of algae was seldom encountered. Now, it’s relatively common, sometimes clogging on fishing lures and lines, interfering with fishing nets set by commercial fishermen or fish biologists and worse.

Outbreaks of avian botulism are becoming a regular occurrence in some areas where it was previously rare or non-existent. Avian botulism is a disease caused by a neurotoxin released by the botulinum bacteria. It can kill birds that eat invasive round goby fish, which in turn feed on zebra mussels that eat the bacteria and accumulate the toxin within them. There’s a direct link between the presence of botulism bacteria and filamentous algae infestations.

Currently, there’s no solution to control or eradicate zebra or quagga mussels completely from the Great Lakes. It’s hoped research projects such as the ones ongoing at Good Harbor Reef can form a foundation on which other plans and projects can be built to eventually come up with a workable solution.

The bite has improved  somewhat on both Sharpe and Oahe but it is still spotty with getting the fish to bite harder some days. I spent the last three days with the SIMMINS/SEDERLIN group of repeat customers fishing both Sharpe and Oahe. Some of my favorite repeats from down Kansas way and all real good fishermen. We caught limits of fish with a 17 inch average on Sharpe. The biggest was a 22 incher with many fish in the 18 inch range so very nice fish. The walleye on Sharpe now have to be over 15 inches so we also had to throw another 20 fish or so back because of size. We caught these fish on bottom bouncer/spinner/nightcrawlers in 6 fow to 10 fow The last day these guys wanted to try the big lake (OAHE) for smallmouth bass and although we didn't get numbers they got size with one smallmouth a 6 lb. lunker along with at least 7 fish over the 4 lb mark and other smaller bass. These fish were caught in around 30 fow to 35 fow on bouncer/minnow rigs. All three days we had to work hard for the fish and that is why this report still calls the bite spotty. It is very easy to miss feeding fish making for some reduced bags so although there are plenty of fish around there is also plenty of bait. It can be tough and many days still are. The water temps have started to drop so many of the Oahe fish are coming up from the real deep depths to more catchable water. As fall progresses I look for the bite to gradually improve with more fish in the shallow water. It is a real nice time of the year with fall arriving and cooler days more common. Still plenty of fly’s etc. around so bug spray and sun screen are necessary.


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