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On the south end... A great week of walleye and sauger fishing on Lake of the Woods. Lots of limits. Good numbers of fish being caught, which includes eaters, slots and some trophy walleyes to make things interesting!

Most anglers are jigging with a frozen emerald shiner or live minnow. Jig colors to consider are gold with a bright color such as gold / pink, gold / glow white and even gold with some tinsel.

Some reports of spinners starting to work well tipped with a minnow or crawler. A great technique is drifting with a 2 ounce bottom bouncer and spinner rig.

Fish being caught around the lake. Trust your electronics and watch for fish. In addition to the south shore where various schools of walleyes and saugers are living, consider the Garden Island area, Knight / Bridges Island area, and Twin Islands where good fish are being caught.

Most walleyes in that 18 - 24 foot depth.

Good pike reports. Back bays are still holding good eaters and a few big females. Some of the larger fish have made their way to the lake.

On the Rainy River... Walleye anglers are finding some nice eater walleyes in the River. There is always a number of walleyes that stay in the river all year. Whether you like the beauty and secluded feel of the river, have a small boat or simply want to get out of the wind, the river is a great summer spot with little traffic.

Anchored up or slowly moving upstream with a jig and minnow, trolling spinners / crawlers or trolling crankbaits are all effective right now.

Smallmouth bass are plentiful in the Rainy River. Whether you are a bass angler or simply want to mix up species, target feeder rivers, bridges, and areas with rocks.

The sturgeon season will re-open again July 1st.

Up at the NW Angle... Excellent walleye fishing this past week. The jig and minnow is the goto bait. Anglers using spinners with crawlers or minnows and crankbaits are catching lots of fish as well.

Structure around the many islands holding walleyes. Shallow flats areas with current are also heating up.

Great fishing reports from both sides of the border. NW Angle anglers boating into Canada to fish cannot possess or transport any bait, alive or dead. Most are using jigs / plastics, artificial crawlers on spinners and crankbaits with great success. If desired, live bait is available and can be purchased for the day just over the border via boat in Canada, check with your resort for details.

This entire area is great for multispecies action. In addition to walleyes, big pike, smallmouth bass, jumbo perch, crappies,and muskies are also being caught on a regular basis.

A complete list of lodging, fishing charters / guides and helpful info about the area at



What Every Hunter Should Know About Deer Gestation Period

If you see a newborn fawn now, count backward 200 days, and you'll learn something about the timing of the rut in your neck of the woods



I received a first-hand tutorial in whitetail deer gestation period just the other day. While hunting for morel mushrooms, I stumbled on a tiny fawn curled up in the downed top of an oak tree. I’ve found several fawns over the years as I roam the May woods on the hunt for turkeys or mushrooms, and each one strikes me as miraculous.

This fawn, likely only a day or two old, was perfectly still—I had to wait patiently to see its chest heave a small breath– as I took a few quick photos. Like a child thinking they couldn’t be seen if their eyes remained shut, the fawn never blinked. Perhaps even more amazing, my retriever Cooper, a 3-year old golden that doesn’t miss much and has a tremendous nose, was trolling through the area and never had a clue the fawn was there, despite being within 20 yards at least twice. Though the early life of a fawn is certainly precarious, this one had clearly gotten off to a good start.

I walked off after a minute or two, committing the date of my find to memory. By back-dating from this encounter, I could tell almost to the day when this little deer was conceived. Which explains why knowing a little about deer gestation period is so important to hunters and managers.

Deer Gestation Period and the Rut

Whitetails have a gestation period of about 200 days, or approximately seven months. Using this information, I could back-date the fawn to get an idea of when its mother was bred. I found the fawn on May 20th, and I believed it was only a day or two old, which means the fawn’s mama was successfully bred around November 1, 2022. This was a minor surprise to me; while well within the understood peak breeding dates in Minnesota (which run from late October through late November) the doe was bred quite early in the cycle. This is great information as I prepare for this fall’s hunting season; while I always focus plenty of effort on the last week of October, I’ll know that, on this farm at least, the action then might lean more toward peak breeding, rather than late pre-rut.

More generally speaking, knowing the gestation period for deer helps dispel myths about annual rut timing. By studying the development of the fetuses of does killed in late winter or in spring and back-dating based on deer gestation period, biologist have long since confirmed that in the northern part of the country, the whitetail rut happens at roughly the same time year after year—from early to mid-November—based on photoperiod. Warm weather does not delay the rut any more than a certain moon phase kicks it into gear. And this is not a guess. It’s a fact backed up by measured fetus development and the known gestation period for deer.

Deer Gestation and Fawn Survival

It’s all built around survival of a the species. In the north, where harsh winter weather poses a mortal threat, the timing of the fawn drop is critical, and evolution has seen to it that in a healthy deer herd, fawns will drop when their chances of survival are highest, year after year. This also explains why the fawn drop, and therefore the rut, is much more spread out in the South, where the absence of harsh winters allows much more leeway for survival.

Finding the fawn when I did was also a good omen. In the upper Midwest and across the northern reaches of whitetail range, fawns born in May and June are simply better equipped to survive the weather and temps of their first few days of life and the coming late fall and winter. Fawns dropped too early can succumb to cold, wet spring weather, and fawns dropped too late (though rare, I have seen spotted fawns as late as September) are just not as physically developed and, while certainly not doomed, they are going to face some true challenges if the winter is a hard one. Remember, mature does and bucks will drive a fawn off a winter food source to insure their own survival, so if food is not abundant, any late-born fawns are in serious trouble.

Overall Deer Herd Health

Finally, the timing of the fawn drop is also a good indicator of buck-to-doe ratios and overall herd health. Late-born fawns typically mean that doe populations could be out of control; if there aren’t enough bucks to service does as they come into estrous, the does will continue to cycle every 28 days, often until they are bred. This prolonged rutting activity is not good for a deer herd; not only does it result in late-born fawns, but it stresses bucks as they chase and breed does for months instead of weeks. Having a relatively brief, perfectly-timed rut is the best for deer.

Sadly, I didn’t find any morels that May afternoon, but I found something even more important; a healthy, new-born fawn that not only provided me with some moments of beauty, but gave me a glimpse into the health of the deer herd.

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