A great week to go fishing, enjoy the outdoors
What a wonderful week to enjoy our beautiful area and the outdoor resources we have. The weather has been unseasonably warm and the forecast for the next week looks like we will be able to continue to fish open water.
I have been on three lakes for the past week and all have different characters for the fall bite. The one consistent between them is the narrowing of bite time for best production to be from about 4 to 6 p.m. They are all producing at different depths, and the quality of fish changes from trip to trip.
I have not had to fish any of them in over 30 feet of water. I am aware that the deep-water bite on Ottertail Lake has continued and the fisherman are getting them in 70 and 80 feet of water. I have not been over to that bite. One difficulty with that deep bite is the ability to release those fish, so for the most part you catch what you keep on that bite.
A key for me is to trust what I see on my electronics. It is as important to see availability of baitfish as it is to fish on your locator. Fish that are separated from the bottom are more willing biters than the fish lying so tight to the bottom they are hard to pick out.
A jig and minnow is all I have been fishing for the last several weeks. The Muskie guys are still hard after them and having success on both Big Detroit and Pelican lakes. I have not run into, or talked to anyone that has been fishing for anything except walleyes or muskies since my last article. This week did produce for me ten walleyes over 20 inches, with the biggest being 26 inches (all went back). I also had a run of small "eyes" in a couple of spots that had produced big fish prior, including a short return trip to try to catch more big fish that produced a "skunk" for me. They were there on the graph, but just wouldn't go for me. I did keep a few "eaters" for the table. I consider the best eating size walleyes to be 14 to 16 inches. I believe if we all practice catch and release, especially for walleyes over 20 inches, and selective harvest (keeping some for the table, but not more than you need) as well as putting small fish back (under 13 inches) we help do our part for continuing this resource for our future.
(Laabs runs Brad Laabs' Guide Service in Detroit Lakes.)