Inconsistant local area fishing should stabilize
We are going to talk fishing, but it is difficult to do without talking about the weather also. As of last week and the forecast for this next week, we are definitely into the start of a fall pattern for fishing.
I am a walleye guy first, so I apologize in advance if I don't elaborate on the other species as much as I do the walleye. We started September with the warmest stretch of weather we have had all summer. The water temps only peaked above 70 degrees a couple of times, for only a few days in a row this summer, until September. The water temps jumped to 73 for almost two weeks, but have now dropped to 68 degrees, and will continue to drop as highs are projected in the 50's and lows in the 40's.
What does this mean? The inconsistent -- here today, gone tomorrow -- walleye fishing pattern of the last couple weeks should stabilize to hold fish for several days to a week or more at a time. It seems that two patterns are emerging. A shallow bite on wind swept weedlines (outside or inside edge) with jigs and minnows, or livebait rigs with minnows or nightcrawlers. The other pattern is deep water off points that extend into basin areas, or hard bottom midlake humps with jigs/rigs with minnows. Weedline depths vary from lake to lake, but most are at about 15 ft. at this time of year. If the wind blows hard, don't be afraid to get up on the flats and fish the 6-10 ft. water. The "night bite" trollers will also have success in the shallow water.
As for Bass and Northern pike, Big Detroit Lake will produce for you with jigs and sucker minnows in 12-15ft. Pick your way slowly along wind swept weed edges (you will also catch some walleyes). This pattern should be repeatable on other lakes. Mellisa and Sallie are producing big northern pike by trolling or pitching crankbaits. These lakes have a slot for northern so catch and release those big fish. Smallmouth bass are active on White Earth, Cormorant, and Island lakes. Crawlers on rigs on deep weededges with sharp breaks to deep water get the nod here.
I am not a Muskie man at all, but I see and talk to some of them on the water. The bite is heating up. Most are pitching and "burning" baits over weedtops. I know the live bait "big sucker" bite is going to be working as I have had several muskies over the last three weeks on 1/8 oz jigs and suckers while fishing for walleyes on Big Detroit.
We will discuss the recent discovery of Zebra Mussels in Pelican Lake next week. There's lots to think about with this hot topic.
There have been two local walleye tournaments over the last two weekends. In both tournaments, each team is allowed to weigh six walleyes over 15" each day. The Cormorant Fall Classic was held Sept. 26 and 27, and congratulations go out to the team of Brian and Darren Fitch with a tournament winning ten fish for 18.07 lbs.
The Cedar Crest Classic on White Earth Lake was held on Sept. 19 and 20. Congratulations to the team of Scott Perala and Chad Sonnenberg. They won this tournament for the second year in a row! They weighed nine fish for 16.88 lbs. This is followed with sad news. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Scott for the loss of his wife Delilah one week after the tournament.
(Brad Laabs is a fishing guide in Detroit Lakes.)