Anderson: Walleye, bass make comeback at Leech Lake

  • Article by: DENNIS ANDERSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 26, 2013 - 2:08 AM
hide

Fishing on Leech Lake near Walker, Minn.

Photo: Richard Sennott, Star Tribune file

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Not many years ago, good news was hard to find at Leech Lake.

The walleye fishing had fallen off, and with it, visiting anglers. Also, publicity surrounding the shooting of cormorants on the lake as a way to help walleye numbers rebound was anything but positive.

In short, the lake seemed a shadow of its late, great self.

This year, everything is better at Leech, especially the walleye fishing, which has been good almost since the moment ice left the lake May 15.

Admittedly, the late ice-out was a big negative for area resorts, guides and other businesses, inasmuch as the entire May 11-12 opening weekend was missed — a time when cash registers usually ring continually in and around Walker, Minn., the lake’s business hub.

But since then, a jig and a minnow, or a minnow on a sliding-sinker rig, has produced walleye limits for anglers willing to put in a little time.

Leech’s bass fishery also is the source of good news.

In fact, many anglers have long argued that Leech is one of the state’s best lakes for largemouths — perhaps the best.

A tournament a couple weeks back in which the second-place team’s entry weighed more than 23 pounds (six fish) and took only second proves the point.

“We had a good day,” said Lindy Frasl, who lives near Brainerd and is an active, albeit amateur, tournament bass fisherman. (Frasl won a tournament on Gull Lake last weekend.)

During the Leech tourney, Frasl and Ryan McDuffee fished shallow, as most bass anglers do on the lake, targeting lily pads, rice and similar areas, looking primarily for largemouth.

But smallmouth bass also could be registered in this tournament, and bass weighed by the winning pair of anglers tipped the scale at more than 24 pounds, with each of the hefty fish being a smallmouth.

By any measure, six smallmouths averaging 4 pounds apiece is world-class fishing.

“The thing is,” Frasl said, “finding smallmouth bass is completely different than finding largemouth bass. So in Leech Lake tournaments where smallies can be weighed, to win you might have to figure out in advance where smallies might be in the lake, so you can have at least some of them among the fish you weigh.”

The broader point might be if you’re looking for good fishing, walleye or bass — largemouth or small — Leech this year is a good choice.

 

Dennis Anderson • danderson@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

Click here to send us your hunting or fishing photos – and to see what others are showing off from around the region.

ADVERTISEMENT

Atlanta 7 FINAL
Pittsburgh 5
Miami 5 FINAL
St. Louis 3
Baltimore - LP: K. Gausman 4 FINAL
Detroit - WP: J. Nathan 6
Minnesota 4 FINAL
Boston 5
NY Yankees 5 FINAL
Tampa Bay 6
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Toronto 4
Cincinnati 13 FINAL
Cleveland 2
Los Angeles 9 FINAL
Chicago WSox 6
Kansas City 3 FINAL
Seattle 0
Seattle 1 FINAL
Milwaukee 15
San Diego 3 FINAL
Arizona 3
NY Mets 8 FINAL
Washington 3
LA Angels 4 Top 5th Inning
Chicago Cubs 3
Colorado 8:05 PM
Texas
Oakland 9:05 PM
San Francisco
Indiana 7 1st Qtr 5:15
Milwaukee 15
Pittsburgh 1 2nd Prd 8:32
Carolina 2
New Jersey 0 2nd Prd 9:36
Washington 2
Los Angeles 1 2nd Prd 6:29
NY Islanders 1
Arizona 2 2nd Prd 6:44
Buffalo 2
Anaheim 0 2nd Prd 9:42
Boston 0
Nashville 2 2nd Prd
Tampa Bay 1
San Jose 3 2nd Prd
Detroit 2
NY Rangers 3 2nd Prd
Ottawa 1
Florida 0 2nd Prd
Toronto 0
Montreal 0 1st Prd 12:42
Winnipeg 0
Colorado 9:00 PM
Vancouver
Wichita State 30 2nd Half
Notre Dame 33
North Carolina 28 1st Half 2:32
Wisconsin 28
Evansville 7:30 PM
Louisiana
West Virginia 8:45 PM
Kentucky
Xavier 9:17 PM
Arizona
St Johns 42 2nd Half 6:24
Villanova 48
NC State 51 2nd Half 9:09
Temple 55
Missouri 44 2nd Half 7:44
Michigan 50
Oral Roberts 42 2nd Half 11:41
Louisiana 35
Duquesne 36 2nd Half 8:56
West Virginia 52
Ole Miss 13 1st Half 8:40
Middle Tennessee 23
Northern Colorado 9:00 PM
UCLA
St Marys-CA 9:00 PM
Sacramento St
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Should the lake where the albino muskie was caught remain a mystery?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close