state fishing report

Minnetonka area: Parker Sonenstahl said that while the bite was a bit slower than usual for opening day, a lot of people came through Wayzata Bait and Tackle. “A great weekend, a lot of people taking their moms out,” he said, while predicting more of that for Mother’s Day on Sunday. “A gorgeous day, one of the best openers we’ve had in years.” Fish were being caught in the shallows after midnight, but as the day went on the fish were a bit deeper and hitting jigs and minnows primarily. “Some walleyes, a lot of crappies, some northerns here and there,” Sonenstahl said. “A lot of bass. The catch-and-release opener was today, tons of people catching bass.”

Bemidji area: “We haven’t had an opener like this for three years,” said Ron Bostic, owner of Taber’s Bait and Tackle in Bemidji. “Everybody up here is happy, from Cass Lake to Winnie to Big Turtle. The ice has been gone for a little while, and Mother Nature is smiling on us this year.” Bostic said most lakes in the area have been producing fish, with spottail shiners and 3D eye jigs being the combination of choice. “It’s been busy, and it’s helping our community,” Bostic said. “I think every bait dealer in the state is happy today.”

Grand Rapids area: Ken Roy, co-owner of River Rat Bait in Cohasset, reported decent “but not spectacular” fishing in the area. “Most people are using a jig and minnow, and fishing has been good on Cut Foot Sioux and Winnibigoshish and a little slower on Bowstring,” Roy said. Low water levels have caused some anglers to have difficulty launching and loading their boats at landings. “I’ve been telling everyone to bring some boots along,” Roy said.

Gunflint Lake: Colder water temperatures in far northern lakes somewhat hampered fishing in the area, reported Mike Bartz of Gunflint Lodge. “It’s been limited,” he said. “But the northerns have been biting. One of our guests caught a 12-pound, 31-inch walleye in Little Gunflint, and I heard one of our boats had four lake trout.” Bartz said water levels in the lakes are down but that it wasn’t hampering the fishing.

Mankato area: At the Bobber Shop, Tony Meixner reported that while the number of anglers heading out to Lake Washington and the Minnesota River was as heavy as years past, there wasn’t a ton of action on a beautiful Saturday in Mankato. “Washington is getting some fish anywhere from 15-25 feet, the river is getting fish, but you’ve just got to keeping moving until you find something,” he said. “Mainly everyone is fishing walleyes; some sunnies and crappies shallow on Washington.”

Ely area: “Captain Russ” Brzoska of Babe’s Bait and Tackle reported decent fishing in the area, with walleyes taking minnows in 6-8 feet of water. “White Iron Lake is doing very well, and Shagawa, too,” Brzoska said. “Some guys are getting big northerns up to 42 inches using suckers for bait, and I got a report off of Newton Lake of some 14-inch crappies being caught by some folks who were fishing for walleyes using jigs and minnows.” Brzoska said anglers casting Rapalas along the shorelines have been having mixed results catching smallmouth bass.