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Fishing Report: Cool water temps prolong the bite

Alexandria’s Mel Koenig caught this 29.5-inch walleye on Lake L’Homme Dieu on June 3 using a leech. (Contributed)

Many anglers in the area are experiencing a similar script to how the bite played out last summer across Douglas County, and that’s a good thing for many who have been going after walleyes this year.

The late ice out and cooler temperatures at the start of June last year produced a strong bite that lasted into the month of July. Things are trending that way again this year with water temperatures still hovering in an ideal range that is keeping the fish active.

“[Sunday] I was on a little lake, and I saw some middle 70-degree temperatures,” Dana Freese of Christopherson Bait in Alexandria said. “That’s warming up, but a lot of the lakes are still in the upper 60s range, which is still in that range where walleyes bite good. It’s quite possible [we’ll see that extended bite], depending on what the weather does over the next couple weeks here through the Fourth, but I’ve seen some years where they’re done biting by the middle of June already basically.”

Freese said anglers are still finding walleyes in relatively shallow depths, depending on the lake.

“On a lake like the Chain of Lakes, or Miltona where they are catching some fish, they’re fishing 10-14 feet,” he said. “They haven’t moved real deep. You kind of want to find that deepest weed line and hang just inside or on the edge of that. Some of the other lakes, the darker-water lakes, there are still guys who when the wind is blowing and cloudy, like Reno for example, where they’re catching them as shallow as seven or eight feet. Then there are days when the sun comes out and it’s still, and you have to go a little deeper.”

The walleyes are into their summer feeding patterns where anglers are catching them with leeches and nightcrawlers working the best.

“Some guys are catching them on a Lindy Rig and a lot are pulling spinners with a heavy-weight bottom bouncer and they’re just kind of cruising along close to the weeds looking for active fish,” Freese said. “They’re catching a lot of them doing that.”

Freese said the crappies are also still hanging out in relatively shallow water with the weeds in deeper water slow to develop. The best luck for many has come around weeds in the 6-10 feet of water range.

Not a lot of fish have been caught deeper than that, but that can change as the water warms and the weeds develop in the 12-15 foot depths. Anglers can find success by trolling a small jig and grub combo or casting over the tops of weeds.

“They moved into spawn and out again just about as quick as I can ever remember when we had that week-long stretch of 80 or 85 degrees,” Freese said of the crappies. “Right now I’d say [the bite] is fair. There’s people that are finding them and some good catches are being made, but they haven’t really come around to that good summer bite yet…they’re kind of spread out and kind of hard to find. I’m hoping as these deeper weeds start to develop, that good bite will pick up.”

Eric Morken

Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.

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