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    Happy 4th Of July!

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    On the south end...  The lake just keeps producing walleyes.  Good fishing in numerous spots across the south shore, near the Lighthouse and Morris Point Gaps in 8-10' and around Garden Island.  Big numbers of walleyes also staged over deep mud in 25 - 31'.  Most anglers drifting or trolling harnesses (spinners) with crawlers or leeches.  Hammered gold is hard to beat but glow, pink, chartreuse and orange are also popular in the stained water.  Some fish are still being caught jigging on structure or rock to mud transitions.  Anglers catching plenty of eater walleyes along with good numbers of saugers.  Larger slot fish (19.5-28") along with trophy walleyes over 28" being caught often.   

    On the Rainy River...   Sturgeon anglers looking forward to sturgeon fishing reopening on July 1st.  Big numbers of sturgeon await.   No roll sinkers and sturgeon rigs along with crawlers and frozen shiners available locally.  Smallmouth bass in rocky areas, around bridges and current breaks.  Pike are also active cruising weedy bays, bay mouths and current breaks.  Both species don't get much attention and are present in good numbers.  Walleyes hanging out in 20-25'.

    Up at the NW Angle...  Until the US / Canada border opens, guests can travel across the lake and stay in MN waters.  Check with your favorite NW Angle resort for options. 

    Walleye fishing is worth the trip.  Schools of walleyes on structure, over sand and on mud.  Most fish showing up in 8 - 14' or 26 - 28'.  The best presentation is drifting and trolling spinners with crawlers or a minnow.  Pike and smallmouth bass active in weedy bays.  There are hundreds around the Angle.  Try a spinnerbait or spoon.  A complete list of lodging available at www.LakeoftheWoodsMN.com/Lodging
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    FIRE LOL that is the word everyone likes to use when the fishing is excellent so right now the best way to describe the bite on both lakes especially Oahe is the lake is on fire. Just about everyone is catching lots of walleye’s. I just finished a two day trip with the Curry family a father and three boys. Just as nice a bunch of guys as you would want to guide. They had great weather and both days we put the boat in around eight and had twenty walleyes in the boat by one o'clock. We threw a lot of smaller fish back and especially day one they had exceptional fish with a couple of over 20 inchers and lots of 18 to 19 inch really healthy fish. We caught all of these fish in 12 fow or less on small blade spinner nightcrawler bouncer rigs. I think if you want though you can catch them on minnows leeches or even pulling plugs. Right now the fish are very active so a lot of methods work. There are boats everywhere so be prepared for busy cleaning stations and boat ramps full of trailers. This is stacking up to be an exceptional year and I think throwing a complement to our GF&Parks for generating the bait and fish that are in Oahe is in order. The lake is full of bait and full of fish and great year class action for 17 to 19 inch fish. I think these guys deserve at least recognition for some of this. Sharpe is still going strong and as a result of that taking a little traffic that way but busy is the word on both lakes. This time of the year listening to reliable weather reports and keeping an eye to the sky should be a plan for all of us as strong storms can pop up real fast and get trouble started. I have been caught many times over the years so doing what you can to stay informed and safe is essential to every trp. Remember that if you see a storm coming waiting for that last bite can get you at a boat ramp with 25 other boats circling waiting to load so leaving a head of the crowd sometimes can avoid sitting under a 5 gallon bucket in your boat with hail beating on it. Yes I speak from experience .A little humor now but for sure not then. Sunscreen Bug Spray and extra pair of long pants if wearing Bermuda shorts are good things in your boat.

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    Hutch
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    WHAT JIG TO FISH AND WHEN


    We are programmed to understand that not all lure types are created equal, with different baits serving different needs seasonally for varying species.  What about baits in the same class however?  While we grasp the thought that a jerkbait is not the same as a spinnerbait, we tend not to distinguish characteristics in-class, with jigs being no exception.  That said, there is a huge number of jig-styles, sizes, shapes, and colors, with all sorts of hardware and appendages molded-in or otherwise attached.

    I have my favorites, but I thought I would call in the advice of successful Dakotas guide and Northland Tackle Pro Cody Roswick.  Cody knows his way around both North and South Dakota, often using jigs to guide his clients to quality fish no matter where the bite takes him, or what technique the day calls for.  Like with most guides and pro’s I have fished with, small details frequently reap huge dividends, so it pays to pair the right jig to the scenarios you fish.  Here is a quick run-down of some popular styles, and how to go about choosing which variety to use, and when.

    Jigs For Minnows – These two are an original pairing that have stood the test of time, and Cody fishes them primarily during the early season.  With designs like the Fire-Ball that offer a secondary-eye to attach stinger hooks being extremely successful.  Having the option to attach that extra treble for short-striking fish can really be handy, even if you start the day without.  For larger minnows like shiners, consider this option or other jig types with a long shank that places the business end of the hook further back on the minnow.

    Jigs For Crawlers/Leeches – For the most part, you have quite a few options here, especially with leeches as provided you hook them in the sucker or just underneath, you will not have to worry too much about the hook holding your bait.  With crawlers however, you will want a keeper at the base of the jig ball itself to retain the bait and prevent it from sliding down the hook shank un-naturally.

    Jigs For Plastics – As water temperatures warm, live-bait options for walleyes lose favor to plastic imitations, but you will want some different jig designs for fishing them.  Cody says, “Wire barbs for keepers will prevent everything from bluegills to bass pulling at the tail end of the plastic all the way down to the hook bend.”  Roswick continues, “Not only does this rip your plastics option of choice, it frequently causes the bait to run un-true.”  Premium models that do the best job of avoiding this issue will have dual-barbs or wire-keepers that truly lock the plastic to the base of the jighead.

    Stand Up Jigs – Use this type of jig style in river areas when trying to drag bottom, or lakes when again trying to trace as close to the substrate as possible.  Often, bottom contact can be a crucial part of the presentation, and that is when stand-ups are worth their weight.  “These jigs shine in helping fish suck that bait off of bottom, as the hook points up and back at a 45 degree angle in their face,” mentions Cody.

    Jig/Spinner Combinations – This group encompasses a number of jigheads from thumper-style models with a swivel and blade beneath them, to a whistler-style jig with an in-line twin-rotating blade.  Both perform similar tasks in creating flash and vibration to attract fish from distance.  “This can be important in river systems or natural lakes with limited visibility,” says Cody.  “I use them a lot with live-bait when fishing vertically, especially deep river systems.”

    Current Cutter – Pill-Shaped Jigheads – Speaking of rivers, current-cutter style jigheads have made some strides in recent years, as the pill-shaped and more elongated design simply offers less drag in current.  “That allows you to fish lighter, while still getting down to the fish,” says Roswick, a key component to many river situations where current can keep a jig higher in the water column than you want it.

    Floating Jigs – Of course, one of the best ways to stay near bottom is to rely on another weighting system other than the jig to keep you pinned there.  That makes floating jig head options a mainstay in many anglers’ boxes.  Present livebait in any manner with confidence, knowing your bait will float just above the snags.  Add some current to the mix, and many designs like the Gumdrop or Phelps-Floater will jog side to side like a crankbait for added action.

    Hair Jigs –  Whether animal hair like bucktail, marabou, or other synthetic materials, these skirted jigs are often tipped with bait and presented both vertically or casted.  You will need different weights to satisfy the various depths, but hair is a great way to add bulk, color, and life to an otherwise plain offering.  In lakes and rivers, hair jigs do not get as much press as they deserve.

    Weedless Jigs – Designs like the Weed Weasel and others with plastic deflectors in front of the hook point are classic heavy cover options.  Roswick who fishes the trees of North Dakota’s Devil’s Lake says, “They’re a mainstay for me anywhere near weeds or timber, and they have a heavy hook if you need to horse them out of nasty cover.”  Tip them with your live bait of choice, and consider them anytime you are afraid to throw other jig styles into the thick stuff.

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