Minnesota Outdoorsman - Minnesota Fishing and Hunting Reports

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On the main basin... Very strong walleye fishing continues with the jig bite picking up.  Charters finding limits of eater walleyes with big fish mixed in.  Crankbaits, spinners / crawlers and jigs with frozen shiners in main basin successful. 15-31 feet of water producing good numbers of walleyes across south shore with very good numbers in front of gap. Shiners showing up at mouth of Rainy River as well as up the Rainy River.

On the Rainy River... With shiners entering the river, eater walleyes showing up as well.  Anglers reporting success both jigging and pulling crankbaits.  Walleye activity will be increasing as shiner run continues. 

Up at the NW Angle... Strong numbers of walleyes being caught on mud flats and around Garden Island. 15 - 25' is a good start.  Spinners, crankbaits and jigging all producing.  Some nice jumbo perch mixed with walleyes.  Muskie activity picking up as water is cooling.  Next full moon, Sep 24.  Crappie anglers are producing big black slabs.  A complete list of lodging, packages, guides and fishing info available at www.LakeoftheWoodsMN.com/Lodging
Fishing around Pierre has been generally good for the good fishermen. The river below Pierre has been putting out limits of over 15 inch fish when the conditions are right but can be harder when either not enough or to much current along with dirty water caused by wind/heavy current are present. Since the 15 inch minimum on September 1st started West Bend has been much tougher. The main presentations on Sharpe still seem to be either nightcrawler spinner rigs or plain hook nightcrawler or minnow rigs however pulling shallow running plugs works except when the wind causes lots of floating weeds. Oahe remains tougher because there are still walleyes in deep water and shallow water making finding them tougher. A bigger avg size walleye still is coming in on Oahe so if you can find them chances are you will have nicer stringers. I guided Steve Crawford and son then worked for the Outpost Lodge on the Channel Feeds repeat customer group (another great group that takes care of it’s customer/work force) and then took out another of my favorite bunch of repeat customers the Sederlin’s Steve and Doug along with Gary Simmons from Kansas. All of these groups went home with full possession limits of walleye along with some smallmouth bass and catfish. It is always an easy guide trip when I do guide trips with repeat customers and repeat business is what has made my guide business stay around for over 30 years. I also better attribute great fishing lakes to work on (Sharpe/Oahe) in that success..Weather will start to be more of a factor as fall approaches but cooler nights should bring the Oahe fish in more fishable depths improving the bite along with killing out some of the weed growth on Sharpe putting more of the fish out of the weeds making easier limit fishing. If you are coming to fish bring some warmer jackets etc. along now as you will be glad many mornings you did. Fly’s are still around so some days long pants are a better choice than Bermuda shorts if you do not want to spend time slapping them.



Useful Tools for Waterfowl Hunters

Waterfowlers can never have enough gear at their disposal


By Wade Bourne

Several years back, a friend and I were running his boat up a west Tennessee stream, trying to get to where we'd seen ducks working. We made good progress until we were stopped by a fallen tree that stretched from bank to bank. Guess that's the end of this exploration, I thought to myself.

But I had underestimated my partner. He killed the outboard, opened a dry box—and pulled out a chainsaw. It took him only a few minutes to saw the tree out of our path. 

Several hundred yards farther we flushed a swarm of ducks from a slough adjacent to the creek. We tossed out our decoys, hid in nearby bushes, and enjoyed a steady shoot as the birds trickled back to their resting spot.

Of course that's an extreme example. But my point is that it never hurts to be prepared. Following is a somewhat random list of gear that I always keep handy while waterfowling. Obviously, different items will be applicable in different hunting situations. But any of them could help save the day on your next duck hunting trip. 



  • Camo netting. I keep a large section rolled up and stuffed in a tote bag for hiding hunters, dogs, boats, ATVs, etc. I prefer military-issue camo strips stapled onto heavy string netting. This type of camouflage can be purchased at most military surplus stores.
  • Cable ties. I carry several of these plastic fasteners in my blind bag. They work great for building, brushing, and repairing blinds, as well as for binding and fixing various gear.
  • Brush cutters. Whether you choose a small ax, machete, or limb pruners, having some kind of tool for cutting brush or trimming limbs is essential for boat-in or walk-in hunters.
  • GPS. This device can lead a freelance hunter to the "X" and get him back to the truck when the hunt is over. I prefer the Bushnell BackTrack, a simple three-waypoint device that's the size of a hockey puck.
  • Facemask. It's surprising how many duck hunters don't carry a facemask. The eyesight of ducks and geese is better than most hunters realize, and waterfowl can pick up the shine off a hunter's face on both sunny and cloudy days.
  • Multi-tool. Knife, screwdriver, punch, file, and pliers all in one—these practical gadgets allow you to carry the equivalent of a small
    toolbox on your hip or in your blind bag. 
  • Life jackets. Each hunter in a boat is required to have his or her own Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device, and each hunter should be required to wear it when the boat is under way. Life jackets save lives.
  • Jerk string. This rig, which includes a bungee cord, 50 yards of tarred nylon twine, and snaps for attaching decoys to the line, can be deployed quickly when a lack of wind leaves the decoys and the water's surface unnaturally still.
  • Headlamp. A headlamp leaves your hands free for handling a boat and decoys or toting gear to the blind in the predawn darkness. 
  • Cell phone. Most hunters carry them—for good reason. A cell phone can be a lifeline in medical emergencies, and can help you out of a jam if your boat motor quits or your truck gets stuck. Carry the phone in a resealable plastic bag to keep moisture out.
  • Marsh seat. These portable seats are compact, lightweight, and sturdy—great for taking a load off when hunting in marshes and fields. 

In short, when it comes to gear, carry what you think you'll need—and then take along extras. Shells, calls, batteries, hand warmers, snacks, decoy string, toilet paper, first-aid kit, etc. I keep a "possibles bag" stocked with such extras in my pickup. It's amazing how many times I'll dig through this bag for replacements each season.

BEYOND THE BASICS While the following tools are not essential, they are useful in enough situations to be counted among my favorite duck hunting gear.

Wading staff. I've used the same cherry wading staff for 20 years. It has saved me from countless falls in soft-bottom marshes and stump-strewn swamps. I never leave home without it. Layout blind. In my opinion, this is the best piece of waterfowling gear to come along in decades. Its portability, versatility, and capacity for hiding hunters in wide-open areas offer many advantages to those who use them.

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