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Fishing Reports for Opening Fishing – Check out your favorite guide’s recommendations

Well we are counting down the days or in our case the number of sleeps until Minnesota Walleye Opener.  Our team is ready to go. Boats are rigged, rods are tied up, line is spooled, our favorite jigs picked out, and we are anxiously watching weather reports and collecting minnows.  The 2018 Opener is shaping up to be a good one and our Leisure Outdoor Adventures Guide Team will be on Leech Lake ready to roll. Here are our thoughts about what to expect.

Leech Lake should be setting up very well for this upcoming weekend. Water temps will range between Upper 40s to Low 50s in some areas and fish should still be relating near their spawning grounds with males making up a lot of your biters.  Look to areas in 4-8 feet of water that have sand, gravel, or sand/weed edges to produce. Wind is the key, so wind blown shorelines, wind blow points, bays, etc would all be places to key in on. Typically the windier the days the more shallow to go and the calmer days mean sliding out deeper.  Pay attention to schools of shiners as that is where the walleyes will oftentimes be.

Your main lake structures should all hold fish, but this time of year pay more attention to water temps, bait, and wind rather than your sonar on the boat.  Let your eyes tell you where to fish! Many of your community spots will have boats on them such as Pine, Duck, Hardwoods, Ottertail, Stony, and all of the major points on the East side of the Lake.  Pay attention to these areas and be courteous and work with the other boats within these areas.

In terms of presentation it’s tough to beat an 1/8th oz jig and shiner or rainbow minnow.  Pay very close attention to your cadence when jigging as some days they will want it aggressive, some days drug along, and other days just swimming.  You may have to upsize to a 1/4oz jig as well. Lindy rigs will minnows are also a good way to catch fish as well as trolling crankbaits early in the morning or evening.  Some of our favorite jigs are the new Northland LongShanks, Kenkatch Jigs, and stand up style jigs. Also don’t overlook using a jig and plastic as well and working it aggressively.

Finally, remember Leech has new regulations this year.  Anglers can still keep 4 fish, but one of them may be over 20”.  With this comes a lot of debate, but when it comes down to it we as anglers just need to remember the resource at which we are using to catch these fish and continue to look out for it for the future.  Also remember to be courteous to everyone at the boat access, help people with loading and unloading, and more importantly lets all smile because Walleye Opener is here!

Give us a call this spring, summer, or fall if you are looking to get out on a guided fishing trip on Leech Lake or within the surrounding area!

Happy 2018 MN Walleye Opener!

Leisure Outdoor Adventures Guide Team

–Jason Freed

President of Leisure Outdoor Adventures



Outright Angling-Leech Lake Fishing Report 

May 6th 2019 


Well, things are shaping up nicely for the MN fishing opener here on Leech Lake this coming weekend. With decent weather and temps forecast for this week, we should see water temps approaching 50 degrees for opening day. Walleyes will likely be finishing up their spawning rituals later this week, so the careful handling of larger females is good practice. 


Major main lake points and adjacent flats are typically good areas to check, depths of 5′-12′ are typically most productive. If this isn’t working, try moving to the shallow, warmer water at the north end of the lake where baitfish and walleyes often congregate on 5′-10′ flats. I like to avoid the crowds and find fish that haven’t been bothered as much. If you have side-imaging, you can often key in on these spooky fish much quicker, and make long casts in this cold, clear water. Pitching 1/8 oz jig and minnow combos is the classic technique, but soft plastics and even hard baits can produce well too.   


Crappies can be a nice bonus this time of year, and many slab crappies have already been caught all the way around the shallow perimeter of Leech Lake this spring. We are seeing crappies staging in deeper water during the cooler mornings lately. If you have side-imaging, you can locate these fish a bit faster. Later in the afternoons, try the shallow shorelines and pencil reeds in 3-5 feet of water for these favorites. We typically harvest a couple of nice crappies per person, and release the rest for future generations. Wow will they put a smile on your face! 


Have a safe and fun opener everyone, we’ll see you out there!


Cheers and hook-sets,

Capt. Phil Bauerly 

Pre-opener predictions and report:  by:  Steve Nosbisch

This year the ice went off the lakes a little earlier then last year giving them a chance to warm up a bit before opening day. The walleyes should be finishing up spawning and be looking to feed heavily by Saturday. The warming water will draw the minnows and baitfish shallow and the walleyes, perch, and northern pike will be there with them.

Pay attention to the wind this weekend. Wind blown shorelines and points will hold fish this weekend. Look for transition areas. Areas that change from rock to sand or sand to sparse weeds are key areas. Drifting through these areas in 4’-10’ with a jig or rig and minnow will surely get bites.

The bays on Leech are still pretty cool, but are beginning to warm quickly on sunny days. As the water continues to warm up be searching for panfish in the weedy shallow bays. A simple bobber rig with a minnow, panfish Leech, or worm will work well.

Steve Nosbisch


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