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2020 Ottertail-Battle Lake-Perham-Fergus Falls area Fishing Reports


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Yeah trapper landed a hawg. Weighed 5.0 pounds on a shipping scale hour plus after catching it. That lake doesn't produce a ton but when you set the hook its usually big!!

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Well we weren't local last weekend but tried ice fishing in Milwaukee harbor. went with a guide and got on the ice at 630 by 655 I was taking pictures of my fish. At 722 buddy was getting pics with his fish and that's when action stopped. fished Sunday from 630-230 and had 4 bites 2 fish. Monday 1 bite no fish. Was an interesting trip.

 

Going to be fishing locally this weekend then might be scouting a lake by Alexandria the following weekend. 

 

Reports...obviously second hand. Lake travel is getting better but still random slush pockets. Also hearing more roads being plowed. if you haven't caught on hearing not much for action. very light bite and guys doing ok are using small jigs and cameras help knowing you have a bite. 

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Just wondering if lake travel has got any better in the last couple weeks with the cold weather does anyone know

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First hand yes, got real good then we had high winds with a bit of snow that set things back a little....but still better than 2 weeks ago

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Lake travel on most lakes are great. On most lakes if you can get 100 yards onto the lake you'll be safe. Its getting soft with drifts but just fine with 4x4 but few drifts and accesses are causing some issues 

 

Bite has been good downsize and 1 or 2 waxies most. 

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You know it was a busy weekend when you get to sleep in Monday morning to go to work.

 

Saturday I guided for Thalmann Guide Service. had 5 clients from SD and 3 from Kentucky. weather was about perfect for hole hoping. drilled a ton of holes to find fish up shallow. In the evening I took off to a different lake to scout the night bite. We had a huge town in our usually vacant spot. We ended up with some nice crappies and biggest was 14 inches. 

 

Sunday took off from access at 600 and instantly was on the fish. Tulibee season has begun!!!! With our groups I think we got 57 tulibee and 1 sucker. 

 

After breakfast/lunch a nap was in order for me!!

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Pardon the question if it's dumb, but I've seen a lot of photo on social media recently, particularly with tullibees, with a lot of blood on the snow. Do people tend to slit their gills to bleed them out? Or does that happen as they begin to freeze while laying on the ice?

 

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57 minutes ago, Getanet said:

Pardon the question if it's dumb, but I've seen a lot of photo on social media recently, particularly with tullibees, with a lot of blood on the snow. Do people tend to slit their gills to bleed them out? Or does that happen as they begin to freeze while laying on the ice?

 

There is never a dumb question. 

 

Tulibee bleed very easily to begin with but we do personally cut them to bleed out better. It results in whiter meat and it takes less salt to brine. Some people will use the livewell keepers and help bleed out the fish, I have not used one yet but some swear by them. 

 

If you have not purposely targeted them they are a blast to fish. 

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1 hour ago, Ando009 said:

How are the lakes west of ottertail. Can you get around with a ranger on tires or should I bring sleds?

Hardest part is getting onto most lakes not driving around. if you can make it 75 yards onto a lake your golden. Saturday morning will be cold you'll be good. Saturday coming off you might have fun. Sunday might be soupy. 

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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Creators

Welcome to FM @Ando009

 

Please let us know how it goes for you.

 

Pics are awesome.

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I must say that lake travel in the last 2 weeks has changed big time. Two weeks ago you couldn't get anywhere and now there are trucks all over the lakes. Hardly any slush much easier to travel. Fishing was pretty good sorry forgot to take pics.

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Lake travel getting better...you can thank me for buying tracks 3 weeks ago!!!  LOL  Good thing is it'll make it easier to get around bad part is the sun will start eating up the ice quickly.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well I've been busy and finally home to fish locally!!!

 

Saturday we hit a lake I haven't been on since deer hunting. Second spot we tried we found them! Gills and crappies were in 12 feet of water 2-3 feet below the ice. Ton of fish. Had to increase our size of presentation to deter smaller fish. 

 

Saturday night after a great lunch and most taking a nap we got back out. At the access guy flew buy us as we unloaded and dropped his suv into the ice. Had to get out his passenger side door to ask me to pull him out. Hey I made $5 pulling him out, $4 in quarters lol. Fishing was slow but if they came through the crappies inhaled the lures. I set the ladies up in the house but Katie was on fire, heard minnows were her secret. 

 

Sunday tried lake 3 of weekend. Drilled ton of holes from 5-12 feet and that 7-9 feet we found the huge gills and crappies. Kristen got a 9.75" gill and right as we were tearing down Scott landed 13.5" crappie. Color made huge difference and when I lost my pink plastic and put green on I quit catching them, switched back to pink and boom back to catching. 

 

Sorry if too many pictures. Scott and Kristen took amazingpictures and I stole them lol. The colors are amazing!!!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well I got out the last three days and I need a vacation from myouting lol.

Friday we fished am for tulibee and ended up with 19 before switching in the afternoon for crappies. Found a deep hole and the slabs were STACKED UP!!! Hole was 30-36 feet and fish were 18-bottom. Had to drill a ton of holes and stay mobile. Literally you'd have fish in one hole and 5 feet away nothing. Average size was 12 inches with a few 14s. 

Saturday tried for tulibee again and I think we got 10 for 7 of us. Switched to the same crappie hole and first 5 fish up the hole were tulibee lol. After a while we found crappies but just couldn't find them. Switched to 4 or 5 other spots then we finally found them. Thought were perch because bottom 5 feet were solid fish. Crappies were averaging 11 inch. Had to stay mobile and drill a lot of holes. kept enough for a supper. 

Sunday morning my buddy and I went after big tulibee and got a late start (9 am start). We started by targeting spots people hadn't been lately. Instantly we had 3 on the ice. It was weird they were coming out of the mud. After hour half we quit graphing them so took off for new spots. We ended up with 4 fish biggest two were 4 lbs 4 oz and 3 lbs 12 oz. After that we took off for crappies again. We parked the ranger and guess fish wanted to hide under it. Literally had 10 holes drilled with 10 feet of the ranger and we just kept circling the ranger. We did film a YouTube vide and hopefully the wind wasn't too strong for the audio. 

 

Sadly I doubt I will make it back out again. 

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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Creators

Well done Cody!!!

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  • 2 months later...

Well I have been slacking but we really haven't been getting into them lately. Saturday we got into some right before wind picked up and had to move spots. 

 

Eyes are switching to leeches, find edges of weeds and you'll find them. Lindy with plain bead edge of weeds.  Saturday we were pulled up and 5 min later girlfriend says I got a weed...ya not really. Measured 30 inches on the bump board and was released. 

 

Crappies are aggressive and we had best luck 7-12 feet casting up letting it sink and pull back. White soft plastics were ticket. Tried out new Panfish Pirate Ripper XL and wow huge action! Switched to same size twister tail and color and no luck. 

 

Good luck!

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  • 2 months later...

Sorry I haven't posted in a long time we've been trying to unplug and enjoy the summer with life lately.  Crappie fishing has been AMAZING lately in the lakes region.  Find the tall cabbage in that 7-10 feet depth and start pitching jigs and lures.  Best lure lately has been a white Road Runner Jig with a white feather body.  We've filmed a few YouTube videos this summer also with my buddy 330 Maniac a few been in the Perham/Pelican Area but we keep running north chasing trout.  Guys are reporting terrible conditions but we seem to do a decent job each trip we go up there.  

 

I see a lot of people when we've been out and they say fishing is poor and I feel bad when our boat has a full livewell or throwing fish back left and right but try some stuff to help.

Say Hi and genuinely ask "How's Fishing?" might be shocked that guys will tell the truth and genuinely care if you are doing well and will throw bone your way, I've helped a lot of guys this summer by simply saying depth of fish being caught.

Ask questions, don't ask for spots but ask lure or presentation technique and be willing to switch.  I see too many people doing the same thing all day.  Had a guy trolling past me all day jigging and I was doing great.  He finally asked what presentation I was using since he hadn't caught a fish.  We both were doing jigs but casting was the only way we could get them.  He bit his pride changed up and was throwing fish back almost instantly where he'd been trolling all day, he was going too fast.

Change up spots!  Don't be afraid to move and try new areas.  I've fished a lot of new areas and once you find them in a spot look at the map and see are there more spots like this around the lake that will hold them and try there.  We tried 5 spots on Sunday and found fish at 2 of them so keep moving if you don't find them.  I give no more than an hour per spot.

 

Jigs/minnows are doing great for panfish.  Seems everything is associating with weeds or deep, I went shallow and they are IN the weeds.  Your graph doesn't have 3-4 feets of weeds MIN you won't catch them where I've been.  Sunny days search with glasses on for the weeds in that 5-10 feet range and watch surface for minnows being chased. Light jigs suck for casting but on calm days the splash doesn't spook them.  Fish light jigs slowly and watch your line for bites especially when calm.

 

A good buddy of mine says "Be the BITE" and it makes a lot of sense be the bite, be aggressive, try new stuff and explore.  If all else fails try humble pie and ask another guy what's working or not working.

 

Tight Lines and stay safe everyone


CHill

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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Creators

Great report. 

 

What is your favorite tactic for late summer early fall walleyes?

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I'm old school.  I think in the fall you need to keep it simple and using a larger minnow to do all the work.  I use a 4-6 ft leader with a soft glow bead (Usually Green) with a #2 hook dragged along the edges of the weeds.  During the summer I lengthen my leader for Crawlers and Leeches but in the fall I shorten it for minnows.  Ideally I don't care if it is redtails or suckers but give me a 2.5-3 inch minnow and I'll put it on the hook.  Yes some lakes will do better with a redtail but in weedy lakes fish ambush and care less if they are used to a sucker minnow or not being in a clear deep lake.  Ottertail for example I'll spend the 15-20 bucks a minnow for redtails because it will make a difference when I'm fishing sunken islands out deep but when I go to a weedy lake a medium/medium small sucker will do just as good in my opinion.  I shorten that leader to reduce the amount of play the minnow has to swim naturally.  I'm only traveling 0.2-0.4 mph so that minnow has a lot of time to wiggle around...if I'm getting snagged too much in weeds first I reduce my sinker weight and if that doesn't work I'll go to a shorter leader.  Other night I started with a 6 ft leader but after a few broken lines I was down to 3 feet and still getting bites.  

 

Find the weeds and find the fish.

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    • JBMasterAngler
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    • smurfy
      no arguement from me!!!!!!!
    • jparrucci
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