The most interesting thing I've seen on the lake is loons flocking up to fly south. Saw this on Norwegian Bay October 9, 2018. There had to be at least 200 of them, including some clearly too young to make the trip.
I've been having good luck with lead core as well. I use Suffix 832, with line counter reels. Each color is 30 feet of line. As a rule of thumb, every 1 foot of depth requires 5 feet of line, so if you are fishing at 30' FOW you would let out 150' of line, or 5 colors. Trolling speed affects how deep your crank is running as well (slower is deeper). I usually run between 2.2 and 2.5 mph. As a check, you can keep letting out line until your crank starts bumping bottom and then reel up 10' of line.
I hear ya on the difficulties fishing any lobe of Whitefish on the weekends! Just have to get up and be done before 10am or go back out after 6pm and the lake settles a little. We trolled "lower" WF on Thursday evening and only caught 1 northern. Didn't appear to have as thick of a gathering of fish...
We went back out on Saturday morning to try our luck on Whitefish for Whitefish and in 2 hours caught 1 3.5lb'er and missed a few bites. Wow can they be fun to pull out of 50-70 ft of water. We use jigging raps but wow do whitefish bit lightly but put up a good fight...and there are plenty of them on the big lakes!!! Good fish on the smoker too!!
I sent fish them suspended in the basin areas. Do get a few any off bottom near weed edges and suspending near flats that drop sharply. Like Bobt I have had good results trolling cranks over and around weeds. Also, midlake humps with spinner rigs/crawler or jigging raps can be very good.
Panfish can be awesome. However I had trouble pinning down many nice ones today. So even they are not a guarantee. Maybe I will have a better report soon as I will be up through Thursday evening.
Well we launched there this weekend and the inspector made sure he was off the tar and parked out of the way. We thanked him and he said "it sure would make things a lot more difficult if someone were parked in the lined off area to pull around in!" WOW!!!! was nice to have an inspector with common courtesy and common sense!
On the south end... Fishing remains excellent with a nice mix of eaters, slots and trophy walleyes. Two great ways to catch walleyes this time of year, crawler harnesses and crankbaits. Walleyes are hanging out on the deep mud in 30 - 36' of water. Cover water by drifting or trolling. Crawler harnesses (snelled spinners) in hammered gold, pink, glow or orange with a 1-2 ounce weight. The second technique is trolling crankbaits through various schools of walleyes over the deep mud. Get lures down with lead core line, a 4 ounce bottom bouncer, snap weights, 3 way rig or downriggers. Switch colors often but some starters, pink uv firetiger, chrome / blue, firetiger, and gold.
On the Rainy River... Walleyes are scattered on flats and in deeper holes. Trolling crankbaits this time of year to cover water is effective. Mix of walleyes and saugers. Sturgeon anglers targeting deep holes with sturgeon rigs and crawlers or frozen emerald shiners. Smallmouth bass and pike active around current breaks, rocky areas and weed edges.
Up at the NW Angle... Until the US / Canada border opens, guests can travel across the lake staying and fishing in MN waters. There are shuttle / passenger services available to the Angle via boat. Check with your favorite NW Angle resort for options.
Strong walleye bite with lots of eater fish on the mud adjacent to reefs and islands throughout the Angle. Much like the south end, spinners with a crawler or trolling crankbaits both are producing good numbers of fish. Pike and muskies being caught casting bays and trolling rocky point areas. Smallies in their summer pattern, 4 - 15' in rocky areas.