Keeping your eye on the walleyes in Otter Tail Lakes Country
By Ross Hagemeister, meisterguideservice.com
Late July fishing continues to press on in Otter Tail Lakes Country. Walleye are biting around the area—if you can get past the perch and sunfish. It’s common to find walleye, sunfish, rock bass, and large mouth bass in the same zones right now. To get to the walleye, consider using jigging Rapalas, or spinners tipped with 3 inch Gulp Fry. Neither is sunfish or perch proof, but they may save a few dozen night crawlers or leeches and a bit of frustration. Jigs tipped with minnows are also a good option to toss into “blended” schools of panfish and walleye, but it can be a chore to keep good minnows active and alive in the 80 degree water temps. That’s right, the water temperature in Otter Tail County is sitting in the upper 70’s and low 80’s, depending whether the sun is out or not. Small mouth bass can be found on shallow rocky reefs, deep weed edges and island tops, and on the edges of sandy flats.
When you find them, they are pretty receptive to Carolina rigged plastics, tube jigs, crank baits, and any live bait you’d like to throw at them. As mentioned, sunfish are on a mission to eat everything in sight—they seem to be more active than most years, beating most other species to the bait. Crappie are active but you have to find them. Keep weed clumps in mind located near drop-off edges, and also deep weed tops as deep as 15-20 feet. Use 1/16 oz jigs tipped with Gulp to get down into cover and past suspending sunfish schools. Northern Pike have been beat up by the excessively warm water, they are tricky to find and catch right now. The best way to try and catch northern is by trolling crank baits on flats, or casting spinner baits into and around cabbage weed beds.
Good Luck fishing this week in Otter Tail Lakes Country!