Leisure Outdoor Adventures was out in full force over opening weekend, fishing many of the Brainerd area lakes. Opener was hit or miss for many. The top reports came from Mille Lacs, Round, North Long and Leech. Anglers who ventured out early were rewarded with some of the best catches of the weekend.
GULL LAKE: Fishing was a exceptional early on Saturday morning but slowed by 8 a.m. Fishermen who ventured out at midnight were rewarded with many fish. Slip bobbers and crank baits such as a floating Rapalas in 6 to 8 feet of water. Fishing during the day has been slow with the water being very clear. Jigging and/or rigging shiner minnows in 20 to 30 feet of water has been the best presentation during daylight hours. Look for the fish to move shallow with the warmer water temps this week.
ROUND LAKE: Round was one of the best lakes on opener. Many fish from 14 to 20 inches are biting at various depths. The shallow weed bite was happening on the north end of the lake in 6 to 8 feet of water during the early morning hours. Afternoon fishing was best in 11 to 20 feet of water on the deeper shoreline breaks and humps. The fish were relating to clam beads. Shiner minnows and leeches both worked well for keeper fish.
MILLE LACS: Many good reports came from the north end over the weekend. Live-bait rigging leeches in 10 to 12 feet of water on the sand worked well opening morning. Slip bobbers and leeches worked as well in the same locations once a school of fish was contacted. Anglers reported a nice mix of slot fish as well as keeper fish mixed together. Like many other lakes, the early fishermen were rewarded, with the best bite ending by 8:30 a.m. Saturday.
LEECH LAKE: Leech was relatively slow compared to past openers. Fishing was best in the early morning, with limits coming out of 6 to 10 feet of water off Pine Point, Duck and Little Duck points. During the day, the best fishing came on the east side of the lake. Sugar Point, Five Mile and the Federal Dam areas all produced fish in 8 to 11 feet of water with jigs and shiner minnows. When there was wind, the fish bit as compared to calmer conditions.
EDWARD: The lake saw good catches throughout the day, with mid-morning being the best. Walleyes can be found in deeper water than is typical for the early season, in 16 to 20 feet; jigs or Lindy rigs both took fish. Nicer-size eaters were seen being caught on Edward.
NORTH LONG: Over the weekend, North long kicked out good numbers of walleyes. Merrifield Bay was the target of most anglers, but those who ventured out into the big lake had the best luck. The most productive spots had emerging cabbage beds that the walleyes were using for structure. These beds are typically found in 5 to 10 feet of water. Drifting a small, weighted live-bait rig over these spots, tipped with either a shiner or creek chub, did the trick. Others used a light jig tipped with a shiner minnow to cast to the cabbage bed. Walleyes also were caught on the weed edge, typically in 12 to 18 feet. Use electronics and then hover over the fish with a live-bait rig and a lively creek chub. If they don’t want to eat the minnow, switch to a leech or a jig tipped with a fathead minnow.