Fishing Leech Lake Minnesota
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Walleye Fishing on Leech Lake
by Jim Murphy

Walleye Fishing Leech LakeThe Leech Lake walleye fishery is healthy and provides some of the finest angling opportunities in Minnesota.  Leech Lake has the most consistent walleye reproduction of Minnesota’s large walleye lakes, and current population is made up of a number of strong year classes.  A relatively abundant year class produced in 1997 should provide food numbers of fish in the 12- to 15-inch range.  Strong year classes produced in 1994 and 1995 should provide good angling opportunities for fish in the 16- to 20 inch range.  Future angling opportunities also look bright as walleye natural reproduction in 1999 was considered good in both numbers and growth of young of the year fish.

Catch and release fishing creates a great opportunity for anglers to maintain and potentially improve the quality of fishing and has become increasingly popular among walleye anglers.  There is no slot limit on Leech Lake and by voluntarily release of quality sized fish; an angler essentially recycles the fish and provides future angling opportunities for himself and others

Tips for Catching Leech Lake Walleyes

Locals usually describe Leech Lake in two categories.  The big lake, or the bay. The big lake is the area of Leech Lake that contains Sucker, Traders andPortage Bay, and the south shore area of Whipolt.  The big lake isshallow compared to Walker Bay.  The big lake has several rock reefs and points, and is a very large body of water.  The City of Walker sits on the shore of Walker Bay.  The bay is very deep in some areas and has several sunken islands.  The shoreline is steep, and the water is very clear. Spring fishing is usually more consistent on the big lake.  Fish the wind swept points with Northland Fireball jigs, tipped with a small to medium sized shiner minnows.

Fishing Leech Lake MinnesotaYour color selection of jigs should be dictated by the amount of light that penetrates the water.  On clear days use a gold, green, chartreuse, watermelon or combination of colors in a perch pattern Northland Fireball jig.  If you are faced with a cloudy or windy day use darker colored jigs in green, blue, or glow in the dark patterns.  Walleyes will be in shallow water, usually less than 10 feet.  While jigging, use the snap jig technique. Snap the jig with a quick wrist action.  Let the jig fall to the bottom and then make a slow lift of the rod to check for a fish.  A walleye will usually take the bait as you slowly drop the jig.  If weight is felt, set the hook.  If you do not contact fish after a few drifts, move and check out a new area.  When you find an active pod of fish stay on top of them circling the immediate area with an electric trolling motor.

Fish the deep sunken islands in Walker Bay in the summer.  Fish will be in deeper water and a check with your sonar should determine the depth the walleyes are staging.  Use a ¼- to 3/8-ounce Northland jig tipped with a minnow or leech.  Live bait rigs with a leech or nightcrawler will also catch fish.  To cover water, you may want to try bottom-bouncers and spinner rigs.  Fishing at night trolling crank baits is very effective.  Troll various depths till fish are located.  Start in 8-10 feet of water.

Good luck and let em go,

Jim Murphy
Professional Guide

Editor's Note: Jim Murphy is a professional fisherman who has been fishing Leech Lake for a number of years. He is well known as a local expert on fishing Leech Lake. Please feel free to check out his web site at

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