Trout still lead the way in the fish of interest in the Ely area. Good numbers of rainbow trout and splake have been taken from area trout lakes. Times to target these fish have been at sunrise and just before dusk. Small dark jigs and the new dark colored preserved wax worms have been a deadly combination. No active jigging is required as strikes come just as readily when using them on a "dead" stick. Small jigging spoons then turn them on during mid-day hours when tipped with either waxies or salted minnows.
Lake trout too have been pleasing some anglers. Best lure choices to jig with have been Chubby Darters or Zippers and the Airplane jigs and Bionic Bucktails, some tipped with all or part of a ciscoe.
Northern pike action has remained fairly steady as they begin to drop into deeper water in search of the forage base. Live suckers or frozen ciscoes seem to work equally well when fished in eight to twenty feet of water.
It's time to get out and enjoy what nature has to offer in the winter season, so make the most of it while avoiding cabin fever.
Trout season rolled out with a bang this week. Ciscoes fished on the bottom coupled with active jigging of white tube jigs and Chubby and Lindy Darters brought most folks the success that was anticipated. Trout up to twelve pounds were reported, with many in the three to seven pound range brought through the holes.
Rainbow, brook, brown trout and splake also responded well to small spoons and ice flies tipped with either a salted minnow or wax worms.
Northern pike were also being taken using sucker minnows both as decoys for spearing, and live bait rigs suspended under a dead stick or tip up.
Crappies too were being targeted. These fish responded to live minnows, as well as tiny jigs tipped with minnows, wax worms, and artificial soft bait tails.
With weather being as moderate as it is of late, there should be no reason not to get out and enjoy this cold weather activity, and put some fresh fish on the table.
The walleye bite continues to be erratic, but crappies have begun to pick up the slack. Crappies there have been suspended a few feet off the bottom and are responding well to both live bait and small jigs as well as soft artificials tipping the jigs and tiny spoons.
Northern pike action remains steady with fish to fifteen pounds being reported. Live suckers lead the way, but some folks using rattle baits and spoons tipped with a minnow are also working well.
It's time to get the lake trout gear ready. With the excellent ice conditions, we should have a banner year as anglers will be able to travel just about everywhere with little concern over ice thickness. Season has already opened in the Boundary Waters January 1st, and will open outside the Boundary Waters on January 17th.
Walleye fishing has leveled out a bit, and it’s totally doable to put at least a few fish in the bucket. Dead stick with a minnow aboard is the primary tool for connecting, but a new breed of anglers is finding the reward of run and gun fishing with small spoons and rattle baits. This is probably the most productive way to catch walleyes if you're not opposed to drilling a bunch of holes. This season’s ice is tailor made for staying on the move.
Crappie fishing is heating up and definitely worth a look for these silver sided tasty morsels. Not only is the Boundary Waters area producing, but anglers are finding that the scattered weed beds of lakes outside the BWCAW prime area too.
Pike fishing still remains productive. Try fishing a live sucker about half way to the bottom in twelve feet of water, or a ciscoe dropped right on the lake bed.
While ice is never truly "safe", we are finding at least twelve inches of ice and in many cases more than that which is definitely safe enough. Still, drill several test holes before venturing out on the ice.
The walleye bite has been slow lately and that's clearly evident with the low numbers of anglers out on the lakes. However, if you take a more aggressive approach, there's still plenty of fish to be caught. Conditions for travel on the lakes couldn't be better, with twelve to fourteen inches of clear ice topped with a few inches of snow. Drilling plenty of holes can be very productive, as it allows us to work a variety of depths and structure, as opposed to sitting in one spot waiting for fish to happen by.
Crappie action has begun to heat up and area lakes are turning out some decent numbers coupled with some dandy sunnies to boot. Set a dead stick with a live minnow in one hole while actively jigging the hole next to it. Quite often you'll draw the interest with the jigged bait and they'll turn and strike the minnow.
A few pike over forty inches have been taken with live suckers being the preferred bait.
Some walleyes continue to bite and the community of followers continue to set and adjust position of their shacks to intersect the movement of eyes in both of their quests for a meal. Most anglers are using a dead stick, suspending a minnow just off the bottom. This works very well for most folks, but the bigger fish seem to be attacking jigged baits such as Buckshot spoons and Chubby Darters further up in the water column.
Crappie action has been slow to start, but some anglers are managing to catch at least a half dozen or so, and top that off with a half dozen sunnies, you have the basic ingredients for a great dinner.
Northern pike are taking live suckers or frozen ciscoes from strategically placed tip-ups near old weed lines and submerged bars or points. Spearers too have taken a few fish up to forty-six inches in less than six feet of water. And while on the subject of shallow water, a few of the same guys spearing pike, noted a good number of walleyes stopping to investigate the decoys.
Over the weekend the lakes became a bit sloppy due to the warm temps, and rain, but there still remains a good solid foot of ice on most lakes.
***As always, check the ice as you go as no ice should be considered safe everywhere.***
It’s time to dust off the hard water gear and head out on the lakes. Ice conditions are near perfect this season with twelve to fourteen inches of pure, clear ice with just a few inches of snow on top of it. Folks in the Ely area are dragging out the fishing shacks with full size pickup trucks, a sure indication of solid ice. (As always, no ice is completely safe, so please check with someone who has knowledge of the lake and make test drills before venturing out.)
Walleye fishing has begun to satisfy those early season anglers that have been out for the past week or so. Due to the ideal conditions, travel is easy which opens up nearly all of the lakes with the exception of moving water. The most aggressive fish tend to be higher up in the water column, so break out the lipless jigging lures, and ratting spoons and get busy. If the fish seem to be relating more to the bottom, drop a dead stick line down with a live shiner or chub just inches to a foot off the bottom.
Big pike are very active during early ice and will readily hit a live sucker minnow when fished near weed beds and on the upper edges of drop-offs where forage fish tend to gather. They will stay in these shallow areas for the next few weeks until the smaller fish move to deeper water. This is the main reason spearing is so effective during early season.
Crappies and sunfish are on the menu as well. Tiny micro size baits are becoming more popular these days as both of these species rely on tiny zooplankton to make up a large portion of their diets. Use the lightest line and gear that you feel comfortable with and you will be rewarded with a good bucket of fish by day’s end.
Whether you're an old pro or someone who has just developed an interest in ice fishing, you couldn't ask for a better scenario, so get out there and take advantage of these great conditions.
Mother Nature is giving anglers a helping hand by dropping water temperatures. The walleye bite has picked up in recent days due to the falling water temps, and fishermen and women are taking full advantage of it. The "eyes" are beginning their Fall feeding patterns and have become increasingly active in water depths from 11-20'. Jig and minnow or spinner combinations are racking up good numbers in the 15-20" range. Some folks too are using deep running crank baits with the same amount of success.
Crappies too are feeling the chill and are bunching up in deeper drop-offs and can't resist a lively chub fished near the bottom or suspended just above it. Watch your fish finder to see just where the fish are holding and get ready for some good action.
Pike are putting on the feed bag as well and can be caught using larger crank baits and spoons in a bit deeper water than normal, probably preying on other species holding there.
It's time to get in on the action and get out on the lakes one last time or so before winter freeze up. Caution is required though as water temps drop and winds pick up. Remember to always wear a life jacket during this cold weather period as hypothermia is a real possibility if you should find yourself in the water
Crappie action has dominated the fishing scene lately. Numerous reports are coming in from several of the area lakes of crappies up to 14" being caught, but overall nice eating size crappies in the 10-11' range are the norm. Watching your fish finder for suspended fish from 5-10' off the bottom indicates where to put your baits. Offerings are mostly minnows under a slip bobber, but many more anglers are using small soft plastics and tiny crank baits.
Walleye action has slowed to a crawl, but those who have been connecting have been using large minnows such as pike suckers and bigger rainbows or crawlers on a Lindy style spinner fished right on the bottom in 12-20' feet of water with a few coming from deeper drop-offs down to 30'.
Pike action remains good with a lot of pike in the five to seven pound range with a few bruisers up to eighteen pounds pulling down large suckers or spoons and spinner baits fished near weed edges and points adjacent to deep water.
Lake trout enthusiasts are struggling as most fish have been on the small side but still hovering around 40-55' feet of water. Trolled spoons and mid-size crank baits are still producing lakers in the 3-7 pound size.
Not much walleye action of late, so folks have turned their attention to pan fish and pike. Some decent limits of crappies have been turning up from some of the smaller lakes. Lakes have been producing for those dipping minnows in water from twelve to fifteen feet. Small minnows and tube jig combos have been working well early and late in the day.
Pike have still been actively hitting spoons, spinners and live suckers in water from five to twelve feet. Most local lakes have been doing fairly well.
A few lake trout are still being caught with most anglers pulling spoons down around forty to fifty feet. Lake trout season closes Sept. 30th, so now is the time to get out there and do some good before season closes.
Just a reminder, bass season closed on Sept. 8th, so now it's only a catch and release fishery.
With forecast lows in the thirties, it may be time to start tuning up the gear for ice fishing.