While walleye fishing has slowed somewhat, anglers are still able to harvest other species like pike and crappies with some success.
The pike have been active in five to fifteen feet of water especially along weed edges. Spinner baits and big crank baits are a must for this style of fishing and the payoff has been big for some folks, with fish to eighteen pounds coming to the boat. Many others in the three to five pound range are common and will fill the bill for a good lakeside dinner.
Some folks have had some decent crappie limits. Small minnows fished under a slip bobber have been working well, but many anglers are relying on soft baits on a jig to turn the fish on. Try working the reef tops in twelve to twenty feet of water.
A few lake trout have been landed this week and were responding well to trolled spoons in forty to fifty feet of water. Green and green/chrome have been the best colors to lure some of these fish to twelve pounds up from the depths.
Reported catches were down somewhat this week, probably due to less anglers post holiday. Those that have been out tell us that although the size of fish were down somewhat, that everyone seems to have caught decent numbers. There were some really large walleyes caught that were measured from twenty-six to thirty-one inches, but these were exceptional. Weather conditions too may have hampered some as it has been raining off and on with wind gusts to twenty miles per hour. With the new high pressure moving in for the next several days, fishing should improve considerably.
Northern pike catches were still good. Folks working the weed edges were doing best with large crank baits and spinner baits. Northerns were in the mid thirty inch range with only the occasional bruiser mixed in. A few of the larger fish caught were taken with large suckers and ciscoes fished right on the bottom down to twenty-five feet.
Crappie numbers are starting to improve as the spotty spawn comes close to the end. Water temps fluctuating as they have recently didn't help catch rates. Small tube and soft tail jigs twitched along weed edges were taking decent numbers despite a hatch of mayflies making things a bit more difficult, although the larger fish were responding well.
Lake trout have still remained active with fish being reported on nearly a daily basis. Trolling down to 50 feet of water with crank baits and spoons worked the best for the past couple weeks.
Heading into the holiday weekend things were going well on Ely's lakes with good numbers of walleyes, pike, and surprisingly lake trout, coming to the net. Walleyes are hitting both crawlers and leeches when coupled with a spinner rig bounced along the bottom. Things changed for the time being, with the arrival of the mayfly hatch as action has slowed somewhat over the weekend. Northern pike have been very active along weed edges and many a walleye, sunfish, and crappie have been attacked right at the boat. One angler said that he had a good twenty inch northern snatched from him by a four footer right at the net.
Those seeking lake trout have been rewarded by several fish in the five to seven pound range with the occasional twelve pounder thrown into the mix. Trolling spoons and Rapala's in the twenty-five to thirty-five foot depths has paid off for many.
Crappie action has been at full swing, with some fourteen inch fish being landed .
Walleye fishermen have been doing well with good numbers of fish, but many of them taken have been on the small size with a few bruisers thrown in. The vast majority of folks are using leeches or crawlers on a spinner rig, but the evening bite continues for those using a lighted bobber becoming a more common practice and can be used from shore or anchored near an offshore reef.
Pike anglers using spinner baits and spoons fished along weed lines and rocky points have been rewarded with good numbers of fish to include some large ones up to forty inches. Suckers fished under a bobber works well too if you have the ability to keep the bait lively.
Some big crappies have taken the stage on area lakes converting many fisher folks from walleyes to these slab-sided delicious treats. Crappies have moved into shallower water to begin their spawning season and are falling for small minnows or soft bait tipped jigs and Beetle Spins.
Sunfish too are getting some much deserved attention as they move into shallow water. They will readily hit small worms or leeches fished under a bobber. This is a good time to get youngsters exited about fishing as at times the action can become non-stop.
Walleye fishing has been going extremely well, with most anglers managing to fill their quota. A lot of keeper fish have been readily taking slow-trolled spinner rigs and others are hitting jigs on the reef edges. The majority of fishermen have progressed to using crawlers on spinners and then working close- in fish with a jig and leech. A good number of large walleyes up to thirty-one inches have been weighed in, but conservation minded folks are releasing the "breeders" over 22". Those smaller walleyes are better on the plate anyhow. Try fishing the flats in twelve feet of water or less.
Large northern pike to forty-six inches have been caught using live suckers or having spinner baits and spoons chunked at them. Work the emerging weed edges or rocky points.
Some really nice lake trout are responding well to either spoons with some green color variations or Rapalas in the glass minnow clear patterns or those with blue backs.
Sunnies and crappies are still staging for the spawn in the shallows but the cooler water temps seem to have put much of the action on hold. It will be only a matter of days before they begin their annual ritual.
As water temps continue to rise so does the walleye action. Many folks are starting to have more success using leeches and crawlers in addition to minnows. While jig and minnow fishing continues to be productive, keeping leeches and crawlers is much easier especially for back country adventurers. Many fish are still cruising shorelines but as temps equalize a good number of active feeders are scattered throughout the water column. This is a good time to begin slow trolling crank baits and working over reef edges.
Northern pike have become more aggressive and will readily strike spoons and spinner baits worked along weed edges and off rocky points adjacent to deeper water. A sucker suspended under a bobber can be very deadly right now too.
Lake trout are still being caught in relatively shallow water from fifteen to twenty -five feet. Trolled crank baits are accounting for a good number of lakers right now as well as larger spoons in green/silver color. Keep in mind when fishing these gin clear waters to keep baits well behind the boat or use side planers to keep your offering well away from the boat to avoid spooking them.
Bass and most panfish are beginning their spawning ritual and will readily attack a bait placed near their spawning beds. Look for depressions on the bottom that are of a bit different color than surrounding areas. Male fish are on the beds, but the heavier egg-laden females are holding somewhat deeper.
Walleye action remains steady with some exceptional fish up to ten pounds being reported. The shallow flats have been the most consistent with eating size walleyes holding in water from four to twelve feet. Rainbow minnows have been primarily the bait of choice, but leech and crawler sales are steadily rising as water temperatures continue to climb. Jig fishing has been doing the trick for most, but spinner rigs tipped with leeches or crawlers have been very effective.
Smallmouth bass and crappies are in a pre-spawn pattern and are beginning to fan nesting sites. This can lead to some interesting fishing as the bass will attack anything that approaches their nest, so slow moving crank baits or soft baits in crawfish patterns will promote a strike. These fish are not necessarily hitting out of hunger, but to move invaders away from the beds.
Some big pike up to twenty pounds have been reported and will readily strike spoons and spinner baits in water down to ten feet. Large suckers suspended under a bobber will draw the interest of cruising pike and is a much more laid back approach as opposed to continuous casting.
Lake trout up to eighteen pounds have been smashing slow trolled crank baits and spoons in water as shallow as fifteen feet. Chrome and silver lures with a touch of green have been working really well.
The fish have left the shallows for now and have been roaming waters from 10 to 25 feet of water. Minnows remain the bait of choice, but many folks are crossing over to leeches and crawlers linked to spinner rigs. Keep in mind, that when you are fishing stained or off-color water try brighter patterns.
The fishing opener started off slow due to the frozen lake conditions, but now with the advent of warmer weather, the fishing action has heated up. Numerous walleyes from small "eater" size up to some whopper wall-hangers up to 31" have been pulled from Ely's pristine waters.Catches include loads of walleyes in the 20" range and there's no reason to believe it's going to stop any time soon. Minnows have apparently been the top bait, but is followed closely by leeches and crawlers fished either on jigs or spinners.
Northern pike too have been smashing spoons and spinner baits worked along emergent weed edges and rocky points.
Some lake trout have succumbed to ciscoes fished right on the bottom along with trolled spoons as they cruise depths of twenty to thirty feet of water.
The action should steadily increase as young of the year bait fish become more plentiful in the warming water.
Crappie action has been slow to materialize with the colder water, but should improve as temps rise.
With the onset of warmer weather, the fishing action is heating up as well. Big walleyes are turning up all over the area.
The walleye bite has been steadily building and walleyes up to 32" have been smacking minnow tipped jigs with gusto. The "eyes" have been staging in and around the river mouths and are slowly dispersing to other areas in search of an easy meal and to recuperate from the stress of the spawning ritual.
Pike too have put on the feed bag with many hitting sucker minnows offered along emergent weed beds and rocky points. As the water temperatures increase, so should activity levels of all fish in the lakes, so now some of the fastest action of the season is at hand.
A word of caution, the game wardens are out in force, so do the right thing and be conscientious about following the rules set forth so as to not spoil what can be one of the most rewarding experiences of friends and family on the water. Another thing to remember is to wear a life jacket. The water is frigid right now and accidents do happen to even the most careful people.