Ely Minnesota Fishing Reports


Walleye action remains steady for the most part with fish holding in twelve to twenty feet of water. Reports of lake turnovers are at best premature. Water temps are still in the upper 50s. Bait of choice these days has been spinners tipped with a crawler slow trolled along the bottom, although some folks still rely on a jig and minnow to tempt some into biting.

 Northern pike are still on the prowl, and they're hungry. Try fishing spoons and spinners along deeper weed edges. Some fish over forty inches have been taken recently, although most have been in the two to five pound range.

 Crappie action has been heating up as well. Cooler temps are triggering a fall pattern where they start to bunch up. Some of the larger lakes have been leading the pack, but smaller lakes have been turning out good stringers of crappies, and some fat sunnies.

Ely Chamber on Oct 11, 2017

Just when you think you have the walleyes figured out, they change things up. Some anglers were reporting that the walleyes had gone deep. Lately though, anglers are catching them throughout the water column: some in thirty feet of water, some in seven feet. Go figure. The best advice right now is to keep watching your sonar till you mark some fish and then go after them. Most are still using crawler harnesses, but a good number of fish are hitting crank baits fished just above the bottom. Jig and minnow combos are a great enticer too.


Anglers are beginning to converge on area crappie fishing holes as the action there is beginning to heat up. We still don't have the big schools bunching up, as the water temps are still a bit high at sixty four or five degrees, but this is soon to change as evening temperatures begin to fall. Crappie minnows are still the bait of choice, but safety pin spinners with a jig and soft tail make a good search tool: slow troll to find the concentrations of fish. Watch for marks that are suspended mid-way in the water column, as this quite often represents the presence of crappies.


Many folks are chasing pike too at this time of year. The biggest fish of the season seem to get active at the onset of cooler weather. Big suckers fished right on the bottom will fool northerns time and again, but this can also be the time to dig out lunker crank baits and work over the deeper weed edges and rock piles to bring giants to the net. This action should continue right up till ice begins to form.



Ely Chamber on Sep 26, 2017

The cooling water has pushed some of the walleyes down deep. Try working crawler harnesses along the drops in the deepest part of the lakes. Some folks are reverting back to a jig and minnow combo with great success. Color of jig or spinner blades are not as important as location. If you're not marking fish, move on. Some walleyes are still roaming shallower water late in the day as water temps begin to rise in the evening. Slip bobbering a minnow late in the day in ten to fifteen feet of water can be very effective.

Crappies are beginning to bunch up. Search for them suspended around mid way in the water column. Trolling a small safety pin spinner and jig like the Beetle Spin or tiny crank baits can lead you to the schools. Once located, you can readily catch them either on a live minnow suspended under a slip bobber or on one of the many small plastic baits rigged on a jig, such as the one inch Berkley Gulp minnow.

Pike are starting to put on the feed bag too as winter approaches. Large crank baits, spoons, and spinner baits are working well. One can also use larger sucker minnows either suspended under a bobber, or just take a dead or frozen one and lay it on the bottom. Really big pike seem to prefer to take this easy meal as opposed to chasing at times.

Lake trout are beginning to move up a bit in the water column as lakes cool. Try trolling spoons or cranks in forty to fifty-five feet of water.

Ely Chamber on Sep 18, 2017

As the water begins to cool, most fish species have left the shallower waters and begun to haunt the deepest parts of the lakes. Walleyes in particular are being caught down as deep as thirty-five feet. Minnows have finally made their comeback as the preferred bait for fishing deep. Jig heads up to 3/4 ounce gets your bait down in the target zone. Crawler harnesses are still working too though as most anglers are trolling spinner rigs on bottom bouncers to fill their stringers. Big pike too have gone deeper with some large ones coming out of twenty-five to thirty feet of water.

Crappies have begun to bunch up a bit, look for the schools to be holding at twelve to fifteen feet. Small safety pin type spinners such as Beetle Spins make a great search tool as do small crank baits in the number three to five size.

A few lake trout have been taken with spoons and cranks on area lake trout lakes. Most trout are smaller fish in the three to five pound range with an occasional eight thrown in. With the water cooling, the fish there have been in depths of thirty-five to fifty feet. White and white/green spoon colors working best.

Ely Chamber on Sep 11, 2017

Those fishermen who have been putting in the time seem to be doing very well. The walleyes are staggered throughout the water column, coming out of twenty feet of water all the way up to four to six feet. Most anglers are using crank baits, such as Shad Raps and Flicker Minnows, but many are relying on live offerings with crawler harnesses being their go-to bait. A few anglers are finding that working a slip bobber and minnow combo around reef and island edges are also producing.

Bass fishermen are having one heck of a good time using both sub-surface baits and ripping top water baits near weed beds or island points. Hula Poppers, Jitterbugs, and Rapala Skitter Pops are working well in the shallow bays.

Pike anglers are plying the waters with large spinner baits and spoons, and are cashing in on some lunkers up in the upper forty inch range.

Panfish are definitely on the menu for quite a few folks, with sunnies weighing up to a pound in weight and crappies up to sixteen inches long. The best fishing for sunnies is late evening with the crappie bite continuing into the darkness.

Ely Chamber on Aug 28, 2017

Walleye action remains steady on most lakes in northeast Minnesota. Tactics have changed somewhat, with many anglers reverting back to fishing with minnows and crawlers now that the availability of leeches has dwindled. Many savvy anglers are working larger profile crank baits around sunken island and reef edges with continued success. Fish are holding in slightly deeper water throughout mid-day periods, and moving into the shallows during low light conditions.


The smallmouth bass action has been awesome, with top water baits getting smashed by these aerial acrobats. With all the rocky shorelines available, there's plenty of bass holding structure. Some bass fishing aficionados are using soft baits on a jig or drop-shotting these offerings around sunken rockpiles and doing quite well.


Panfish have been the way to go for those wishing to gather a good quantity of filets for a fish fry. Sunfish are very active and will take anything including worms, minnows and artificial offerings - whether sub-surface or top water. It's a blast at this time of year to have some jumbo sunnies and crappies slurping up popping bugs or flies from the surface, and young or old anglers alike get caught up in this frenzied action.



Bragging size pike have been smashing baits on area lakes recently. Large crank baits and spinner baits are doing the trick when fishing for these monsters.

Ely Chamber on Aug 21, 2017

The walleye bite remains steady for most anglers who are putting the time in on area lakes. While not fast and furious, one can expect to catch enough fish for a shore lunch, or dinner at home. Crawler harnesses seem to be the primary way to catch them lately. Choose a spinner that coincides with the color of the water that you are fishing. Neutral tones like gold, silver, and white work best in clear water lakes, and bright colors such as orange, chartreuse, and fire tiger, work best in bog stained lakes. Crank baits are working when plying the waters around sunken islands and reefs. Keep in mind that as the season progresses the bait fish population is growing in size, and it's not unheard of to use cranks up to six inches long.


Crappie fishing has been good for many, with fish up to fourteen inches being reported. Simple minnow and bobber rigs are working well, but many folks are discovering just how effective a tiny jig with a one inch Gulp minnow soft bait can be. These plastics work well, and one needs not re-bait after every fish, so you can cast right back and stay in the action, which can be non-stop for several minutes or more before the fish move on.



Some large northern pike are falling for spoons and spinner baits fished along weed lines or rocky points. Large crank baits can be trolled or cast in these same areas to provide a great rod bending experience. For those that prefer a more laid back approach, try fishing a sucker minnow under a bobber either around the weed beds or just off the dock.

Ely Chamber on Aug 14, 2017

Most successful anglers are rediscovering the merits of going "old school" by using crawlers on a spinner rig to get in on the walleye action. Good numbers of fish are being taken while trolling these rigs over and around sunken reefs and deep island points throughout the area. Some are also having success with larger size crank baits such as Flicker Minnows and Shad Raps in the number eleven size. This makes sense as this time of year most of the minnow hatch size has grown to these proportions.


Crappie action has picked up some steam and chub minnows slightly larger than the standard crappie minnows have been accounting for fish up to fourteen inches. Most of these fish have been holding suspended over deeper water.


Some nice lake trout have been caught by anglers trolling spoons and large crank baits in water down to fifty-five feet. Trolling speed anywhere from two to three mph has rewarded these folks with fish up to ten pounds. White, silver, and orange seems to be the best colors for spoons, and silver shad and glass minnow colored Rapala Husky Jerks are the best choice in cranks.


Some huge smallmouth bass are also falling for crank baits for some, while others can't resist the explosive action of the bass smashing top water baits worked early and late in the day. Try surface poppers or the old reliable Arbogast Jitterbugs for some awesome visual action.



Ely Chamber on Aug 07, 2017

Reef edges and sunken islands are where you want to concentrate your efforts if you want to connect with some of the best walleye action of this summer season. Jigging Raps and Chubby Darters with a vertical presentation are accounting for a good number of walleyes lately. Some are also finding success by trolling crank baits or spinner/crawler combos in these same areas. Don't neglect the night bite either as the fish move close to shore after dark to crowd the bait fish in the shallows. It's not uncommon to find some big walleyes in as little as two or three feet of water once the sun goes down.


Sunfish and crappies are holding in deeper water down below seven feet during the day, but they too can be caught shallow as light begins to fade. This is especially true of the crappies as they line up for the skinny water buffet at dark.

Some nice lake trout to nine pounds have been taken recently. While most folks are using the tried and true method of trolling spoons and crank baits, a growing number of anglers are discovering vertical jigging can really pay off in the summer. Jigging Raps, Chubby Darters and the latest go-to trout bait - the jig and tube are the current hot items to use. You can fish tubes alone, but if you want to sweeten the deal, add a stinger hook and minnow. This combo has proved to be very effective over the last couple of years. Look for the fish to be holding in water forty to sixty-five feet right now.

Ely Chamber on Jul 31, 2017

Walleye fishermen have been reporting moderate success on the local lakes, but those venturing into the Boundary Waters have been doing very well. Most action has been through the use of crawlers and leeches either on a jig or rigged on a spinner rig. The bite has been in water from 15-25' during the day, and in the shallows come evening right up into two feet of water.

The crappies are definitely pleasing some anglers with nice limits coming out of area lakes. Some of these fish are topping two pounds and have been readily taking a shine to the various soft plastic baits that are now available. Many people are still using live minnows to catch them, but many more are finding out the merits of artificial in that one doesn't have to rebait after each fish and are able to keep ones bait in the water longer while the bite remains hot.

Smallmouth bass anglers have been having a field day with the feisty bass smashing top water offerings along shorelines and weed edges, or on crayfish pattern crank baits during the day.

Vertical jigging is paying off for anglers targeting lake trout on the deeper lakes surrounding Ely. Jigging Raps and white tube baits really shine here, but some trout over ten pounds responding to trolled spoons. White, white/green and orange/copper colors have been the most productive.

Ely Chamber on Jul 24, 2017