Ely Minnesota Fishing Reports


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

Walleye anglers are having some success of late, in spite of the mayfly hatch. The primary baits have been leeches and crawlers fished in conjunction with spinner rigs in ten to twenty feet of water. Some folks are also having success with crank baits fished on island drop-offs and sunken reefs. Evening fishermen are scoring as well when using slip bobbers and leeches, with some of the best action occurring right at dark. This is where a good lighted bobber comes into play.


Crappie action has been heating up too. Some crappie fishermen have been saying the action has been so good that they have to reluctantly leave after filling their quotas with the fish still biting.


Some decent catches of northern pike have been reported, with anglers using spinner baits and top water lures fished on weed edges and rocky points.


Lake trout have been somewhat active too and have readily taken trolled spoons and large crank baits in depths around fifty feet.


Smallmouth and largemouth bass have been smashing surface running lures early and late in the day. During the heat of the day, soft plastics on a jig or weighted hooks have been the way to go. Some fine catches have been made by shore anglers just bobber fishing with either a leech or crawler as bait.



Ely Chamber on Jul 17, 2017

It's been a good week to be fishing in the Ely area. The weather has finally given us a reprieve from the rain showers, and the mayfly hatch is finally winding down. Fishing pressure was light, as normally is the case following a holiday weekend, so there was little competition for prime fishing spots.

Crawlers and leeches led the way for live bait presentations for walleyes. Minnows become harder to keep for many anglers that are reluctant to keep their bait cool and aerated with the warmer temps outside, and crawlers and leeches can be kept in the cooler alongside your favorite beverage. Spinner rigs have been a preferred offering, but some anglers are finding success working deep diving crank baits in mid-range structures such as sunken reefs and islands.

Smallmouth bass anglers are being rewarded with some great top water action early and late in the day. Mid-day action seems to favor soft baits such as crawfish imitations, and swim baits worked in rubble, weed edges and sunken timber. A good way to get the kids in on some action is to suspend a leech under a bobber. It usually doesn't take long for a hungry bass to find it.

Northern pike are smashing top water baits as well, as bass fishermen are finding out, but spinner baits a large crank baits are scoring too.

Ely Chamber on Jul 11, 2017

The recent rainy weather served to keep a lot of folks off the water, but to those hearty souls who did venture forth they were rewarded with some decent catches of fish.


Some nice walleyes, up to twenty-seven inches were, with anglers using a variety of methods from dragging crank baits, floating crawler harnesses, and jig or bobber fishing leeches. It seems to be more of a matter of location, than tactics. Most are saying the fish are relating to a softer bottom of mud or sand.


Pike numbers remain good, with a number in the forty inch and larger range coming to the net. Spinner baits and large crank baits are very effective right now.  Some anglers are using suckers as their bait of choice to cash in on the lakes bounty. 


Smallmouth bass are going into their post-spawn habits, and are beginning to hammer top water baits fished in the transition zones where soft bottoms merge into rubble fields of rocks.


 More than a few lake trout are being taken by anglers dragging crank baits and spoons in the forty to fifty-five foot of water depths. Deep water basins have been producing the most action as water temps slowly climb.

Ely Chamber on Jun 26, 2017

Walleye fishing remains good throughout the area, with a vast majority of "eyes" coming from less than ten feet of water. This may be in part due to the insect hatches of late, as anglers examining the stomach contents of their catches are finding mostly semi-digested insects. Mayflies are beginning to hatch, which accounts for a lot of the bugs fish are feeding on. Slow crawled leeches or crawlers just inched along the bottom seem to be working well early and late in the day, while a floating jig head can be used during late mornings and early afternoon. Some folks are also having success trolling shallow diving crank baits along transitions or weed edges.


Smallmouth bass are on the beds in many lakes and can be caught with either soft baits such as crawfish imitations or swim baits and tubes worked along the shorelines in less than five feet of water. A few anglers have been lucky to catch some more aggressive bass with top water baits such as poppers or frogs.


Pike are readily smacking spinner baits and small shallow diving crank baits worked along breaks and weed edges. Some anglers are just sitting back and relaxing while live suckers do the work for them.


 A few lake trout have been reported as anglers troll spoons or crank baits down about forty feet in the water column. If you don't have downriggers, you can still achieve these depths with diving planers such as Dipsy Divers, Slide Divers, or a large egg sinker in line with your lures.

Ely Chamber on Jun 19, 2017

While the walleye fishing has been challenging for some, many anglers are managing to find some nice eating size fish. Most of the fish being reported have come from less than ten feet of water. While it may seem logical to fish deeper waters due to warming temperatures (around 74 degrees), walleyes are staying relatively shallow as they follow the bait fish near shorelines. Leeches and crawlers seem to be the mainstay for live bait, however, those trolling or casting crank baits are having equally good success.

Smallmouth bass and crappies are on the beds in many lakes, so they can be targeted in relatively shallow water of three feet or less. Keep in mind that when the fish are this shallow, stealth is of utmost importance. Try to stay casting distance away from them as they do get spooked easily in shallow water. With the smallmouth, watch your line for the slightest twitch as they are not aggressively feeding, but they do try to move the offering away from their nesting site. Soft plastics shine under these conditions whether in the form of swim baits, crawfish or jig and tube combos.

Pike on the other hand have reached peak aggression and will readily take spoons, spinner baits, and just about any top water plug cast in their vicinity. Some folks will also use live suckers or large creek chubs with great success.

Lake trout are responding to either trolled crank baits or spoons run in water from forty to fifty-five feet.



Ely Chamber on Jun 12, 2017

While the big walleyes remained elusive for most this past holiday weekend, most anglers managed to get some nice stringers of eating size walleyes up to twenty inches or so. Most had success trolling spinners with either leeches or crawlers attached or just jigging minnows in shallow water.


Big pike were on the hunt as good numbers of them were reported around the forty inch mark. Live suckers fished under a bobber worked well for some folks, while others used frozen smelt or alewives fished right on the bottom.


A few lake trout are also being caught by trolling deep diving crank baits. The fish were holding in twenty to forty feet of water near deeper drop offs.



The crappie spawn is on hold due to fluctuating water temperatures, although a few nice slabs were reported.

Ely Chamber on May 30, 2017