Lakes continue to produce some nice walleyes, bass and northern pike. The pike fishing seems to be the focus of many anglers, with specimens upwards of twenty pounds coming in. Action baits such as large spinners, spoons and plus-size crank baits working well right now. We expect this action to continue through the fall.
Walleyes seem to be a bit off their game, but persistence has been paying off. Crawler harnesses trolled or drifted slowly around rock piles and Island humps in the twenty foot range is where the action is. Some fish have been moving into the shallows as the evening progresses and are readily attacking live bait near shore in water less than ten feet after night fall.
Bass fishermen have been having great success. Numbers are high with some lunkers over six pounds reported. Top water action early and late in the day, and deep cranks and soft bait bite throughout the rest will keep anglers happy.
Trout are readily sucking down crawlers under a bobber with abandon on area lakes. For more active fishing, use a small spinner such as Rooster Tails or Mepps just casted along shoreline drop-offs will do the trick. Fly fishermen have been successful late in the day as insects emerge towards evening.
The weather of late has really affected the number of folks out on the water. High winds and colder temps have slowed the action considerably, but those who braved the elements have been doing a good job of taking a fair number of fish.
Walleyes have been hitting crawlers on a spinner rig quite well in lieu of the dwindling leech resource. Leeches tend to run on the small size right now and for many areas have become non-existent, so crawlers will be the main bait to use. Some folks are still trying minnows with limited success, but the minnow bite doesn't usually resume till water cools around September.
Pike have begun to show up in good numbers as the temp begins to dip and should remain active right up to ice on. Casting spinner baits and spoons have been the ticket lately, and several have come boatside in the 40+ inch range. Ciscoes and suckers fished right on the bottom will surely remain a good tactic to use for more leisurely fishing.
Panfish action has been steady. Simple to do, just set up a line with a small jig or plain hook tipped with a bit of worm or wax worm under a bobber and the bite comes almost immediately. If you haven't had a bite right away, just move down the bank a bit, these fish are not shy.
Crappies sometimes require a bit more finesse. Small minnows suspended in and amongst the schooling slabs are surely the best way to trigger a bite. More anglers are now seeing the benefit of the latest Gulp baits such as the 1" minnow and other soft baits on a 1/16th or 1/32 jig head fished below a bobber. This rig will allow you to slowly retrieve thereby covering more water and putting your presentation in front of more fish.
Small mouth bass fishing has exploded throughout the area. Whether you are live bait fishing, dragging crank baits, or flipping top water lures, the fish are eager and willing to bite. Some large specimens have been reported nearing the six pound mark.
Walleyes too, continue to please anglers who are determined. Don't give up on just one tactic, sometimes it pays to change up your fishing style to accommodate the different bite triggers. Dipping live crawlers or leeches in and among the rock piles and sunken islands has been paying dividends. The old adage that if you're not getting snagged you're not where the fish are rings true. Try using a smaller weight to avoid tumbling deep into the rocks. At times, just a small split shot or 1/32 or 1/16 jig will get you down to where the fish are, and keep the bait moving. Crank baits are taking their share both early and late in the day in the shallows. Some folks who were throwing spinner baits along shore for bass have even taken a few walleyes.
Pike fishing has been very hot with fish over twenty pounds hitting the scales. Large profile crank baits and spinner baits with large blades are working very well. If you aren't into casting for hours on end, try throwing out a live sucker or frozen ciscoe, as both have been triggering these fresh water barracudas into biting.
Panfish continue to please both young and old during the summer months as these prolific feeders are stoking up for the winter ahead. Sunnies are hitting just about any baits you might throw into the water. This is a great way to get kids hooked on fishing, as the action can be fast and furious. A dozen crawlers and a bobber can provide entertainment for the kids for hours. One crawler can yield up to six or so baits when cut up, making for a big return on a small investment.
The walleye bite still remains fairly consistent, and crawlers or leeches seem to be the best bait for putting fish on the stringer. The rock piles and submerged reefs in eight to twenty feet of water are probably the best bet for success. Dunking baits between the rocks will produce more walleyes than trolling mud flats. Spinner rigs are working well as search tools.
Small mouth bass have been smashing both surface and sub-surface lures worked along rocky shorelines. The vast majority of bass have been taken from three to ten feet of water, but a few lunkers up to six pounds have hammered deep running cranks down to twenty feet.
Some bragging size northern pike have been reported over the past week. Large crank baits and spinners have accounted for far more pike than even live bait. The larger pike are running deeper than the hammer handles of the flats. Try working the deep drops adjacent to weed lines and mud flats or points jutting out from shore.
Crappie activity is best when the sun begins to settle behind the tree lines. Many of the slabs become most active at dusk, so be prepared with a good quality light, and don't forget some insect repellent.
While the fishing hasn't been as hot as the weather, many anglers are managing to put some nice walleyes on the table. Evening fishing has been the most productive on area lakes with dedicated anglers fishing until well after dark. Walleyes have been hitting both leeches and crawlers equally well. A crawler harness fished during the day along drop-offs from fifteen to twenty-two feet of water has been doing the trick, with anglers moving to shallower water as the sun sets.
Big pike have moved off the flats to deeper water haunts (twenty-five to thirty feet) and will take a properly presented crank bait. Some folks are laying a ciscoe right on the bottom at these depths and are connecting as well.
Lake trout are still smashing spoons and Rapalas in forty to sixty feet of water. Long-lining or planer boards have been the best methods as it gets the bait well away from the disturbance of the boat.
Some people are doing well with the sunfish in five to ten feet of water. The only complaints have been the smaller fish are attacking the bait before it has a chance to fall into the realm of the bruiser blue gills. Crappie still holding suspended, but will cruise shorelines just before nightfall.
The weather has been very hot recently, and that has determined how most anglers have been approaching the fish. During the mid-day heat, those willing to endure the sun and temperatures have been doing fairly well trolling over the deeper holes for walleye, then reverting back to shoreline structure as evening approaches. Nighttime fishing has become commonplace. Shoreline and dock anglers are dotting the lakes with lighted slip bobbers, targeting the walleyes as they chase bait into the shallows.
Good numbers of small mouth bass and pike are being taken in water less than eight feet, but the larger of the species have been holding from five to fifteen feet down.
Lake trout have been responding well to spoons trolled in thirty to fifty feet of water. Keep an eye on your locator for bait fish schools as the lakers seem to be trailing them. Some minor depth adjustments to your rig can make the difference in whether you hook up or not.
Crappie and sunny fishermen have been pulling good numbers throughout the day, but the hottest bite for crappies seems to be the last hour of daylight.
The walleye bite remains steady with most daytime fish hanging out in deeper water and then moving into the shallows towards dusk. Nighttime action has been good with many folks using lighted bobbers after the sun sets. Crawlers and leeches remain the baits of choice, but many anglers are targeting the evening fish on reef tops and sunken islands with crank baits and spinners.
Crappies have been following a similar pattern by staying deeper till the sun is setting then near shore later. Small jigs such as Gitzit Little Guys, Ratsos, and Gulp minnows have been doing as well as live minnows.
Pike are still active shallow, but the larger pike have been holding from eight to fifteen feet. Large crank baits and suckers alive or dead will work. People heading into the Boundary Waters have been using frozen ciscoes fished right on the bottom with good success.
Although the amount of traffic on area lakes has subsided since the holiday weekend, the amount of fish being reported remains constant. Good reports of walleyes have been coming in from area lakes. Most folks are using live baits such as leeches and crawlers, but a good number of anglers are using crank baits and soft plastic bait presentations with success.
Lake trout too have been a viable option in the deep water lakes. Large cranks like deep Husky Jerks and X-Rap Magnums will get down into the target zone. Some anglers continue to drift ciscoes right at the bottom.
Stream trout action has heated up too. Most anglers are targeting area rainbow trout lakes and continue to land limits by either casting or trolling spinners like Mepps or Rooster Tails. Bank fishermen are having luck on these lakes by just suspending a crawler or red worm under a bobber. If you try this method, it pays to adjust your depth as these fish may stratify at a certain level, and you don't want to be fishing under the feeding fish.
Fishing over all has been mirroring the weather. As the temps fluctuate so does the fishing activity. Daytime water temps may rise six to eight degrees during the course of the day, so late afternoons till after dark are becoming the "prime time" to be out on the water. A stable barometer over several days can be a good indicator of how the fish react to bait presentations. If you fish the morning hours you might just have to fish a bit deeper as fish will seek that warmer, more comfortable temperature. Remember that these are cold blooded creatures that only a few degrees of temperature change can really affect them.
Walleye bite seems to be primarily on leeches and crawlers, whether on a spinner rig or under a slip bobber. Many more anglers are turning to soft plastic trailers on their spinner rigs and jigs as opposed to live bait. These are more durable, and the scent that they're impregnated with actually will trigger a bite.
Bass anglers have figured this out years ago and the popularity is spreading to the walleye anglers.
Pike anglers too have gotten aboard the soft bait wagon. Adding a soft bait tail to spinner baits and spoons adds more enticing action to the offering.
We've been whacking these massive lake trout for years on a simple white tube jig. (A little hint, I add a minnow to the tube or insert a bait scented piece of sponge or cotton ball inside the tube to up my chances for a strike.) Scents by Berkley Gulp, Power Bait, and Dr. Juice all work in this department.
So, there you have it. If you haven't been using the scents and soft bait presentations before, now may be the right time to give them a try. You just might be pleasantly surprised by the results.
The walleye bite has been steadily improving and some anglers are taking full advantage of it. Fish are beginning to relate to structure more these days, so it pays to work near reefs and sunken structure in depths from nine to eighteen feet. The best way to locate fish is to stay on the move trolling spinners until you trigger a bite, and then work that area over diligently.
Small mouth bass have been very active as well, and are readily taking soft baits and cranks worked near the drop offs at the mouths of shallow bays. Some anglers have begun using top water baits such as Jitterbugs and Hula Poppers and are enjoying the explosive strikes right on the surface. Floater/diver crank baits work well, and strikes can occur as you pause the retrieve and let the bait float back to the surface.
Pike are hitting spinner baits and spoons, casted or trolled anywhere from three to fifteen feet of water. Vary your speed when hauling these lures back as some fish tend to be more active than others. At times ripping the bait across the surface layer can be irresistible for these toothy denizens.
Crappies are schooling up and will readily hit a minnow or soft plastic bait. Watch your fish locator to detect the position of the fish in the water column and adjust your presentation accordingly.