Some dedicated fishermen are still out taking advantage of the unseasonably warm weather and are having some success. Walleyes are scattered throughout the water column, but are catchable as attested by anglers on several local lakes. Larger minnows such as shiners, rainbow chubs and small suckers are doing the trick when teamed up with a floating jig head or spinner with float attached. Most fish are being taken from fifteen to thirty feet of water.
Crappies are beginning to bunch up, and usually when you find one there are more there for the taking. Small minnows on a jig or just a plain hook suspended under a bobber seem to be the preferred method, but many anglers are leaning toward the small soft baits fished on small jigs from one thirty-second to one sixteenth of an ounce. Safety pin spinners attached to a small jig head and tipped with either a soft bait tail or minnow can be very productive right now. These can either be casted or slow-trolled, to cover more water as you search for the schools. Once you catch one, stop and work the area over thoroughly. Fan cast all around, as there can be a bunch of friends nearby.
Pike and muskies have been hammering large suckers, crank baits, and spinners of the magnum size. These brutes tend to be in deeper water right now so it's best to work your baits in water from ten to twenty-five feet. Perch pattern hard baits have been working best and gold spinners working well on clearer waters.
Keep in mind that although the air temps are warm and comfortable, the water temperature is hovering around forty-five degrees right now and ending up in the water can sap your strength and could lead to a bad end to an otherwise great day afloat. With these cold temps it really is best to always wear a life jacket when out on the water especially when out alone.
Anglers are still having some success dragging crank baits for walleyes in 14-22' of water along shoreline breaks and sunken island humps. Water temps have dropped to the mid forties and this will usually trigger some action as we head towards winter.
Crappies have been the big draw as they begin to put on the feedbag and bunch up in the cooler water. Minnows jigged or slip-bobbered are working well, but many folks have learned that fishing with small jigs like the Gitzit Little Tough Guys, Northland's Slurpies and Gulp 1" minnows can be extremely productive.
Big pike and muskies are slamming large crank baits and spinners along weedy bay mouths where the water drops off to the teens. Drifting suckers under a bobber has been the go-to bait for some and can be most productive at this time of year.
With the recent chill in the air, many are starting to drag out the ice gear for the upcoming season. Not a bad idea as any problems with sleds, four wheelers, augers and heaters are best addressed now rather than waiting until it's time to fish, and repair facilities are jammed with the last minute rush.
Recent walleye reports are all over the board. Some folks are doing rather well, even though the tactics they're using have been varied and the depths are all over the board. Some are still dragging crawler harnesses, others are pulling crankbaits, and still others are doing the old jig and minnow routine. All can be productive, but on some lakes and in some cases, a lot of searching is necessary to find the biters. Think larger baits at this time of season as natural forage has grown over the summer. Size number 10 and number 12 Rapalas are not too big.
Crappies have been the biggest draw lately. Look for them to be suspended at the mouths of bays where the heat of the day warms these shallower waters adjacent to deeper drops. Lakes are beginning to "turn over" now, so this may be the reason why fish are being found throughout the water column.
Pike are beginning to stoke up now and are being very aggressive. Large crank baits are working well, and spoons and spinner baits are tied for second place. Let them all settle into that eight to ten foot deep water and hold on. This is that time of year when bigger can be better. So, it's time to dust off those plus size baits and put them to work.
Walleye fishing reports remain hit or miss, as fewer anglers have been hitting the water lately. Those who have been out on the local lakes have been using either minnows on a jig or spinner rig. The fish being caught have been ranging in depth from ten to twenty-two feet of water.
Crappies have been suspended mostly in the ten to twelve foot range over eighteen to twenty feet of water. Many fishermen have discovered how effective the tiny soft baits can be on a jig. Berkley Gulp and Gitzit micros have been showing up in ever increasing numbers as folks find they don't need to rebait after every fish comes out of the water. Live minnows are still the mainstay for old timers though, and probably always will be the main bait of choice.
Northern pike are still very active and spinner baits and spoons are accounting for the largest amount of the big toothy critters coming boat side. Suckers too can be very effective, but hard baits allow you to cover a large amount of water more quickly.
As always at this time of year, it is prudent to wear a life jacket and keep a throwable handy as the colder water temps can overcome even the most fit anglers in a very short amount of time. It's also a good idea to let someone know where you're going and when you expect to return.
The transition time has begun for walleye aficionados. Walleyes are beginning to hit minnows once again. For the past several weeks, the bite has been dominated by crawler harnesses, now more anglers are using minnows whether they tip a spinner rig or a jig. The fish are currently scattered throughout the water column. Where the bite was centered in shallower water previously, now fish are starting to show up in twenty feet and deeper water.
Crappies action is picking up as well. More are being caught now that water temps have begun to dip. Once located, you can easily catch a limit from a school before they move on. Just watch your fish finder as most of the schools tend to cover a small area, and just a few feet off the mark can make the difference.
Some nice lake trout have been caught while trolling. Most are being found in forty to fifty-five feet of water. Trolling speed should run from .9 to 1.5 mph. Thin, lightweight flutter spoons work the best at these slower speeds.
Pike action has remained steady, although not many true giants have been caught lately. Perhaps the water temperature drop will kick the big boys into gear.
Fishing pressure has been light to moderate for the most part. Those who are actively fishing though are managing to catch some nice fish.
Panfish action has been heating up as water temps begin to fall. Shallow water is the first to cool, and this has stimulated the bite somewhat. Numerous area lakes have had a good sunfish bite going on and a few crappies thrown in just prior to nightfall. Some hefty sunnies and crappies have been landed this past week.
Pike are beginning to get active as water cools, and many of the anglers targeting them have reported good success. Most are using spinner baits and spoons, with the occasional twister tail trailer on them to increase the baits profile. Large shallow diving crank baits are doing a good job early and late in the day. Buzz baits and surface poppers work well during mid-day.
Walleye fishing has been hit or miss lately. Some anglers continuing to catch them dragging spinner rigs tipped with a crawler, or casting and trolling Scatter Raps and Shad Raps in water less than ten feet deep. Other anglers on the other hand are struggling to catch just a few. It pays to be flexible at any time of year, but especially now when fish are on the move. If you're not catching fish, then change tactics. Find out what will trigger the bite.
Traffic on local lakes has calmed way down, so if you're looking to get away from the masses, now's the time to be up here. With kids back to school and cooler weather, the fishing pressure has dwindled considerably. The fish are still responding though, so let's not hang up the poles just yet.
Crawlers fished either alone or on a spinner rig have been doing well when led along the rocky edges of the flats. Slow and methodically working along either by drifting or slow trolling has been accounting for more walleyes than any other means. Lighten up on the weight and fish in close to the outcroppings of rubble to find their hiding places.
Big pike are still smashing spinner baits and spoons along drop-offs down to fifteen feet. Live suckers swum along these same areas have been accounting for more forty inch plus pike in recent days.
Crappies are starting to bunch up and can be found suspended mid way in the water column. Small tube jigs and Gulp minnows are taking the place of more conventional live bait fishing with minnows. Some anglers are still tipping these with a wax worm for the added value of scent.
Fishing success should begin to get better as water temps drop down through the mid fifties over the next few weeks.
Most families with school age kids have gone home for the season, only to return on a weekend or two this Fall. The result is a decrease in fishing pressure, which is a positive for those passionate about fishing on Ely's local lakes.
While the action hasn't been exactly record setting, those who put in the time and effort have been reaping the rewards. Crawler rigs still have been producing rather well, but when that tactic stops producing, don't give up, it's time to change things up a bit. Trolling crank baits such as Salmo Hornets, Rapala X-Raps, or Scatter Raps in eight to twenty feet of water can make the difference between a fish or two, or a full stringer. Work the breaks right along rocky edges where the rubble meets sand or mud bottom. The walleyes tend to use the routes to ambush prey that stray too far from the protection of the rocks. If you have the skills to work a jig in and amongst the debris fields, use a lightweight jig like a 1/16th to 1/32nd ounce with a half crawler or minnow attached. Move along slowly and dip in between the structure to find those fish lurking there.
Crappies are starting to bunch up again, and if you're paying attention to your sonar unit, they will reveal themselves suspended in and around structure, such as weed edges, sunken islands, and rock piles. A slip-bobbered minnow works great, but many anglers are discovering just how effective small tubes and other small soft baits can be. These soft bait presentations are very desirable because they allow you to drop right back down after removing a fish without having to rebait every time. Keep in mind in that as you make commotion reeling in fish and moving about in the boat, you tend to disrupt the school, and they move on.
Big pike are getting more aggressive as the water temperature begins to fall. Many fish thirty to forty inches have been caught recently and there's no indication that will change any time soon. As far as bait goes, anything that you feel comfortable with works. These fish aren't shy about hitting spinners, spoons, crank baits and even crawler harnesses intended for walleyes. Most action seems to be taking place in water ten to twenty feet deep.
The fishing no doubt has slowly deteriorated as the days grew warmer. There just may be some truth to "the dog days of summer" phrase. This is not to say that fish cannot be caught, quite the opposite, a small group of anglers have excelled in the catching department, working throughout the depths and adapting to conditions has rewarded more than a few of them.
Most walleyes seem to be attracted to the twelve to twenty foot deep water during the heat of the day, then gravitating shoreward towards evening. The hours surrounding sunset have been the most productive, and baits offered in water four to eight foot deep were accounting for the lion's share of catches. Crawlers have been the go-to live bait when fished in conjunction with a two or three hook spinner harness. As water temps begin to drop with the advent of cooler temperatures, minnows may also become a viable option in the live bait department. This is also a prime time to use some of those deep diving lures that have been lying in wait in your tackle box.
Sucker minnows are still doing their job. Pike up to forty-eight inches have been reported in the past week. Most of the larger specimens are coming to the baits in deeper water, some of them down to twenty feet. This is also a great depth to work with spoons and BIG crank baits.
Trout fishing has been better than average. Insect hatches just prior to sunset have been triggering some great top water action. Dry fly patterns rule here. While on the subject, dry flies can be effectively fished with a spinning rod, by using a bubble float for casting weight. During the day, trout can be suckers for a nightcrawler fished ten feet down under a slip bobber. A fun and easy way to get youngsters into trout fishing.
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.