Fishing Reports Northern Minnesota
It's time. The water is high, but there are fish to be had. I have my first guide trips this weekend and scouting tonight I found hungry fish right where they are supposed to be. Trons. Not Tron Jrs., but TRONS. I don't expect giant numbers, but I expect to shake hands with some major pre-spawn honeys and if you know my angle that is enough to have me hollering at the heavens in excitement. My boat doesn't just search for fish, we have fun doing so! This ain't a hobby. This ain't a passion. This is a straight up addiction! I sat around all winter dreaming of these eats. Reflecting and adjusting methods mentally, it's time to put it to the test!
Our big fish water is largely a migratory fishery and what a different fishery it is year to year. Last year we watched fish eat grass hoppers this weekend with crazy temps taking a normal spawning weekend into top water midsummer eats. This year, it's 57 degree water temps and high water levels. It doesn't scare me... There are fish in the river and that's all I needed to know. This weekend I'm gonna work off 9 months of waiting, rowing the new sticks! The time has begun. We have now till September 1 for prime TROPHY smallmouth dates. The sweetest things in life don't come for free, and after 9 months of waiting, holy shit do we deserve this!!!
When the fellas at the launch ask what they are biting on, you can say leeches, but these ain't sold in town!
All I can say is things are changing fast. Walleyes are beginning to make their seasonal migrations from their spawning sites on the big lake. The north shore of Lake Winnibigoshish has always been a go to spot for anglers during the first couple weeks of the season. All of the primary spots along the north shore are holding fish. We caught fish from 6ft-16ft of water. I don't believe the fish were focused on certain depth, but more on the schools of smaller perch that were lingering around their spawning sites. We didn't always mark fish, but when we noticed bait on the sonar we slowed down and fished methodically. This pattern seemed to hold on every spot we fished throughout the day.
One pattern for me that has really helped me on the big lake the past few years is paying attention to the perch that we are catching and seeing on the screen. It has seemed that whenever we are around larger perch, the walleyes are tougher to come by. It could be because of their size, and they are focusing on them less as a forage option, or that because in nature perch are more aggressive, and they are getting to the bait sooner than the walleyes are. I was able to learn some words of advice from one of the best fishermen I know that fishes on the big lake. His advice to me last year was, stay away from the perch. If your getting bit by them just move. Even though they are one of the primary forage options, your chances of getting bit become less when you are around the medium and larger size perch. They become a nuisance. The smaller schools of perch that we were focusing on Tuesday, were small enough that they were not messing with our presentation. I also believe the walleyes were more schooled on these tinier perch.
May 11th, 2019 Fishing Opener
With water temps in the mid 40’s, walleyes like these were starting to get aggressive. With the south wind on Winnie blowing aggressively into the North shore, the walleyes were eager to eat and on the prowl in the shallows. Using fat heads, and rainbows didn’t put as many fish in the boat as those around us, but the interesting thing for us was that we seemed to be having more luck with keeper size walleyes. It is something that I will definitely keep in mind when looking for a few more fish to keep on the big lake.
Lake ice conditions in the northern part of the state have improved immensely! Great fishing opportunities are available. The panfish bite on numerous lakes is hot right now and we have started to see a majority of the crappies moving towards the break lines where they will eventually push up and spawn later this spring. However, finding the fish the last couple of days hasn’t been the hard part. Detecting some of the lightest bites has proven to be the most effective strategy and icing some of the crappies we have been chasing. It was apparent in a community spot over the weekend! Anglers who were using to stiff of rods and still running a bobber approach were struggling! Small tungstens and a plastic was the key! When the fish would move up on the bait I believe everyone was expecting that indicator to set the hook. The indicator was not even noticeable on 75% off the fish we caught. Expecting the fish to be breathing in the bait and reeling down to load that tip up proved to be very effective. Also using plastics kept a lot of the other species of fish away, like the rock bass that seemed to be joining forces with the crappies schools.The die hard panfish anglers are going to be at it for a few weeks yet. Wheelers with chains and track machines were being used on all the more popular spring fishing spots. We will be updating with weekly fishing reports from the Grand Rapids Area for the remaining ice season and into our open water year! Tight lines everyone and enjoy that sunshine.
The Northern Minnesota fishing report for the last few weeks of October remains good for a lot of species. It has certainly slowed down since the incredible action earlier in the month, but that doesn't mean the fish aren't eating. Spending full days on the water is helping to find those active fish. It seems there are windows throughout the day it gets hot and then some times it is a bit slower. It's not hot and heavy, but putting large walleyes in the boat on a lake like Winni guarantees a good time. The crappie fishing has also stayed solid with a lot of those fish being found vertically in or close to their wintering holes. We have also noticed some sizable pike in the flats of big bays in some popular spearing locations. Makes sense for sure... Hoping to tag one of those on the fly this weekend. All for now!
With the cold temperatures fast approaching walleyes amongst other game species are trying to put on the weight. They are seeking forage that has moved out of the thick weed cover. Sparse patches of green cabbage are holding an abundance of baitfish and predators. The time though is now, with water temperatures plummeting daily this incredible bite might not last long... We are hoping for another round this weekend of amazing fishing, but know the reality is it may drop below 50 degrees. If so, there's a good chance this run is over. If it stays though, I'm dragging Collin out to try to get a few on the fly! It's that good!
One thing that's making the local bite so much fun right now is that prime jigging depth of 12-15 feet. If you are seeing bait on the graph, know you are in the juice. Drop it down!
The bite has been just too good to describe lately. Walleyes and crappies are eating aggressively. Friday through Sunday the boat watched clients land over 50-70 fish each day while only fishing 4 hours. The kinds of days that I really don't even have a chance to wet my line between netting fish and rigging rods. One interesting tidbit from the weekend is the fall pattern and difference between crappies and other game species. While the crappies are sliding deeper and deeper daily, the walleyes and pike are sliding shallower and shallower chasing that last remaining weed line.
It was a great summer full of solid fish for both Johns and I. It looks like our redesign on the reports here is going to lose all of our old data, but it will be for the best long term. As far as smallie fishing went this summer we certainly found numbers of big solid fish. The topwater fishing was second to none with fish coming on poppers and deer hair frogs whenever we hit the lower section of river. As always, those top water eaters were certainly bigger fish, which is always nice. As the fall rolls on things slow down a bit for us as full time teachers, but we certainly still find time on the water. Check back for updates and we will make sure to post things on social media as well!
Below is a sweet early July hopper eater!
Minnesota Fishing Report. Minnesota Fly fishing report. Northern Minnesota Fishing.