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.