451 West Sheridan Street Ely, Minnesota 55731
Fishing Report
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The recent rainy weather served to keep a lot of folks off the water, but to those hearty souls who did venture forth were rewarded with some decent catches of fish. Some nice walleyes, up to twenty-seven inches have been caught from Birch Lake and from Basswood Lake, 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 that the fish are relating to a softer bottom of mud or sand.

Pike numbers remain good as well, with a good number of them in the forty inch and up range coming to the net. Spinner baits and large crank baits are very effective right now, but some 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 verge 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.

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 and finding mostly semi-digested insects in them. Mayflies are begining to hatch and that will account for a lot of the bugs in the fish. 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 have been lucky to catch some more aggressive bass with top water baits such as poppers or frogs.

Pike have readily been 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 from Burntside Lake 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.

The walleye bite has been sporadic, with some folks having no trouble filling a stringer, while others are struggling. The fish are post-spawn now and are beginning to spread out to their summer haunts. Water temps are in the low sixties and this is an ideal temp to start dragging crank baits along drop-offs just outside of mud flats, or along emergent weed edges. This is a good time to start experimenting with all the tackle in your box to find out what works best at this time of year.

The water temps are ideal to finally kick off the spawn for crappies and smallmouth bass too. Some are reporting seeing the crappies in water as shallow as six inches, with their back fins above the surface.

Pike are still terrorizing the shallows in search of an easy meal. Suckers, (dead or alive) can be used right now to get one of those wall hangers over forty inches. Spinner baits will work great too. To achieve the best results, try different retrieve speeds as some pike aren't as anxious to do much chasing yet, and a slow rolled spinner or slow trolled crank bait might just be the right combination for success.

While the walleye fishing has been less than ideal, 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. This is and important bit of info as most folks feel that when the water gets as warm as it is, (around 74 degrees), they fish much deeper. This may be a bit unusual for most people to grasp, but the majority of the bait fish are near shore. Leeches and crawlers seem to be the mainstay of 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 skinny waters 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 spooky 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.

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. Fall Lake led the way in numbers of fish, and the power dam was the place to be judging by the amount of boat traffic there.

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

A few lake trout are also being caught by some trolling deep diving crank baits on Burntside Lake. The fish seem to be holding in twenty to forty feet of water near deeper drops.

The crappie spawn has been put on hold due to the fluctuating water temperatures, although a few nice slabs have been coming out of Birch Lake.