451 West Sheridan Street Ely, Minnesota 55731
Fishing Report
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The season opener started off very well for most anglers. There was some tension among many that the ice would be off the lakes before the season started, but Mother Nature came through and warmed things up enough to clear the lakes just in time.

Basswood Lake led the pack in success rates this year as in most, with some truly great catches of walleyes and northern pike. Rainbow chub minnows were THE bait to have due to the cold water temps, and anglers just couldn't be happier with the results. A good portion of the fish caught were in relatively shallow water near shore, and this is probably due to the late ice out and the shallows warming up quickly in the sun.

Fall Lake had it's usual flotilla of boats congregated around the power dam, and anglers were doing fine, although there were many undersized fish to be released. Minnows were the best option on a jig fished in and around the rock piles. Some anglers fished areas away from the crowds and found fish to their satisfaction elsewhere. Once again the fish were in the shallows.

White Iron Lake had it's usual herd of fishermen clustered around the area where the Kawishiwi River river enters on the southern portion of the lake. A lot of undersized fish were cooperating, but those who persevered managed to extract enough walleyes out of the size slot to fill their stringers.

Burntside Lake surprised a few anglers with lake trout willing to smack both spoons and larger crank baits trolled in twenty to thirty feet of water.

If you've never fished the Ely area lakes, there's no better time than now to plan your next fishing expedition here.

Lake trout continue to captivate anglers' attention on Burntside and Snowbank Lakes. A good number of trout have been taken from both in recent weeks, and the action should continue right on through the end of the season on April 1st. Most successful anglers have been bringing fish out of the holes by active jigging, whether it be spoons like Slender Spoons PK's Flutter Fish or Tinglers and Tumblers, and soft plastic jigging lures such as tubes from Gitzit and Berkley, or other soft paddle tail baits. These are active presentations where one must keep the bait moving, and work the water column from bottom to top, with some fish chasing the baits from the very bottom in fifty feet or so, all the way up to just below the ice. For the more laid back angler, a frozen smelt or live, small, sucker fished right on the bottom under a tip-up or dead stick seems to be doing the trick.

Crappie anglers are now taking to the ice as well as temperatures become more moderate. The weather is important as anglers should stay mobile when fishing crappies, as the schools tend to move around more at this time of season rather than holding in one spot that can be fished from a portable or permanent ice shack. One can use a shack as a place to warm up, but the best way to approach the fish is to be mobile, and drill as many holes as you're comfortable doing.

Some folks are having moderate success with the local sunfish populations on lakes like Armstrong, One Pine, Johnson, Low, and East Twin. This action should heat up as well as the season progresses and temps begin to become more comfortable. Small jigs tipped with minnow heads or waxies have been working well.

A good number of lake trout and stream trout have been caught in the area lately. Many anglers are fishing for rainbows and splake on lakes such as Tofte and High lakes from early a.m. through the afternoon. Tiny jigs tipped with a couple of wax worms have been working well, as do smaller salted minnows. Most fish are being taken within fifteen feet of the ice up to just below the hole. Many trout will cruise just under the ice, picking up insects that may have collected on the underside of the ice throughout the night. Lake trout have been lighting up anglers sonar units, but have been slow to respond to jigs for some. A smelt fished right on the bottom fished under a tip-up can be an effective presentation. Some anglers  have been putting lake trout on the ice up to eight pounds or so.

Some crappies have begun to respond to live minnows fished near the bottom in depths between twelve and twenty-one feet on East Twin and Brch lakes. This fishing action should continue to improve as winter wears on. Some of the best action should be closest to ice out, but some decent catches will appear a month or so before that actually happens.

While the walleye fishing continues to dissappoint, the trout fishing picks up the slack. Most anglers in the area have turned their attention to trout fishing as a good alternative recently and many have had some good success. Lakes such as Burntside and Snowbank have been turning out a few nice lakers up around seven pounds, with many more in the three to five pound range. Active jigging seems to be the most productive method, with baits such as soft tubes, Jigging Raps, Slender Spoons, and Airplane Jigs leading the way in preferred lures. Anglers are also picking up fish right on or near the bottom with smelt or live suckers fished either under a tip-up or hanging on a "dead" stick.

Stream trout fishermen are scoring some impressive numbers of rainbow trout on Miners, Tofte, and Dry Lakes with most of the action within viewing distance of the hole. It is great fun to actually see the trout come in and approach your bait, and to see how they  react to your offering. Most fish are responding to either small jigs tipped with wax worms, or to salted minnows fished from ten to fifteen feet below the surface. The viewing is as much of a pleasure in these clear waters as is the actual hook-up of a fish.

Crappies are beginning to show up for many anglers who are now turning their focus to them as the season progresses. East Twin, One Pine Fall Lake and Birch have been the most popular of late. This action should continue to gain momentum as the season wears on, as the fish begin to bunch up, and the weather improves bringing out more folks on the ice. Small minnows fished near the bottom are the bait of choice right now but as the fish become more aggressive, small micro soft baits will begin to turn more fish into biters rather than lookers.

With the walleye angler success rate at an all time low, most fishermen and women have turned their focus on the trout fishing in the area. Lake trout have become the number one target for those looking for some action, and for the most part have been rewarded with some decent catches. Burntside Lake leads the pack with some fish around the five to seven pound range being taken there. Number one method has been a run and gun approach with tube jigs and small spoons being the best tactics for putting fish on the ice. A close second has been to lay a smelt right on the bottom under a dead stick or tip-up.

Rainbow trout have been a hot topic as well on lakes such as Tofte and Miner's Pit. Most fish have come by either using a small jig tipped with a wax worm or dead, salted minnows in shallower depths. Try fishing down from six to fifteen feet beneath the ice for best results. Some folks have picked up a few nice splake from Tofte using these same methods in shallow water close to shore.

Crappie action has been light as is usual at this time of the season, but should gain momentum in the next few weeks. Best bets have been on Birch, East Twin and Low Lake.