451 West Sheridan Street Ely, Minnesota 55731
Fishing Report
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Walleyes have still remained the target of many out on the areas lakes, and the majority of those out there are continuing to fill their stringers. While most of the fish are in the eater size category, a few folks are managing to catch a few wall-hangers. Some of the largest fish are being caught while trolling deep running crank baits on lead core line, Dipsy Divers, or downriggers. This same tactic will also get you some lake trout action on both Burntside and Snowbank Lake. While specific colors or patterns may be thrown around in conversation, the best way to achieve success is to get out there and try a variety of lures, baits and methods until you come across something that works. If someone tells you that one particular bait was working, chances are tomorrow you can use that same lure and draw a blank. Fish preferences change as the weather, temperature, wind, and barometric pressure changes. Some of the lures in your daddy's tackle box from forty years ago will still catch fish today, so it pays to be flexible. For live bait anglers the best success rates have been attributed to trolling crawler harnesses behind a bottom bouncer or slip sinker. Leeches and minnows will also work, but crawlers have always been at or near the top for putting fish on the stringer.

Northern pike are still very active in shallow water, as this is where the majority of bait fish reside. Covering more water is the key, so tie on a spinner bait or spoon and get that casting arm in shape. The more casts you make the more fish will see your lure. If you are having pike swipe at your lure and not connect, try throwing something different at them. This is why it pays to have more than one rod rigged at all times. At times a surface lure will garner all the attention of the pike, as they disrupt the water more and draw fish from further away, and other times a large, deep running crank bait will give off the good vibrations that trigger a bite.

Bass action has recently been the best of the season. Top water baits have been providing some of the hottest, most explosive results. There's nothing like seeing your bait slip across the surface when a bass blasts it from beneath. Don't get hung up on colors or patterns here. If you think about it, the only thing the fish sees is what's on the under belly of the lure. The miriad of patterns and paint jobs are designed to catch fishermen, not fish. Some of the most productive lures will have most of their finish worn off, and still catch fish. Frog immitations and poppers rule the summer action as well as old reliables such as Hula Poppers and Jitterbugs. Some of the newest lures on the market are getting the attention of anglers and fish are the Live Target mouse, Savage Gear duckling and Dahlbergs' Whopper Plopper.

Sunfish are readily slurping up bits of worm or waxies either on a small jig or just threaded on a hook. This is the easiest way to get youngsters hooked as the action can remain steady all day long. Kids get excited when they see their bobber dancing on the surface or plunge below the water line. In the past few years soft plastic baits are replacing some of the live baits on peoples lines. They can be very effective when worked properly, and they remain on the hook far longer then live bait.

Stream trout are still co-operating for many on the area's designated trout lakes. Whether you are trolling or casting small spoons and spinners, or just dangling crawlers under a bobber, it's worth the effort to get out there and into some action.


The walleye bite remains fairly consistent on many of the areas lakes of late. The best chance of landing these prized game fish has been by using a crawler harness slow trolled around reef edges and weed lines. Some of the best specimens are actually coming from shallow water.This may be counter intuitive as most anglers believe that the walleyes will always be in deeper water throughout the summer months, which is not entirely true. While there appears to be an active bite for some by trolling larger crank baits in deep water, there are others who have found that the fish are also chasing their meals in the shallows where the bait is plentiful. Small bait fish will nearly always be found in the shallowest of cover around weed lines and other structures. This is where flexibility in ones approach can provide the best action. Small crank baits can be effective, but the majority of anglers are using the tried and true method of pulling spinners tipped with either a crawler or leeches. As the summer wears on, the availability of leeches wanes and their size begins to dwindle, so it may be necessary to use more than one on a rig. This is where a multiple hook harness can be a plus, as you can place a smaller leech on either two or three of the hooks to attain a larger presentation. With crawlers on the same rig, a good tip is to shorten the crawler by pinching off the long tail that protrudes beyon the trailing hook. This will help to avoid the short striking walleye from avoiding the hook. In the heat of summer, it is much easier to care for crawlers or leeches by placing them in a cooler to protect them from the summer heat and maintain a good, lively bait. For those who feel they must use minnows at this time of year, consider keeping them in a cooler with an aerator to keep the bait fresh and active. Placing a bucket of minnows in the lake at the surface where temps are now hovering around the eighty degree mark will almost guarantee a bucket full of dead bait within hours.

Pan fish such as crappies and bluegills are holding in tight cover frovided by the thickest of weed beds where ther is a plethora of food available to them. Tiny invertibrates and small young of the year minnows will always be found in these under water forests of weeds and downed trees. This is a great place to use a longer rod so that you are able to dip your offerings into the small pockets where the fish are waiting to ambush a meal. Consider using some small soft baits such as a one inch Berkley Gulp minnow or other insect immitating soft baits on a small jig and work them slowly through the weeds. It is best to use some stealth with this approach as any disturbance can shut down the bite. Pieces of crawlers or small red worms can really trigger a bite from the sunfish, but unfortunately crappies tend to shy away from such offering. This is where live minnows or minnow immitations fare much better.

Some huge pike are responding well to large crank baits fished along island points and weed edges. Floating/diving cranks seem to be doing better then the deep runners. Spinner baits too can be very productive at this time of year as you can work them right through even the thickest of cover.

Lake trout in the three to five pound range are still coming out of Burntside on a regular basis.Some larger specimens have been caught up to ten pounds but these are the exception. White and green colors have been working the best of late, whether they be crank baits or spoons. Try trolling down about thirty to forty-five feet. The overall depth of the water doesn't seem to matter much as some are being taken in water over eighty feet, but only twenty-five feet down. The fish will readily rise to an offering, as some folks are reporting watching the fish rise on their sonar units charging up thirty feet or more to slam their baits.

Bass action has been exceptional, with many anglers reporting catches of twenty to thirty bass throughout the day. Surface lures such as frogs and poppers have been working very well in water less than ten feet deep. To target some of the larger fish, a deeper approach may be necessary. This is where deep diving cranks and tube jigs work extemely well. Try bouncing a tube bait or crawfish style lure down some of the rock out croppings or dead heads for some great action.

Bass fishing has gone crazy on most of the areas lakes. Anglers are tossing top water baits and cranks and catching good numbers of bragging size fish for the most part. Early and late in the day the top water baits such as Whopper Ploppers and other poppers and frogs of various styles were putting fish in the boat up to 21" and more. Old favorites such as Hula Poppers and Jitterbugs have shown that these lure are destined to be staples in any bass anglers tackle boxes. The commotion caused by these lures can coax a bass out of the thickest of cover. Calm waters are not the only place that these baits shine as they are still effective when there is a chop on the water. Any disturbance in the waters surface is sure to be investigated by these voracious feeders. One might also try sub-surface cranks and spinner baits to get in on the action. Families with young children are also able to get in on the action by simply setting up a simple hook and bobber set up baited with a leech or a crawler.

Walleyes continue to please many folks as they roam shallower structure in search of food. Many are reporting good action while pulling crank baits and spinner rigs in water from four to ten feet. Some might still believe that you need to go deep in these warmer waters of summer, but this is simply not true. Much of the natural forage for walleyes stay in shallow water near shorelines and submerged reef tops or at the edges of weed beds. Here too is where shallow running crank baits will really put fish inthe boat. Some anglers are staying out after dark and pulling n impressive numbers of walleyes by dragging or casting cranks in water from five to ten feet. The cover of darkness also enables fishermen to get up close and personal with these marauders without being seen, which is not possible during daylight hours. Try to keep from making too much commotion in the boat as this could put some of the fish off when running in the shallows. Live baits are also the go-to bait for many. Crawlers or leeches on a spinner rig have been putting a good number of fish on the stringer during these warm summer days. These baits shine as they are easy to keep in hot weather by just keeping them cool either in the shade under a damp rag, or in the cooler with your refreshments. A few anglers can't be without taking minnows out, and these can be productive as well, but are difficult to keep alive when the surface temperatures near the eighty degree mark. Always temper your minnows by placing the bag directly from the bait shop into the water for ten to fifteen minutes before dumping them into a bait bucket to eliminate the shock of drastic temperature changes, which can be as much as thirty degrees. Another good tip is to place a rock into the minnow bucket to sink it below the surface. Water temps can be nearly ten degrees cooler just three feet below the surface. This is also a good idea when you have your bait bucket tied to the dock.

Northern pike are also smashing top water offerings with gusto. Try using larger profile poppers or buzz baits around any structure or weed edges for some great action. There's a rush when you see one of these torpedos pushing a wake toward your bait as they attempt to grab it. If they miss the bait on the first pass, just keep it moving and more often than not they will str ike again to capture it. Spoons can be very productive as well during the heat of the day when worked deeper in the water column. The flash and vibration given off can draw these fish in from a distance. Don't hesitate to use the largest spoons available as some of these pike will readily attack walleyes when hooked up to three pounds or more, so a six inch spoon is really no challenge for them.

Lake trout are responding to trolled spoons or larger profiled crank baits when worked in water from thirty-five to sixty-five feet deep. Downriggers and Dipsy Divers will work best at these depths, but for many who do not have these tools on board can also get into the action by running an in line sinker ahead of their baits. This can be a great way for those in small boats or canoes to get in on the action. If you have a fish locator on board, it might also be a good idea to vertical jig when you mark a pod of large fish or in the presence of large bait schools. The action that you impart in these scenarios immitate an injured bait fish and ring the dinner bell for the lakers indicating an easy meal.


Summer patterns are now in full swing in the Ely area. Walleyes are hovering around mid lake structure such as reefs and points of islands. Successful anglers have been trolling crank baits and spinner rigs around the transition zones where the rock formations begin to level out and change over to dirt or sand bottom. Crawlers and leeches rigged on a spinner can be very effective right now. Early and late in the day you'll find that the fish are moving up shallow on these rock patches in search of bait that move shallow for the evening and night time hours. Some folks are also fishing up in the shallows near weed edges or skinny water stucture. Where a smooth flat bottom is interrupted by a rock and or rubble field might be just the ticket to success. Colors of lures or other offerings seem insignificant, what's more important is the area that you're fishing. If you haven't caught or marked a good number of fish, it's time to move on. Don't waste valuable time by fishing over a non productive patch in hopes that the fish will "turn on" eventually.

Smallmouth and largemouth bass fishing has been smoking hot with fish up to five and six pounds being landed. Top water baits have been accounting for a good number of bass lately. Try casting around weed edges, docks, or any other structure that extends from shore to deeper water. Early and late in the day the surface bite can be red hot, and there's nothing like experiencing a large fish attacking a surface bait when the water is mill pond smooth. The action for bass can extend beyond the daylight hours into the night. Just be sure that you have the proper running lights in working order if you plan on staying out after sunset. During the mid-day hours, you may want to switch over to crank baits or spinners worked down to ten feet or so.

Northern pike have been very active as well on most of the lakes up North. Spinner baits and spoons are a preffered choice to get in on this action. Work the shorelines where smaller fish might congregate. Some of the largest pike are running in the mid-forties in length and have been running a bit deeper, down to fifteen or twenty feet. Try using larger profile crank baits such as Deep Tail Dancers by Rapala. Another good option is to use a shallow running bait weighted down with some sort of sinker like a bottom bouncer.

Lake trout action has been good on Burntside Lake and Snowbank. Burntside seems to be turning out better numbers of fish than Snowbank, but the latter has generated more of the larger fish over ten pounds. Trolling spoons down at thirty to forty-five feet no matter what the depth of water has been most productive. The most action has occurred where bait fish schools are present. If you are marking pods of bait, that is where the larger predators will be. Keep your eye on your fish finder, as this will indicate where the action will be. Structure seems of little importance as the larger fish are concentrating on these bait balls that are free ranging.

Stream trout lakes have been producing very good numbers of rainbows, splake and brown trout. The easiest way to insure a catch has been to just suspend a crawler under a slip bobber set at ten to fifteen feet down. If you want to target larger fish, then slow troll some smaller profile crank baits set to run at these depths either weighted with a sinker or dragged along behind a downrigger or Dipsy Diver. Some rainbows have been caught in excess of twenty inches in length.

The panfish bit has been good, with the exception of crappies which have been slow to turn on. If you do manage to catch a crappie, then work the area over thoroughly as usually where there's one, there are more nearby. Watch your fish finder for targets right on the bottom, as some crappies are gorging themselves on small invertibrates and blood worms emerging from the mud or silt. This action can take place down to twenty-two feet or so. A drop shot rig works well under these conditions when rigged with either a minnow or soft plastic bait on the hook.

The walleye bite remains fairly consistent throughout the area. Most of the anglers out are using either crawlers or leeches, whether rigged on a spinner, or jigged around sunken islands or reefs. Most fish are coming from 15 - 22' of water right now, but some folks are picking up some nice catches near shore in 4-10' early and late in the day. Crank baits are also catching some impressive numbers of fish that are down deeper in the water column. Try using Berkley's Flicker Shad, Flicker Minnows or Rapala Deep Tail Dancers and Shad Raps. At times when fish are really running deep, you can either add a bit of weight to your current setup by using split shot or rubber core sinkers, and this will get you down into the zone. Another good option is to spool up a rig with lead core line as this setup works great in depths below twenty-five feet.

Smallmouth and largemouth bass have really turned on with the advent of warmer weather. Some of the largest fish have been smashing the new Whopper Ploppers and frog imitations that are worked around weed beds and shorelines. Throughout the daylight hours, spinner baits have been working very well, but some anglers are getting frustrated over the pike cutting them off. At times, when the action is hot, try using a wire leader.Most of the fish tend to ignore the leader and focus on the commotion of a good topwater bait worked rapidly. There are times of course when they may shy away from a leader, but this is the exception rather that the rule.

As mentioned, northerns will readily smash a surface bait, whether it's a duck, mouse, frog or any other of the variety of surface lures. Most of the action will take place around weed beds, but these are rapidly dissappearing on many lakes due to the proliferation of rusty crawfish,which can decimate the weeds that they use as a food source. In spite of this, the pike are still out there in good numbers and are more than ready to attack anything in their vicinity. Over the last several years pike fishermen are using large spinner baits with great success as well.

Lake trout have been active on Burntside Lake. Folks draging larger crank baits and spoons have been catching them in water depths from twenty-five to forty-five feet of water. Although the fish being caught are not trophy size, many of them are in the five to eight pound range with an occassional fish exceeding ten pounds. The larger fish seem to be holding in depths of sixty to seventy-five feet.