451 West Sheridan Street Ely, Minnesota 55731
Fishing Report
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Walleye action remains steady for the most part with fish holding in twelve to twenty feet of water. Reports of lake turnover are at best premature. Water temps are still in the upper 50s. Bait of choice these days has been spinners tipped with a crawler slow trolled along the bottom, although some folks still rely on a jig and minnow to tempt some into biting. Best lakes for results have been Fall and Birch, with a few good reports coming from Basswood in the Boundary Waters.

Northern pike are still on the prowl, and they're hungry. Try fishing spoons and spinners along deeper weed edges. Some fish over forty inches have been taken recently, although most have been in the two to five pound range.

Crappie action has been heating up as well. Cooler temps are triggering a Fall pattern where they start to bunch up. Fall and Birch have been leading the pack, but smaller lakes like Armstrong, Johnson, and East Twin have been turning out good stringers of crappies, and some fat sunnies.

Just when you think you have the walleyes figured out, they change things up. Some anglers were reporting that the walleyes had gone deep, as that's where they were catching them. Lately though, they have been getting caught all throughout the water depths. Some in thirty feet of water, some in seven feet. Go figure. The best advice right now is to keep watching your sonar till you mark some fish and then go after them. Most are still using crawler harnesses, but a good number of fish are being caught using crank baits fished just above the bottom. Jig and minnow combos should start to produce once again as they had done in the Spring.

Crappie anglers are beginning to converge on Birch Lake as the action there is beginning to heat up. We still don't have the big schools bunching up, as the water temps are still a bit high at sixty four or five degrees, but this is soon to change as evening temperatures begin to fall. Crappie minnows are still the bait of choice, but safety pin spinners with a jig and soft tail make a good search tool as you slow troll to find the concentrations of fish. Watch for marks that are suspended mid-way in the water column, as this quite often represents the presence of crappies.

Many folks are chasing pike too at this time of year. The biggest fish of the season seem to get active at the onset of cooler weather. Big suckers fished right on the bottom will fool them time and again, but this can also be the time to dig out your biggest crank baits and work over the deeper weed edges and rockpiles to bring some giants to the net. This action should continue right up till ice begins to form.

As the water begins to cool, most fish species have left the shallower waters and begun to haunt the deepest parts of the lakes. Walleyes in particular are being caught down as deep as thirty-five feet on lakes such as Vermillion and Snowbank. Minnows have finally made their comeback as the preferred bait for fishing deep. Jig heads up to 3/4 ounce gets your bait down in the target zone. Crawler harnesses are still working too though as most anglers are trolling spinner rigs on bottom bouncers to fill their stringers. Big pike too have gone deeper, with some large ones have been taken from twenty-five to thirty feet of water. Crappies have begun to bunch up a bit, look for the schools to be holding in twelve to fifteen feet. Small safety pin type spinners such as Beetle Spins make a great search tool as do small crank baits in the number three to five size. A few lake trout have been taken with spoons and cranks on Burntside. Most are smaller fish in the three to five pound range with an occassional eight thrown in. With the water cooling, the fish there have been in depths of thirty-five to fifty feet. White and white/green spoon colors working best.

The cooling water has pushed some of the walleyes down deep. Try working crawler harnesses along the drops in the deepest part of the lakes. Some folks are reverting back to a jig and minnow combo with success as well. Color of jig or spinner blades are not as important as location. If you're not marking fish, move on. Some walleyes are still roaming some shallower water late in the day as water temps begin to rise in the evening. Slip bobbering a minnow late in the day in ten to fifteen feet of water can be very effective.

Crappies are beginning to bunch up. Search for them to be suspended around mid way in the water column. Trolling a small safety pin spinner and jig like the Beetle Spin or tiny crank baits can lead you to the schools. Once located, you can readily catch them either on a live minnow suspended under a slip bobber or use one of the many small plastic baits on a jig, such as the one inch Berkley Gulp minnow.

Pike are starting to put on the feed bag too as winter approaches. Large crank baits, spoons, and spinner baits are working well. One can also use larger sucker minnows either suspended under a bobber, or just take a dead or frozen one and lay it on the bottom. Really big pike seem to prefer to take this easy meal as opposed to chasing at times.

Lake trout are beginning to move up a bit in the water column as lakes cool. Try trolling spoons or cranks in forty to fifty-five feet of water.

As the weather begins to cool, many of the sought after species in the area becoming more active. Walleyes are beginning to move off the reefs and sunken islands and are foraging in and around deeper mud flats. Try dragging a spinner and crawler combo in twenty feet of water or more. Anglers on Vermillion Lake are saying that some of their best action has been in thirty to thirty-five feet of water. Spinner rigs are working for some as are crank baits with some weight ahead to get them down to that depth if you don't have downriggers or Dipsy's. Crappies are beginning to bunch up too as the water cools. You should find them suspended somewhere around half way down in water depths of twenty feet or more. Minnows will work under a slip bobber, but a Beetle Spin or tiny crank bait trolled along at that depth will help you to locate the schools before you set up for bobber fishing. Some big pike are into their fall feeding pattern and are slamming both spinner baits and spoons fished around weed or rice edges. Smallmouth bass continue to engulf top water baits cast along shore lines and rock piles early and late in the day with mid-day action coming from a bit deeper water with soft plastics and cranks.