451 West Sheridan Street Ely, Minnesota 55731
Fishing Report
  • 218-365-6930

With the moderate temperatures of late, ice thickness has been slow to increase. Many of the lakes in the area have eight to twelve inches of good,hard, clear ice, however there are others with four inches or less in places. We cannot stress enough that it's always a good idea to drill test holes as you travel, and it's also a good idea to not venture out alone.

The few anglers that have been out are reporting catching a few walleyes from Shagawa Lake in twelve to twenty feet of water. Most action has been the hours on either side of sunset. Live minnows on a dead stick have been the way to go for most part, but a few larger walleyes have been brought to the hole through active jigging of rattle and swim baits. Seems like the large bait, large fish theory holds true.

Some nice crappies and sunnies are being caught, but once again the numbers appear to be off. Much of the vegetation on the smaller lakes is still up and green, therefor the fish have been holding in close to the cover. This is where it's important to drill a bunch of holes where you can move about. Do some hole-hopping to achieve the bast results.

Pike spearers and tip-up anglers have been getting a few fish, but no huge ones have been reported lately.

The ice fishing season in Ely is off to a slow start perhaps due to the lack of sufficient ice cover on area lakes. Most lakes are sporting from six to ten inches of ice which would normally allow for four wheeler or sled traffic, but some parts of the lakes have much less ice warranting a judicious amount of caution. As always, consider no ice to be safe and always check the ice thickness as you travel about.

With that being said some of the early ice anglers have been catching some decent walleyes and others have been targeting panfish on some of the smaller lakes. Most anglers have reported that their best walleye action has been on minnows fished under a bobber, or "dead stick" if you prefer, while the pan fishermen have been using tiny jigs tipped with either wax worms, or small soft baits on a jig. The early pike bite has been slow, with only a few folks managing  a couple of smaller pike on Birch Lake. Suckers fished suspended or dead ones fished right on the bottom have been the best option.

Walleye fishing has improved somewhat with the advent of cooler temperatures. Most anglers are still relying on crawler harnesses to do the job, and it's paying off. While many of the fish are still relating to structure such as reef tops and island points, some are finding the fish staging at the mouths of bays in relatively shallow water. This is where crankbait fishermen are garnering some decent catches as well. Try working the drop-offs in ten to eighteen feet during the day and gradually moving shallower as evening progresses. Fishermen at dusk and into the evening hours are beginning to score on minnows fished under a slip bobber, changing over to lighted bobbers after dark, as fish move as shallow as six feet in some cases.

Northern pike anglers are scoring some good numbers while casting spinner baits and spoons throughout the day, but the most exciting bites have occurred early and late in the day by fishing top water offerings. Large plugs such as Zara Spooks, Baker's NST-S poppers and Suick floating lures are scoring big. Remember to use adequate wire leaders as some of the fish are stiking the lures head first, or totally engulfing the baits.

Trout fishermen are taking advantage of the resources available in the area. Good numbers of rainbows are sucking up crawlers fished under a bobber, while others are catching their limits trolling small spinners and tiny crankbaits fished from ten to fifteen feet down in the water column. Best lakes recently have been Miner's Pit and Tofte Lake. For some larger trout, try trolling spoons and large crank baits on Burntside or Snowbank for lake trout. Although no huge lakers have been taken of late, folks have been more than happy with the trout in the three to eight pound range.

Crappies have begun to school up again, with some in the twelve to fouteen inch range being caught. Most fishermen are keeping close mouthed about their "honey holes", but if you put in the time searching, you can locate the fish suspended from eight to twelve feet down during the day and moving into the shallows right at dusk.

Now that the water temps have cooled, some walleye anglers are reporting that the bite has picked up again. The fish have been holding at mid depths between twelve and eighteen feet of water and are readily taking both crawlers and minnows. The action seems best late in the day and for some, some larger "eyes" have been taken during this period. Slow trolling Lindy style rigs at or near the bottom. Some also are having luck with larger sized crank baits at these same depths. A few folks are extending their days and are scoring some fish right at sunset, fishing minnows under lighted bobbers near the mouths of shallow bays.

Northern pike too have been striking both spoons and spinner baits fished along weed edges and reefs extending from mid-lake islands. Sucker minnows are working there as well, when either fished under a bobber or with dead suckers or smelt fished right on the bottom.

The trout bite has slowed somewhat or perhaps they have gone a bit deeper, but none the less are still striking crawlers fished at ten to fifteen feet for some, with others trolling tiny crank baits and spoons a bit deeper.

Crappies are starting to bunch up and are readily taking small minnows or soft plastics fished on a jig. Look for them to be suspended mid way down in the water column.

With the summer season drawing to a close, many families were out on area lakes enjoying the good weather and active fish. Youngsters were having a ball catching some nice bass and panfish, and the occasional pike. Most of the bass caught were slamming spinner baits or top water lures fished right along the shorelines or under boat docks. Some of the smallmouth bass caught were exceeding the 20" mark, which are true trophy size fish. Some youngsters were having a ball catching most of their fish just using a crawler suspended under a bobber. This method was also effective in catching a good number of trout on the area local lakes such as Tofte, Miner's and the Glacier Ponds, right off the shore. Some anglers using boats to slow troll small crank baits, spinners and spoons were also reaping the rewards.

Walleye fishermen are still managing to catch decent numbers of good eating size walleyes in the fifteen to eighteen inch range. Crawler harnesses and crankbaits trolled along deep water breaks were the most effective. Although few true lunkers have been caught, anglers were still pleased to catch at least a few fish for the dinner table.

Lake trout are still to be had on Burntside lake, with most of those being caught in the three to seven pound range. Spoons and crank baits fished along the thermocline in approximately thirty to forty feet down have been most effective. Lure color didn'r seem to be as important as locating the fish and moving quietly along.

Now that the kids will be heading back to school, more of the serious anglers will be showing up to take advantage of the cooler temperatures and increased action as the water temperatures begin to plummet. These can be some of the most productive times of the season, as fish begin to put on the feed bag to see them through the winter months ahead.