451 West Sheridan Street Ely, Minnesota 55731
Fishing Report
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Another walleye and pike season has been put to rest until Spring here in the North Country, but that doesn't mean that you should hang up the poles until then. Trout fishing has still been productive for lake trout on Burntside, and stream trout on Tofte, High, Dry, and Miners Lakes. Lake trout have been responding to active jigging in water as shallow as twenty-five feet. Most anglers are using jigging tubes and medium size flutter spoons worked on humps or points rising up from deeper water. Stream trout are hitting small jigs tipped with wax worms or salted minnows.

Crappie action is on the upswing of Fall, Birch, East Twin, and Low Lakes. Some decent limits have been taken, and small minnows or white or pink jigs tipped with wax worms are the go to baits. Some large sunnies are hitting the same baits on East Twin and Low Lakes.

While there still remains good, solid ice on most lakes, no ice should be considered safe, and as the season winds down, more areas will become inaccesible. This is a good time to make safety a priority and travel in numbers with a good length of rope and flotation devices.

Action remains steady on local lakes for panfish and trout fishermen. The most consistent reports for stream trout are coming from Miners, Tofte, and High and DryLakes. Small jigs tipped with waxies are effective, as well as salted minnows and jigging spoons. Many anglers are reporting actual activity right below their drilled holes in less than ten feet of water.

The crappie bite has begun to gain momentum, with good catches from Fall, East Twin, and Birch Lakes, with some measuring up to fourteen inches. Dead stick minnows are working well, but more and more anglers are discovering the benefits of using small, soft plastics on a jig. Most fish are coming from twelve to twenty-one feet of water and as typical, early and late bite is best.

Sunfish action is really some of the best we've experienced this season with nice limits coming from Low, East Twin, Armstrong, and One Pine. Jigs tipped with wax worms dominate the bait scene, but some folks are catching some larger sunnies on minnows intended for crappies.

Walleye action is still slow, but northern pike fishermen are picking up the slack. Keep in mind that just about all lakes up here have good populations of pike, and they will readily take a minnow, dead or alive, fished right on the bottom.

Ice thickness remains good with most lakes sporting sixteen to eighteen inches, and this is expected to remain throughout the recent warm-up as just the snow cover is melting. Some slush is evident during the day, but it is less than a few inches deep.

With the recent colder weather, more lakes have seen the growth of drivable ice. This has been a boon to anglers seeking lake trout on Burntside and Snowbank Lakes. Finally folks are able to venture out to more remote areas free from the congestion near the landings. Some are having success in relatively shallow waters in the twenty-five to forty-five foot depths near deeper drop-offs. White tubes such as pearl white or glow white by Gitzit or Berkley on a jig leads the lure selection on Burntside, while Airplane Jigs and Bionic Bucktails dominate the action on Snowbank. The consensus of opinion for the majority of fishermen has been to keep the offering in constant motion.

Stream trout are also on the menu for many as well, and lakes such as Tofte, Glacier Ponds, Miners Pit and High and Dry lakes are all producing some decent catches. Small dark jigs tipped with wax worms are luring the rainbows in, while small jigging spoons are responsible for most of the splake and brook trout. Best bet is to work outward from shore as some of the trout are in less than eight feet of water early in the day and seem to descend deeper as the day progresses.

Panfish have been the target of more anglers these days as the lack of walleyes has become more evident lately. Good size crappies are coming out of Birch, Fall, East Twin, and Johnson Lakes. Small minnows seem to work best, but tiny tubes and other small soft baits have really been coming on strong, by eliminating the need to keep minnows alive when traveling to more remote lakes. Some jumbo size sunnies have been pleasing many by gobbling up wax worms on small jigs. Some reports seem to be a bit exaggerated, but if true, there has been a recent uptick of near one pound sunfish. Many local lakes support good numbers of sunnies, but some of the top producers have been Johnson, One Pine, Low, Armstrong Lakes, and the Kawishiwi River.


Panfish anglers are enjoying the mild temperatures and steady action on area lakes recently. Good numbers of chubby sunnies and nice slab crappies have been coming out of Fall, Low, Birch, and East Twin lakes. Travel is best by sled or four wheelers, but some folks are finding that travel by truck is not out of the questin, as most lakes have at least sixteen inches of ice. The snow cover is the only adverse feature to deal with.

Stream trout are still providing action on Miners, Tofte, High and Dry lakes. Small spoons and jig and wax worms are used by most active anglers, but some are finding a tip-up with a dead and salted minnows work well too, as you kick back and enjoy the unseasonably warm weather.

Lake trout action, while not "hot", has been providing some fun to those fishing Burntside Lake. Active jigging working best as those fish are smacking tube jigs and small Jigging Rap style baits. Most are sweetening up their offerings with either a minnow head or whole minnow, just to give the fish a little scent and taste as an added incentive to bite. This same set of tactics are woking on northern pike on Birch Lake.

Crappie action is beginning to heat up in the Ely area as ice thickness continues to improve. Travel conditions are less than desirable as the slush has frozen to a rutted mess, but for the determined angler there are fish to be caught. One Pine, East Twin, Fall, and Birch Lakes have seen the most action recently. Trout too have been on the agenda for many, as Tofte, Miners and Glacier Ponds have been turning out some decent catches. These trout lakes have seen an upturn in catch rates as anglers are refining their skills. Small, dark colored jigs tipped with a wax worm work well, as do salted minnows. Some folks swear by a more pro-active approach, and have been using small spoons and Jigging Raps with moderate success. Pike anglers too have been seeing flags pop up as they suspend sucker minnows under tip-ups. Many of these fish have been on the smaller side of the scale, but a few fish over thirty-five inches have been reported.

Over all, it's a good time to get out and experience some fun times out on the ice as opposed to just sitting in the cabin with a good book or watching television as we enjoy temperatures in the above zero range for this time of year. Pray for snow, as the trails could use it, and good fishing!