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

The much anticipated hard water season is upon us. Lakes in the area all have at least a couple inches on them and some have decent, walkable ice. Smaller lakes such as One Pine, Johnson, Robinson , and Armstrong have had some angler traffic already and the rest are soon to follow. Without a lot of snow cover the ice is steadily building, and should continue to do so, as temps remain in the single digits and below zero temps at night.

It should go without saying, but early ice should be approached with extreme caution. Always let someone know when and where you're going and when you expect to return. Safety should be your number one priority. It is advisable to wear a life jacket, inflatable vest, or one of the many affordable flotation suits that are becoming more popular of late. An ice chisel, or spud bar as many folks call them, should always be a part of an early season anglers arsenal. Drive the chisel into the ice ahead of you every few steps to check for thickness. If the bar goes through, back out, don't proceed thinking that the ice will get thicker. If you should go through, you'll be happy to have included a good, accesible, pair of ice picks. If you don't think your life is worth the few bucks that picks cost, at least carry a screwdriver in your pocket to gain some purchase on the slippery, wet ice to pull yourself out. Remember also to try to swim your way onto the ice rather than trying to push yourself up onto it. Every year people die from falling through the ice. Don't be a statistic, be smart, be safe, and live to fish another day. 

Check back with us often as creel reports will be available as more anglers hit the ice.

Good luck and good fishing!

Walleye succes recently has been a hit or miss opportunity on many of the local lakes. Some anglers are reporting good catches of "eyes" in deeper sections of water as the temps begin to fall, in some cases such as on Snowbank Lake down to fifty-five feet. Anglers fishing the same lake have been relegated to just a few keepers in the fourteen to sixteen inch range fish while plying relatively shallow waters. Action on the Prairie Portage end of Basswood Lake has been slow, while those fishing the Pipestone end are having much more success.

Pike and smallmouth bass action on the other hand has been very good on most lakes as the leaves begin to fall. Live bait such as suckers fished either under a float or slow-trolled in five to fifteen feet of water has been the way to go for some, but just as many anglers have been whacking some really nice fish trolling or casting spinner baits and larger crank baits.

Crappie action remains good with some reaching the sixteen inch mark. Birch Lake leads the pack in giving up some hefty stringers, but some of the smaller lakes like Johnson, East Twin and One pine are still producing good numbers of keepers too.

As the weather begins to cool, the fishing action has been heating up. Good reports of walleyes are currently coming in from Bich Lake and Shagawa Lake as fish are smacking crawler harnesses trolled along the breaks in the mouths of bays. Some anglers are still having success in the shallow flats, in water less than eight feet. Many big pike are being caught while trolling or casting magnum size crank baits, but some anglers are still bobber fishing suckers to accomplish the same task when they are available. Bass fishing has really hit its stride as is usual during the summer months. Top water lures are very popular as you can see the strike as it happens. Try floating frogs or use the old reliable Jitterbugs and Hula Poppers. During mid-day when bass sink down a bit, soft crawfish immitations on a jig or weighted hook work very well in convincing these acrobats to bite.

Crappie fishermen have been dominating the scene lately as the fish are beginning to bunch up in deeper water. A good number of anglers are scoring big on lakes like Fall, East Twin, and Birch lakes. Most crappies are suspending three to eight feet from the bottom, and can readily be caught by dropping a minnow there. Some folks are using small spinners or diminutive crank baits to locate these roaming schools of fish, and this has led to a better understanding of just where these silver slabs are concentrating.

Walleyes too are beginning to put on the feedbag, and they have sunken to somewhat deeper water. Anglers are plying the holes adjacent to flats, where the fish are feeding at night. Trolling or drifting spinners tipped with crawlers or minnows are scoring some nice fish, and this action should just continue to get better as lake temperatures remain on the decline.

Pike and musky anglers are nailing some giiants as they ply the waters along weed edges with plus-size crank baits and large tandem spinner rigs. Some are finding these giants in deeper water as well, down to twenty-five feet or so. Keep in mind that these fish are becoming increasingly aggressive as teperatures fall, so speeds of 2.5 mph and more are not out of the question.

Smallmouth and large mouth bas are still on the agenda for many people fishing the local lakes. Keep in mind that bass fishing season remains open here in the Northeast quadrant of the state until February. Tactics are as varied as plying the waters with crankbaits, tube jigs and spinners all remain viable methods of catching these aerial acrobats.

Fishing action has picked up a bit and anglers are having most of their success in shallow water. Big smallmouth bass are being reported, and walleyes have been a by-catch of those plying the shallows for both larege mouth and small mouth bass. Walleyes have been roaming the near shore waters in seach of minnow schools, and are falling for crawlers, and crank baits there. Big pike are smashing plus-size crank baits and spinners too, as they cruise the weed edges and rocky points in search of an easy meal. Crappies are beginning to school up along the thermocline and will take anything from a lively minnow, down to small soft plastics on a jig head. A recent resurgence of the use of Beetle Spins and Spin Bees are helping fill the stringers. A few impressive rainbow trout in the twenty inch range have been coming out of Miner's Pit for folks fishing crawlers in the timber.