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

This season's trout opener is off to a less than idyllic start as lake conditions continue to frustrate anglers in the area. With a foot or less of ice on most lakes, topped with a foot or more of snow, travel has been restricted to sled, four-wheeler or on foot. The influx of wheel houses, that in the past has been the norm, was down to a few and those were left in either the resort and hotel parking lots or just parked at the landings. Some local anglers were starting to plow some roads out, but have been slowed by the slush that has made its way through to  the surface.

Some anglers that did brave the conditions were rewarded with a few trout. Burntside Lake was the headliner for lakers, with a few nice fish in the six to eight pound range. A few of those caught were within walking distance of the public access at Van Vac. Aggressive jigging has been the most productive method as is typical at this time of year. The most popular of baits have been white tubes, Chubby Darters and Little Cleo spoons. Dead stick and tip-up fishermen were having some success on frozen smelt or minnows fished right on the bottom.

Steam trout anglers were doing fairly well as they jigged tiny spoons or jigs tipped with spikes or mousies in the upper fifteen feet of the water column. The most productive holes seemed to be less than ten feet deep near the shorelines. The best approach was to slowly lower their offerings from just beneath the ice to the bottom and back. This could be indicative of the trout feeding on small insects rising from the lake bed, so keep your lure selection on the tiny size for now. This is almost surely to change as fish become more aggressive.

Panfish anglers have been doing fairly well on some of the smaller lakes. Although travel has been difficult, a good number of crappies and sunnies are being taken. Some of the sunnies have been around the eight or nine inch range which is more than an acceptable size for the pan. Small minnows and wax worm tipped jigs have been the ticket for bringing them out of the hole.

Walleye and pike have been slower to respond lately with folks only reporting moderate activity. The walleyes have been taking small buckshot spoons tipped with a minnow head or a full minnow set below a tip-up or dead stick. Small suckers have been the go-to bait for the pike.