451 West Sheridan Street Ely, Minnesota 55731
Fishing Report
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Activity around the local lakes this past week has been slower than normal and perhaps it is due to low catch rates being reported. A reminder to anglers, Northern Pike and Walleyes season closes on February 22nd this year, so time is limited to put a few fillets in the freezer for the remainder of winter.

Walleye fishing has slowed to a crawl with many anglers only managing one or two fish per trip.

Lake trout have been more elusive as well, with less than ten percent of anglers reporting success.

The only redeeming factor is the stream trout fishing where the number of fish caught is holding it's own since opener. While the number of fishermen has dwindled, the catch rates have remained good. One angler caught an eight pound rainbow trout while using a Jigging Rap on Miners Pit.

Crappie fishing is beginning to shape up with near limits currently being caught. The action should continue to build until ice-out. Try Birch, Fall, East Twin and Bear Island Lakes as these have shown some promise of late.

Ice conditions are exceptional this year with most lakes sporting twenty to twenty four inches of ice with eight inches of snow on top. This makes travel relatively easy for most four wheel drive vehicles.

The topic of the day around Ely has been of the trout fishing. Whether it be lake trout or stream trout, Ely has what it takes. Burntside and Snowbank Lakes have been experiencing some of the best action in recent years. Ciscoes, Airplane Jigs, Soft White Tubes in the 3-5" range and live rainbows or suckers have been the most productive. Tofte, Glacier Ponds, High and Dry Lakes have been producing nice limits of stream trout. Tiny dark colored jigs tipped with a wax worm right at daybreak, then change to a lighter color as the sun rises higher. By mid-day, small spoons become productive.One reason for this increase of action could be the light fishing pressure of the past two winter seasons, due in most part by the limited travel due the to the heavy snow and slush covering them. This is definitely not the case this season, as you can move around with ease whether by sled, four wheeler, or your run of the mill four wheel drive truck. Hint: Carry a shovel so you may cut an access through the berms of the plowed roads. Mobile anglers are in most part the most successful. If you're on a spot more than a half hour or so, and you haven't caught or worse, marked a fish,  it's time to move on. There are active fish out there, and you need to be flexible to find them.

Trout season rolled out with a bang this week. A good many anglers connected with lake trout on Snowbank and Burntside this past weekend. Ciscoes fished on the bottom coupled with active jigging of white tube jigs and Chubby and Lindy Darters brought most folks the success that was anticipated. Trout up to twelve pounds were reported, with many in the three to seven pound range brought through the holes. Rainbow, brook, brown trout and splake also responded well to small spoons and ice flies tipped with either a salted minnow or wax worms.

Northern pike were also being taken using sucker minnows both as decoys for spearing, and live bait rigs suspended under a dead stick or tip up.

Crappies too were being targeted on Fall, Birch, and Twin Lakes. These fish responded to live minnows, as well as tiny jigs tipped with minnows, wax worms, and artificial soft bait tails.

With weather being as moderate as it is of late, there should be no reason not to get out and enjoy this cold weather activity, and put some fresh fish on the table.


Trout still lead the way in the fish of interest in the Ely area. Good numbers of rainbow trout and splake have been taken from Lakes such as Tofte, Miners, and High and Dry.Best times to target these fish have been at sunrise and just before dusk. Small dark jigs and the new dark colored preserved wax worms have been a deadly combination. No active jigging is required as strikes come just as readily when using them on a "dead" stick. Small jigging spoons then turn them on during mid-day hours when tipped with either waxies or salted minnows.

Lake trout too have been pleasing some anglers on Burntside and Snowbank Lakes. The fact that these two lakes are not designated trout lakes allows anglers to use two lines. This is definitely a plus as one line or tip-up can be used in conjunction with an active jigging pole. Best lure choices to jig with have been Chubby Darters or Zippers and on Snowbank the Airplane jigs and Bionic Bucktails, some tipped with all or part of a ciscoe.

Northern pike action has remained fairly steady as they begin to drop into deeper water in search of the forage base. Live suckers or frozen ciscoes seem to work equally well when fished in eight to twenty feet of water.

It's time to get out and enjoy what nature has to offer in the winter season, so make the most of it while avoiding cabin fever.

The much anticipated trout season has finally arrived and droves of people were out and taking full advantage of it. Public accesses were full to capacity and some even overflowed. The weather was not uncomfortable so that one could even angle without  a shack for the most part. Lake trout on both Burntside and Snowbank Lakes were co-operating for many anglers with fish up to twelve pounds being reported. The best part of fishing these destinations was that them not being designated trout lakes, angling with two lines is permissible. Most folks laid ciscoes directly on the lake bed and jigged with another line nearby. White tube jigs were the weapon of choice for many, closely followed by Chubby  and Lindy Darters and other similar rattle baits. These active baits would draw in the trout and lead them to the offering of minnows on the lake bottom.

Rainbow, brook and brown trout along with the hybrid splake were also targets that made the day for many. Tiny dark colored ice flies and jigs, some tipped with wax worms were very productive along with small spoons such as Forage minnows and Buckshots paid great dividends when worked throughout the water column.

Trout weren't the only species that drew attention lately. Big pike have been taken both by rod and reels and speared.  Suckers have been the bait of choice for these toothy critters, some saying the larger, the better.

Crappies too are on the menu for a lot of tables. Small jigs tipped with either live minnows, waxies, or soft bait tails took a good many of the silver sided delicacies from local waters.

All in all, this is a great time to be out on the hard water while the weather is nice and the fish are biting.