451 West Sheridan Street Ely, Minnesota 55731
Fishing Report
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Some folks have given up on the slow bite of walleye fishing, and it could be due to the sub-zero temperatures, or the anticipation of trout opener outside the Boundary Waters on Saturday, January 17th. The weather is going to be mild with temps in the mid 20s, and the lakes are sporting 16 or more inches of ice. This will bring anglers from all over Minnesota and the surrounding states.

Crappie fishing has been steadily picking up and should prove to continue this trend through ice out.

The walleye bite continues to be erratic, but crappies have begun to pick up the slack. Best bet for decent crappies remains Birch Lake. Crappies there have been suspended a few feet off the bottom and are responding well to both live bait and small jigs as well as soft artificials tipping the jigs and tiny spoons.

Northern pike action remains steady with fish to fifteen pounds being reported. Live suckers lead the way, but some folks using rattle baits and spoons tipped with a minnow are also working well.

It's time to get the lake trout gear ready. With the excellent ice conditions, we should have a banner year as anglers will be able to travel just about everywhere with little concern over ice thickness. Season has already opened in the Boundary Waters January 1st, and will open outside the Boundary Waters on January 17th.

The walleye bite has been slow lately and that's clearly evident with the low numbers of anglers out on the lakes. However, if you take a more aggressive approach, there's still plenty of fish to be caught. Conditions for travel on the lakes couldn't be better, with twelve to fourteen inches of clear ice topped with a few inches of snow. Drilling plenty of holes can be very productive, as it allows us to work a variety of depths and structure, as opposed to sitting in one spot waiting for fish to happen by.

Crappie action has begun to heat up. East Twin, Low, and Fall Lakes have been turning out some decent numbers coupled with some dandy sunnies to boot. Set a dead stick with a live minnow in one hole while actively jigging the hole next to it. Quite often you'll draw the interest with the jigged bait and they'll turn and strike the minnow.

A few pike over forty inches have been taken on Birch Lake with live suckers being the preferred bait.

Walleye fishing has leveled out a bit, and its totally doable to put at least a few fish in the bucket. Dead stick with a minnow aboard is the primary tool for connecting, but a new breed of anglers is finding the reward of run and gun fishing with small spoons and rattle baits. This is probably the most productive way to catch walleyes if you're not opposed to drilling a bunch of holes. This seasons ice is tailor made for staying on the move. While ice is never truly "safe", as the old saying goes, we are finding at least twelve inches of ice and in many cases more than that which is definitely safe enough.

Crappie fishing is heating up and Fall Lake is definitely worth a look for these silver sided tasty morsels. Not only is the Boundary Waters area producing, but anglers are finding that the scattered weed beds in front of the campground to be prime area too. East Twin on the North side of Burntside and Johnson lake are worth a trip too.

Pike fishing still remains productive, and Birch Lake around Kramer Bay is one hot spot this year. Try fishing a live sucker about half way to bottom in twelve feet of water, or a ciscoe dropped right on the lake bed.


Some walleyes continue to bite and the community of followers continue to set and adjust position of their shacks to intersect the movement of eyes in both of their quests for a meal.

Most anglers are using a dead stick, suspending a minnow just off the bottom. This works very well for most folks, but the bigger fish seem to be attacking jigged baits such as Buckshot spoons and Chubby Darters further up in the water column.

Crappie action has been slow to start, but some anglers are managing to catch at least a half dozen or so, and top that off with a half dozen sunnies, you have the basic ingredients for a great dinner.

Northern pike are taking live suckers or frozen ciscoes from strategically placed tip-ups near old weed lines and submerged bars or points. Spearers too have taken a few fish up to forty-six inches in less than six feet of water. And while on the subject of shallow water, a few of the same guys spearing pike, noted a good number of walleyes stopping to investigate the decoys.

Over the weekend the lakes became a bit sloppy due to the warm temps, and rain, but there still remains a good solid foot of ice on most lakes. As always, check the ice as you go as no ice should be considered safe everywhere.