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

Most folks are now chasing crappies and sunnies with moderate success. Fall Lake leads the way with some 14+ inch crappies being taken from the Boundary Waters half of the lake, mostly from the East end of Mile Island in about 20' of water. Dead stick with a minnow, or active jigging with small tube or Gulp baits on a tiny jig have been the secret to filling out a limit of these slabs. East Twin and Low Lakes have also rewarded anglers with good numbers of both crappies and sunnies a bit shallower at about 12 feet of water. Smaller impoundments such as Johnson, One Pine and Bass Lakes have been turning out good numbers of panfish although they tend to run smaller on average.

Some anglers are fishing the Border Lakes such as Basswood with reasonable catches of both walleyes and northern pike. Most of the walleyes have been hitting chubs or Chubby Darters in sixteen to twenty-five feet of water. Travel has been relatively easy when sticking to the sled trails throughout the area as these runs are firmly packed snow. Ice is still good throughout with more than thirty inches in most places.

It's time to start prepping your gear for the upcoming fishing opener May 10th.

Lake conditions have improved considerably and the favorable conditions continue to improve due to the thaw/freeze cycles. This has resulted in more fishermen out on the hard water. The activity has been rewarding for the most part, as anglers are now putting more fish on the ice.

Lake trout are still the most rewarding by sheer weight as several have been captured on Burntside Lake in the six to ten pound range. Ciscoes fished right on the bottom has been just one productive method, as some folks are hole hopping and actively jigging both soft tubes and spoons tipped with either a minnow or strip of belly meat. The trout are beginning to run shallower now and it's best to target them in thirty to forty-five feet of water.

Crappes and sunnies are starting to bunch up. Some limits of twelve plus inch crappies are being had on Fall and Low Lakes. Small soft bait/jig combos and minnows under a bobber are prime methods for success. The crappies are holding in the twenty foot depth range and the sunnies are a bit shallower at eight to ten feet.

The ice conditions remain an obstacle for all but the most adventurous of anglers. Foot travel still is the most viable option. Some snowmobilers are getting around on the lakes, but many of them have become mired in the extensive network of slush pockets. Keep this in mind if you choose to travel that way and stick to the well-traveled trails as most of them are hard packed and free of slush. There is security in numbers and help may often come in handy, so cruising in pairs is just plain good advice.

There are fish to be caught, and trout have been the target lately. One need not move too far out on the lakes, as most trout are captured in close proximity to shore. Lakes such as Miners, High, Dry, and Tofte are seeing the most traffic here locally. Small spoons or jigs tipped with wax worms or a minnow head are best for active jigging, but some rainbows splake and browns are gulping salted minnows dead-sticked or under a tip-up. A few twenty inch class lake trout have been caught recently from Burntside lake and have been landed using white tubes, spoons and ciscoes. The fish have been moving higher in the water column now and are hanging out in thirty to forty-five feet of water.

Crappies are a lesser target right now as it takes some moving around and that, in the deep snow, is a real chore. As the snow begins to settle and melt with the advent of warmer weather, conditions will change and become to be more tolerable.




Fishing traffic has been extremely light recently, due mostly to the travel conditions on area lakes. The slush pockets are everywhere, so most folks are limited to getting around on foot. There is a limited amount of mobility on snowmobile trails, but even some of these have become deteriorated. Those who are moving around have been tapping into some nice fish though. Trout have been co-operating on lakes such as Burntside for lake tout and Tofte, High, Dry and Miners for rainbows. Salted minnows are working as well as small jigs and wax worms for the rainbows and ciscoes and airplane jigs and spoons for the lakers.

Crappie fishermen are just starting to venture out and within the next week or so travel with four wheelers should be possible, as the snow depth continues to diminish due to the warmer temps. The plus side to all this of course is that those who do venture out should have lakes pretty much to themselves.

Reminder: Fishing licenses from 2013 expired Feb. 28th this year as opposed to April 30th of previous years.

Crappie and sunfish along with various trout species are now becoming the targets of choice for anglers still in search of a good fish fry. With difficult travel conditions on most lakes this season please keep in mind that there are still slushy patches underneath the frozen crust of area lakes which will prevent many folks from traveling too far from the beaten path. Where there are still ice roads that have been plowed we ask that you refrain from drilling holes within the roadway. Flooding can and will occur and prevent future travel on the road as the weight of the snow adjacent to the roads will cause water to rise from the holes.

Fair crappie and sunfish numbers have been reported from Bass, Birch, Fall, and Low lakes here locally. Most anglers are using small minnows on a dead stick and jigging with small spoons or jigs tipped with wax worms or minnow heads.

Some nice rainbow trout are being taken from Miners and Tofte Lakes, but no ice roads are present there so travel will be on foot or with snowmobiles. High and Dry lakes are beginning to see more fishermen trying their hand at rainbows, browns and brook trout. Small spoons such as Buckshots and Forage Minnows are becoming increasingly popular when tipped with either small salted minnows or wax worms. Remember that live minnows are prohibited on designated trout lakes.

Walleye and pike fishing is still allowed on Canadian border waters such as Basswood Lake through April 14th when walleye season closes there.