It’s been all smiles from Packsack anglers this year! Fall Lake and Basswood fishing has been tremendous as expected! Even with a recent heat wave, anglers have still been finding their limits of walleye, bass, and pike!
Recent reports for walleye are that they are still being caught in shallower water 4’-8’ of water, but are also being caught in 14’-16’ of water. Most anglers using live bait have ditched the minnows for bait that is easier to keep alive like leeches or crawlers. Of night crawlers and leeches, the preference seems to be ½ of a crawler on a crawler harness or spinner. For artificial, trolling crank baits has been a productive way to put yourself on fish, this tactic is helpful when your favorite spots are not producing and you need to move around to find them. Some good-sized fish have been caught as of recent, a 26” walleye was caught with a leech on Pipestone Bay last week, and a 24” walleye was caught at the Power Dam on Fall Lake!
Bass fishing remains the big hit on our area lakes, so many large 20” plus fish are being caught on all sorts of presentations. While top water is still productive for smallmouth during the early morning and evening hours, smallies are also being caught in deeper water during the day. Fishing submerged boulders and other structures with tube jigs, spinner rigs or slip bobbers tipped with a crawler or leech has been very successful for landing some bronze back giants! Large mouth bass continue to troll the weed lines and Lily-pad's, Ella Hall and Back Bay have produced some monster bass the last few weeks.
Northern Pike of all sizes are chasing spinners crankbaits and about any lure you can throw at them. The larger fish are still being caught with large pike suckers. The largest pike have been coming out of Back Bay on Basswood Lake, but Fall Lake has produced some fish in that 30”-40” slot. As we see the seasons change these upcoming weeks and months, the pike action will only get better!
Mixed reports are coming in from the paddle only lakes, fisherman willing to carry in some live bait have had the best success catching fish. Nightcrawlers are about the easiest live bait to carry into the BWCA, they are portable enough that you can pack them in your pack, and can be kept alive by keeping them cool and damp. Often burying the container in the shade is all that is needed, or a wet paper towel over the dirt and out of the sun will keep your bait fresh.
If you’re going to be fishing the Ely area in the coming weeks, you have much to look forward too! The BWCA is very bust with both canoers and boaters. Boaters sharing the lakes with canoers, please be respectful and cut your speed when close to paddlers on the water. Canoers when at portages, please remember to keep the landing clear. Pull your canoes up and find a suitable spot to leave them while you portage your gear. The landing and the portage it’s self should be kept clear so folks can safely access the portage. Have a great week, and keep those lines wet!